Toddlers are known for being an active bunch of individuals. They like to explore and discover things independently. But what happens when the weather is unfavorable, making outdoor play a no-go for your young ones? Do you simply plop your children on the couch and make them watch TV or play video games all day? While this might sound like a good idea, the truth is that there are a series of indoor activities that can keep your little ones active and help them burn energy.
So, do you want to know how to keep your toddler active indoors? You can put on some music and have a dance party, engage in indoor sports and games, try solving puzzles together, play hide and seek, practice yoga, stretch, or clean the house. The most important thing is to ensure that your little one is engaged physically and mentally most of the time. Avoid prolonged screen time (watching TV or playing video games) because it doesn’t help much.
Since we want to help you keep your toddler active, we have prepared a comprehensive list of some of the best indoor physical activities for toddlers. Read on to discover simple ways of keeping your little one engaged when you cannot go outside.
Why Is It Important to Keep Your Toddler Active?
Physical activity is essential for everyone but more crucial to kids because it provides them with the right foundation to live a long and healthy life. According to the American Council on Exercise, more toddlers and teenagers are overweight or obese now than ever before.
In fact, the number has almost quadrupled since the 1960s. By being physically active, children reap a wide range of benefits that result in better health and development. Keep in mind that as they get older, it can be challenging for them to get enough physical activity due to increasing school demands and busy schedules for parents.
When toddlers are physically active, their bodies develop in different ways, which helps them remain focused and motivated. With regular exercise, they develop strong bones, healthy body weight, and sleep better. Being physically active also helps them to develop a better outlook on life.
Creative Ways to Keep Toddlers Active Indoors
Now that you understand the importance of keeping your toddler active, let us discuss some of the things you can do to accomplish this goal.
1. Indoor Sports and Games
Most parents don’t know that you don’t have to be outside to teach your toddler games such as badminton, cricket, mini-golf, football, bowling, and so on. Most of these games can be adapted and played indoors quite comfortably.
All you need is to make room in the dining area, drawing room, or along the corridor, and you are good to go. You can also blow up a few balloons and teach your kid how to throw them around.
Balloons can serve as a smaller and safer alternative to regular leather balls because they cannot break your stuff around the house. They also move slowly and are relatively larger, making it easy for your little one to catch them.
However, if the balloon bursts, make sure you throw the shreds away immediately. If left in the house, they can pose a significant safety risk because they can easily choke your toddler if he/she tries to swallow them.
With indoor sports and games, your primary objective is to get your little one running around and participating actively in the activity. Other simple games you can play with your toddler indoors include peek-a-boo, tag, hide and seek, etc.
2. Freeze Dancing
Dancing is an excellent way to make your child move and develop his/her sense of rhythm. All you have to do is clear some space, turn on their favorite music and let your toddler dance to the tune. Siblings and other family members can join in the dance as well.
However, plain dancing can be boring. So, you can modify it by adding a few alterations. One of the best ways to modify the dance session is to include the “freeze” part.
This is how it works. You turn on your kid’s favorite music and encourage him/her to dance until you stop the music and shout out, “freeze!” When the music stops playing, the kid must freeze and maintain whatever position they were in just before the music stopped playing.
It is up to you to decide how long you want the music to play before you stop it. Sounds fun? Go out and try it with your toddler today.
3. Practice Yoga and Other Organized Exercise
If you are already into some organized exercise at home, such as yoga or aerobics, it is good to get your toddler involved as well. If you usually use this as a time for yourself and think your kid will distract you, just invite them for the warm-up or the first few minutes, like 20 or 30 minutes.
You will be surprised at how that simple gesture will motivate and make them want to join you every day. You can also find a way of including an additional toddler-friendly ten or 20 minutes at the end of your exercise to integrate them more in your indoor exercise regime.
Even though this is time for yourself, it is always a good idea to let your kids be around and learn a few things from you. After all, you are their #1 role model, and they look up to you in many ways.
4. Indoor Hopscotch
Instead of spending time jumping on and off the bed or couch, you can have your toddler hop on one leg on top of an indoor hopscotch course. You can quickly build your own course by sticking a regular masking tape on the floor in nine connecting squares.
To build the game properly, you must have boxes one to three constructed in a single line, one on top of the other. Boxes four and five must be placed side by side followed by box (six) and two additional boxes for numbers seven and eight and then the final box (nine). Feel free to use an object such as a tennis or golf ball to serve as your marker.
When it comes to playing, player 1 will try to throw the marker into box one while avoiding the boundary lines and spaces outside the box. If successful, he/she will hop on one foot for single squares along the course and two feet on all side-by-side squares while avoiding box 1.
The player is free to rest on home base before hopping back to the course. On the way back, the player should pick up the marker in box 1. If the player successfully lands within the course lines, hops with proper footing, and avoids a fall, he/she takes another turn starting by throwing the marker in box 2.
If the first player is unsuccessful, the next player takes over. Players should resume turns by throwing the marker in the last box they played.
The winner will be the first person to throw the marker on home base while completing the entire marker course without committing an error.
5. Encourage Free Play
It is always good to have activities you do together but don’t feel like you always have to be there to keep your toddler active and entertained. Sometimes, unstructured, free play with minimal supervision from the parent or caregiver can help your child develop her independence and imagination.
Therefore, don’t feel like every indoor activity needs to be micromanaged and turned into a serious lesson. You can simply stay around and keep a watchful eye over him/her to ensure he/she is safe but give the toddler some spa on their own.
As long as you have created a safe play area, you can simply take the toddler in the area and let him/her play with toys or do other things she finds interesting.
6. Involve the Toddler in Household Chores
This one sounds strange, but it is one of the best ways to teach your little one about responsibility. However, in the early days, it is not about getting things done but instilling the helping habit into the kid.
You can start by involving them in simple activities such as putting their nightclothes away in the morning and organizing their toys properly every evening before they go to bed. You could also request your toddler to pass you pegs while you hang your laundry to dry or clean the table after mealtimes.
Ensure you compliment him/her on the great job he/she is doing and remind her why it is essential to help you. You should also praise the child every time he/she does something right.
As a parent or caregiver, you don’t have to get worried when the weather is terrible and you cannot get your little ones outdoors to play. There are still lots of exciting indoor activities that can keep your children engaged and active.
With little imagination and creativity, you can come up with many activities that will help your child burn energy and stay healthy. We hope this article was helpful and has taught you a few things you didn’t know.