While outside and fresh air are always best for us, some days are too wet, too stormy, or too cold for our little ones to be outside. Thankfully that doesn’t mean they have to be couch potatoes and forsake all movement and exercise. There are lots of different indoor things to do in the winter that get your kids burning energy on indoor days! We have a wide range of ideas: some requiring parent involvement, some using a screen, and others just for kids to go about solo. There are many indoor activities within the community but these are all ideas you can do at home.
Screen-Free Indoor Movement
Go Do … and Come Back
This is one I used a lot as a tired mom living in the far north of Canada (think -40 and colder temps regularly). It was too cold for the kids outside, but they needed to move and I needed to sit! So I came up with this “game.” I had used a version for teaching phys. ed. and they loved it. I would yell out something for them to do (For example, “Go bounce 4 times on your bed.”) and then tell them to come back. So I’d say “Go bounce four times on your bed and come back.” They’d run to do it and then run back giggling. Then I’d send them to do something else. “Go to the basement and touch your elbow to the washing machine and come back.” There are really no limits; be as silly as you want to be. “Go touch your bum to 4 different doors and come back.” “Go roll like a log down the hall and come back.” This works really well for the preschool age and will tire them out, but older elementary kids can still get some fun and movement out of it too. You could even make it more difficult for them.
Simon Says and Follow the Leader
These are very basic games that most people know but are fun for your preschooler and younger elementary student. In Follow the Leader, you are participating, and the kids follow you around doing whatever movements you do (crawling, crab walk, high knees, skipping, etc.). You can even give kids a chance to be the leader. In the game Simon Says, you can sit down if you wish. If you say “Simon says,” then the children do the action. If you do not, they don’t. This way you can get them to jump up and down, run down the hall, hop like a frog, you name it.
Child Independent Activities
There are many indoor things to do in winter to keep kids active such as a mini trampoline and obstacle courses. Hula hoops are a great (and cheap) tool to keep kids moving indoors if you have the room. If you have an unfinished basement, kids can scooter, rollerblade, or ride their bikes in the basement. You can hang cloth swings, real swings, rings, or a bar from the ceiling and let them play. Those with lots of creativity can even create a rock wall for the kids to climb inside their house. If you use your imagination and what you have available to you, you can find ways to move. Even a mattress on the floor creates opportunities for active kids!
Freeze Dance / Movement
Nothing new or creative about this idea but still fun for all ages! Put on some music your family likes and have the kids keep moving as long as the music is playing and freeze when the music stops. You can have them dancing or just moving, running up and down halls, jumping jacks, hopping, whatever suits!
Screen Indoor Movement Activities
Coach Pirillo – YouTube Channel
This coach and gym teacher made videos during the pandemic for his students to do daily but can also be used by anyone as an indoor thing to do in winter. They are each set to one song from Kidz bop so of course use your discretion about each song choice. You can, and should, preview anything from YouTube before you play it for your children. There are 3 different types of Coach Pirillo videos: dance, using an exercise ball, and sitting in a chair. Watch a few and see what you like for your family.
YouTube and Exercise Videos
There are many options online for workouts for kids. You can search on YouTube or can use things like the beachbody app or any workout videos. Preview anything before you show it to your child.
This is just a small overview of the indoor things to do in the winter to make sure your kids are still being active. Use your imagination and work together to come up with a plan for your family!
This article has been written by homeschooling staff writers of The Canadian Schoolhouse (TCS).