Whether it’s pouring outside, the storm of the century is predicted, or it’s just plain freezing and you just don’t want to go out there. But cooped up kids can become mini tornadoes if their energy isn’t exerted. Plus, a season of cold weather, snow, sleet and rain doesn’t mean kids don’t need exercise. Start teaching indoor games that will still get their hearts beating.
Here are some to jump into today.
1. Indoor Olympics: In honor of the upcoming winter games, create a course of old fashioned favorites. Add stations around your house for jump roping, hula hooping, ring tosses, jumping jacks and squat thrusts (all based around a child’s ability). Time kids as they race through the house, completing the task set up at each station. Complete the race with a medal ceremony (craft project to create paper medals!).
2. Egg Races: Pair up kids in teams of two. Then give each team a hard boiled egg and each player a spoon. Create a route around the house for the kids to run, while holding their egg on the spoon. Then they transfer the egg to their teammate. The players with the last egg standing win.
3. Don’t Let the Alligator Get the Balloon: Blow up a few balloons and gather the kids in one room. The goal is to keep the balloon in the air, and never let it touch the ground ñ or the alligators will pop it. Start with one balloon. Increase difficulty by adding more.
4. Basket-Ball: Using two laundry baskets and one balled up pair of socks, create two teams. Place baskets on opposite sides of the room. No need to dribble the socks. Just try to run past each other and get the ball in the basket. Try soccer “basket-ball” too.
5. Slithering Snakes: Everyone on your belly! Now, try to move around the floor like a snake ñ no hands or feet allowed.
6. Sleeping Giants: Have children pretend to be giants who like to jump. Let them jump up and down for fun. Once they hear “Sleeping Giants,” children will stop and lie very still on the floor. When you say “Waking Giants,” the children will jump up and down until you call out “Sleeping Giants” again. Continue the game to allow children to practice stopping and starting. Substitute other motor skills instead of jumping, for example, walking (penguins!), hopping (frogs!), skipping (elephants!), crawling (bears!) and marching.
Katie Bugbee is the senior managing editor and resident parenting expert of Care.com. A busy working mother of two, she’s an expert on many parenting dilemmas, from appeasing picky eaters to finding the perfect nanny.