As important as it is to get fresh air and exercise, playing indoors is a big part of life for many little ones. Apartment living and rainy days can mean that indoor play is often called for. Here are some fun ways to stay active inside.
Depending on how much space you have and your little one’s personality, indoor play can be just as fun as outdoor play – or more so! Keeping your kids busy and entertained inside, without any tantrums or breakages, can be easy with the right planning.
Indoor games and activities to try:
Craft – refrain from recycling all those paddle pop sticks, empty cartons, cardboard boxes and paper towel rolls. Then, sit down with some glue and crayons, and you have the makings of a carton city, a space ship, or a pillow fort with control box and binoculars.
Musical freeze – play your toddler’s favourite tunes and when you pause the music ask them to freeze, sit on a chair, act like an animal that you call out, or find a favourite toy to bring back. Any and all rules go with this one – the main part is moving to music and then completing a simple, fun task.
Hide and seek – take turns being “it” and hide around the house. Or, if space is an issue, choose a favourite toy to hide somewhere and then search for it.
Treasure hunts – if you have some treats set aside, asking your little one to find them in a certain area of your house can be great fun. Making clues about the location is a challenging element, but most toddlers respond well to being told if they are “hot” or if they’re “getting colder” until they zero in.
Simon says – starting a sentence with “Simon says” and then giving your child a simple action to perform is a great way to refine their listening skills and have a bit of a laugh. Start out with basic things, like “dance” and work your way to “bark like a doggy” or “touch your nose”.
Mystery box – this one is great for working on tactile skills. Place some interesting items into a box and cover it with a cloth so your toddler can slip their hand inside, but cannot see the items. Ask them what they can feel until they guess what it is – a ball, a fluffy toy, a banana for them to snack on, something gooey to make them giggle – go for it!
Indoor bowling – a corridor or hallway is an ideal place for this, but any space will do. Just line up some washed, empty plastic bottles or tins before recycling them, and get your bub to throw a soft ball to knock them all down! As they get better, move them further and further away from the ‘skittles’.
Indoor playgrounds and covered play centres are an invaluable wet weather alternative or treat for toddlers.
Once your kids kick off their shoes and dive into the ball pit, they are in paradise. Climbing and balancing in a safe area, while music plays and you watch from the sidelines is a great way for your kids to play in safety, away from home. It encourages separation independence in a very nurturing way.
Maybe you want to jump in there too? All the better! Many places have parent’s observation areas or make room for ‘big kids’ to jump in and have a slide with the kids.
For more information see Physical development or Toddler Games.