Heading to the park, going for a walk, or coloring with chalk on the driveway are all such nice, simple activities for a quiet day at home. But wait, are these only good options for nice weather days? As someone who lives for gorgeous weather and hates the cold, I dread the long winter months and never ending rainy days. They can be brutal when you have little kids at home. These days spent inside are draining as it feels like the walls of your house are closing in on you and your kids are going stir crazy. You find yourself dreaming of the sunny days to come again when you can open the door and let your children run all of their energy out… outside of your home!
Yup, I totally get it. Unfortunately for most of us on earth, we have to deal with bad weather days and figure out a way to keep our family sane during those stretches. And how are you supposed to think of activities when you’re busy feeding everyone 12 breakfasts? Along with many activities I have clearly laid out in my membership, here are some quick and simple games you can set up in a jiffy while letting your children get out all that built up energy.
1. A DIY obstacle course
You can honestly make an obstacle course out of anything in your house. Encourage your child to crawl under a coffee table, run around some paper towel rolls, jump over a broom, and balance walk on wobbly pillows. (for painter’s tape courses and more home item courses, check out my membership!)
Great! You put all the effort into creating the course and then your child goes through it once or twice. Now what? Here’s a pro tip for you- add in a puzzle with lots of pieces or a toy like Mr. Potato Head. Place all the pieces at the beginning of your course. Have your child collect one piece at a time to bring along on their journey across the obstacles. Put the puzzle pieces together or the body parts into the potato and repeat! This gives the course a real purpose and expands the amount of time your child will go through it.
Another idea? Set a timer on your phone to see how fast your child as they go through the course, trying to beat the score each time through. If your child has a little competitive side, this strategy is perfect!
2. Get Up And Move Board Games
Board games like Candy Land or Shoots and Ladders are usually played while sitting on the floor or at a table and don’t offer much to target your child’s energy level. Don’t get me wrong, they’re fun and cute, but they don’t involve movement, and I’m all about the movement. What if these games don’t have to be limited as a sitting activity? After each turn, take a movement break by jumping, running, toe touching, bear walking, doing arm circles, rolling, or skipping. They can’t take another turn again until they complete the movement! Join in on the action to give yourself a boost of energy too.
3. The Floor is Lava
This is a fun and classic game that I remember playing growing up. Throw some couch cushions and pillows all over the floor, turn on some music and tell your child to hop from surface to surface, avoiding the hot “lava” floor beneath. This challenge can be done in any room and is pretty easy to clean up when the fun is done. If your kids seem a bit lost on how to get into this game, try yelling out “One two three, the floor is lava!”. While you’re saying this line, your child needs to leave his safety surface and run to the next one before you finish the words.
4. Treasure Hunt
Hide pompoms, pennies, erasers, popsicle sticks or any other small items around the house. Hide some of the “treasures” in more visible places and others in more discreet places. Tell your child how many treasures are hidden so they can keep track of their success along the way (and practice counting!). Provide a treasure chest to collect all their findings (a cup or bucket) and send them off on their search! Make sure to hide enough that it takes some time, but not too much that your child becomes frustrated. A small prize at the end of the hunt can be a helpful motivator.
5. Simon Says
This oldie but goodie doesn’t take up a lot of room and doesn’t cost a thing, but can include lots of movement directives, work on listening skills, and burn all off that kid energy! There are many ways to make this activity more interesting. Start by giving the directions slowly, then speed up, or try giving multiple directions at the same time.
Here are a few to start you off.
- Jump up and down 5 times
- Stand on tiptoes reaching for the stars
- Jump and turn in a full circle
- Hop on one foot 3 times, then switch to the other foot for 3 hops
- March in place
- Arm Circles
- Shoulder shrugs
- Touch your head, knees, and ears
- Pat your nose, tug your ears, hop on one foot
- Touch both your elbows with the opposite hands
- Sit down, stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, stand up
6. Keep up the Balloon
I don’t know what it is exactly, but there is just something so exciting about balloons. They’re just fun and kids absolutely love them. Keep a few on hand for when these indoor days pop up so that you’re ready for this new and exciting activity. You can play “keep up the balloon” with not just one, but two or three balloons at a time. Add in some paper plates to wave at the balloons, keeping them up without touching them!
Most of us prefer the nicer days when it’s easy for our children to play outside. But life throws us thunder and lightning, blizzards, hurricanes, blazing heat, and plain old raw, bitter cold. On those days, we are forced to muster up all our energy and creativity to keep it together. Gosh, we really are incredible, aren’t we? With a few go-to games and activities, your kids won’t even realize they’re stuck inside.