Here we are, well into the winter doldrums. It’s been too cold to go outside for several days in a row. That’s tough when little ones need to move. Are you feeling it? I’ve been scrambling every day to find new indoor activities for toddlers.
Maybe it’s not cold right now where you are. But we all have times when the weather or other circumstances prevent our kids from playing outside for extended periods of time.
Of course all toddlers need lots of physical activity. Some more than others, but they all need plenty of opportunities to move throughout the day.
I have a little one who needs to be physically active. When she’s not, she gets crazy, defiant, and has a serious lack of impulse control. By the end of the day she is literally running from one end of the house to the other at top speed.
Indoor playgrounds are an awesome way for her to burn off some of that energy, but that’s not something we can do every day. So I’ve had to get creative.
Indoor Activities for Toddlers
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There are so many simple indoor activities for toddlers! Here are a few ways to help your little ones through those inside days:
Set up toys and pillows around the room and play follow the leader, moving through the course forward, backward, marching, jumping, etc. Not only does this get them moving, but little ones are learning how to follow, and of course they love being in the spotlight when it’s their turn to lead. They’ll probably come up with some creative ways to move that you hadn’t thought of!
—Put your hands up and see who can jump up and touch them. Move them up a little more each time and find out who can jump the highest.
—Set a marker on the floor and see who can jump the farthest, like a long jump.
—Count while jumping, to see who can jump for the longest time. Try to jump past 100!
—Set a timer and see who can jump the most times in two minutes
Dance Dance Dance
Put on some fun kids dance songs and get moving!
—Freeze Dance: When you stop the music, everyone freezes. When it starts again, the dancing resumes.
—Glow in the Dark Dance: Get some glow sticks from the dollar store, turn off the lights and let them dance away!
—Hokey Pokey: Use painter’s tape to make a circle or square on the floor (or just use an imaginary circle) and do the Hokey Pokey…because that’s what it’s all about, right?
This is another good game for the evening, since it gets dark so early in the winter. Give everyone a flashlight and turn off all the lights. Someone is tagged when the person who is it shines their flashlight on them.
You can easily modify game this for little ones. Have them move like a certain animal while others try to guess which one, or ask them to act out a daily activity such as getting dressed or eating.
Be an Animal
Set up a path through the house. It can be as simple or short as you want, or make it more difficult or longer depending on your child. Take turns choosing a certain animal and move through the path like that animal while making animal sounds.
Toys to Burn Energy
In addition to these simple activities, there are also plenty of toys that will encourage your little ones to move. For some ideas, check out these Toys for Active Toddlers. The mini trampoline is great for the jumping contests! My girls will jump much longer on the trampoline than on the floor alone.
And here’s one more quick idea of something I’ve been doing that my girls love: Make a list of ideas of things you can do that day and put each one in a bowl. As you finish each activity, have the kids take turns pulling out the next one. Be sure to include alone time games such as free play or even quiet time to give yourself a break from being constant activities director! They will be more receptive to that kind of play if the directive is coming from the jar and not you!
What are your favorite indoor activities for toddlers? My readers and I would love to hear your ideas. Please share them in the comments!