There's many moments we find ourselves spending days, or perhaps weeks indoors. Maybe it's the dead of winter or the several weeks after a new baby is born, whatever your reason may be I've listed 5 fun activities to keep your toddler and preschooler entertained and moving. These activities are favorites that we've used in our preschool gymnastics for either warm ups or direct instructions so they've been tried and true.
1. Puzzle Path
The Puzzle Path game is super easy and will prove to be an activity that will last longer than 5 minutes- even better! To set up, place the puzzle pieces at one end of your "path" and the empty puzzles at the other end. Make sure the pieces are upright and laid out for little hands to grab easily. Next, place items to use as a stepping stone path between the puzzle pieces and the empty puzzles. We've used scarves, pillows, and construction paper. Now it's time to start the Puzzle Path fun. Have the children choose a puzzle piece and hop from stepping stone to stepping stone, matching the puzzle piece to the puzzle it belongs to. If this gets too easy, have the child hop on one foot, or backwards. When all the puzzles are full, reverse the game until all the pieces are at the beginning again. Repeat and trying timing your child. They love a challenge.
2. The Floor Is Lava
This classic game can be played anyway you choose. To set up, you'll want to place different objects around your space to use as islands in the lava. We've used pillows, couch cushions, paper plates, you name it. Try to scatter the items around but close enough for little legs to jump from island to island. Ok, time to get started! Have the children gallop, bunny hop, frog jump, or skip around the area until someone says, "the floor is lava!" At this time, everyone needs to find an island to stand on so they don't touch the lava. Ok, floor isn't lava anymore so everyone's free to jump and gallop around the room until..."the floor is lava!"
3. Frisbee Races
If you have even one competitor at home (that includes you, Dad), this game is right up your alley. And listen, if you don't have multiple frisbees at home, we've also raced with plastic and paper plates and they work great! This game has many options so play according to your imagination and skill levels. Set up includes figuring out a start and finish line, and it doesn't have to be a straight line either. If it works in your home, feel free to wind your race around couches and end tables. Almost ready for your race to begin? Some options to race include, hands in the frisbee using feet to push you forward, or put one foot in the frisbee to 'skateboard' race. If your up for a little challenge, try putting your feet in the frisbee and use your arms to race. 3-2-1 GO!
4. Freeze Dance
This activity is a favorite with my preschool gymnasts. Although we typically play to the 'Freeze Dance' song, which is available on YouTube, you can freeze dance to any of your family's favorite songs. To play, have your child dance, hop, twirl, skip or leap around the room. When the music stops, it's time to freeze. Who can freeze the longest or be the best statue? Ok, time to play the song again and D-A-N-C-E! Take my word for it, your child will want to play this game over and over again. Who knows, maybe Mom will too!
5. Handstand Walks
This game might sound daunting as you imagine your child attempting to walk in a handstand, but handstand walks are a little different. You can make this game as challenging as you want, but you'll need to consider your child's skill level. To begin, set up various items of different heights in a line. Items might include large and small organizing bins, a cardboard box, or a large suitcase. Have your child start at one end, hands on the floor and feet raised up on the items, and 'handstand walk' from one end to the other and back again. Make this game even more fun by placing memory game cards, face up, at the beginning and have your child handstand walk, then match 2 cards and set aside. Continue until the cards have all been matched.
While being indoors can be challenging, playing fun, active games to keep little ones engaged and burning pent up energy can help make the days go by faster. And like I said, let your imaginations go wild to make these games even more fun and challenging.