We all want our kids to be healthy, and we’ve heard the basic, run-of-the-mill suggestions a million times. Get your kids active, provide healthy snacks, model healthy behavior etc., but let’s get real. How do you come up with good indoor activities for kids? Sometimes, when it’s 28 degrees outside, you’ve run a ton of errands, and are fighting a cold, easy choices aren’t necessarily healthy choices. (I speak from experience… it’s been a tough week…WHEW!)
Since it’s American Heart Month, I’ve really worked to remind myself how important it is to be heart healthy, even when it’s hard. I’ve been focusing a little extra attention on things that actually work in my house to build active, heart healthy kids. The American Heart Association recommends all children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. That can seem like a lot when going outside isn’t much of an option. What do “active kids” look like when you’re stuck inside?
Indoor Activities for Kids
Indoor Ice Skating
Running in the house is a bad plan but ice skating? Sure! That’s a great indoor activity for kids. No ice rink you say? No problem. All you need are paper plates. Stand with one foot on each plate and slide around. In our house, we’ve used paper plates on carpet and hardwoods. Paper towels or wash cloths also work on hard flooring. Practice different ice skating (not so technical) techniques like the side to side speed skater move. Make sure kids are careful though. Steer clear of counter edges and furniture. Spins and jumps are not really recommended, just be smart, safe, and skate at your own risk.
Build an Obstacle Course
Anytime you get crazy inside, remind your kids to pay attention to what’s around them. That said, take the cushions off of the couch, grab the rug by the door, pull the ball pit out, and build an obstacle course. For younger kids, this is great on MANY levels. They are able to be active and practice following multi-step directions. Obstacles don’t have to be crazy but they can be a great indoor activity. Jump over the pillow, waddle like a duck around the chair, army crawl through the chair tunnel, and back to the starting line. Get creative, and get active!
The Daily Dance Party
Make a dance party playlist, crank it up, and leave it all on the floor. This is my absolute favorite indoor activity for kids. The playlist in our house is full of MY favorite dance songs, and the kids love when I come in and get my groove on too! If you spend at least 20 minutes each day silly dancing with your kids, that’s 1/3 of those 60 minutes done. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of winter or 100* in August. It’s always the right time for a dance party.
This is definitely more for younger kids, but who knows? It could work for your 10 year old too! Find a book with pictures of animals. Maybe it’s an old touch and feel zoo board book, or maybe it’s an animal dictionary. Whatever the case might be, bring the book to an open space, take turns choosing an animal, then taking a trip around the house MOVING like that animal with your entire body. Snakes would be on the ground with no arms, birds would always be flapping their wings, and kangaroos would be doing a lot of jumping. Mix it up, keep it relaxed, and be silly!
There’s no need to turn your family room into a Crossfit Box, but you can definitely hold some pretty sweet competitions. Teach your kids the right way to do certain exercises… and then see who can do more. See who can jump the farthest, run in place the longest, or crabwalk the fastest. Even with my 4 year old, I’ve had wall sit competitions. We laughed. I won. It was great. It’s a good way to model good exercise habits for your children AND get them involved.
If you’re up gettin’ jiggy during the dance party or cracking up as you slither like a snake through the living room, your kids are going to take notice. The same thing happens if you’re reading the nutrition labels at the store. They see you and learn from you all. the. time. Set the example that living a healthy and active lifestyle is important. Those lessons can stick.