It’s raining. It’s pouring . . . Or maybe it’s snowing. And your kids certainly aren’t snoring.
They’re about to tear the house apart.
So what can you do to channel this bursting-at-the-seems energy?
Try these favorite indoor activities for kids who just can’t sit still. An extra bonus: No electronics involved!
Indoor Activity for Kids #1: Indoor Volleyball
Before you start listing all the lamps in the living room or trying to figure out where you’ll string up a net, hear me out.
Volleyball is an indoor sport – and it can be played in the humblest of living rooms.
The trick is, instead of a ball, use . . .
Balloons don’t crash into computers or glass figurines. And they don’t go very far when you bop them. And best of all, they are cheap cheap cheap.
And forget the net. This game doesn’t need one. Here’s how you play:
Get one balloon (have some others for spares)
Clear a little space.
Establish an order of who hits the balloon up. Everyone hits the balloon up in the air when it’s their turn. The challenge is to not be the one who misses it when it comes round to you.
You can get more sophisticated by outlawing kicks or knee bops. Or you can say no holds barred and just see how well you can keep the balloon in play.
My kids are now 11 and 13 and they still love it on a rainy day. Over Thanksgiving they went through a bag of balloons and played day after day after day! And they loved it when they were tiny. The absolute thrill a little tyke finds in bopping a balloon up in the air is indescribable.
Indoor Activities For Kids #2: Indoor Obstacle Course
Okay, now this certainly shouldn’t be an indoor activity, you’re saying. But hold on.
Instead of focusing on large jumps and running, focus on precision.
Think crawling under, stepping over and stepping from spot to spot.
Throw pillows on the ground and say "don’t touch the carpet, try to get from one side of the livingroom to the other. Set up a spot where they have to do 5 jumping jacks in place. Even create partnership challenges like going down the hallway doing the wheelbarrow.
(If you don’t know what the wheelbarrow is . . . one person grabs the feet of the other person. The person with their feet held up has to walk forward on their hands while the other person walks behind them holding their feet – like a wheelbarrow. Just go slow with this and if you’re child isn’t quite reliably strong enough, do this on carpet so you don’t end up with a big bump on the chin from a crash landing)
Make it simple. Use the whole house. Have them recite a couple lines of poetry as they tromp up the stairs. There are millions of creative variations you can do with this. My children loved doing this in our somewhat modest single story ranch. Space was not the issue.
Indoor Activity For Kids #3: Stretching Olympics
Who says you can’t win a gold for touching your toes?
In fact, this is a wonderful opportunity for kids to shine who may not be the fastest or strongest.
Set up 5 or so stretches and decide who will be the judge.
Then, with much ceremony, announce the first round.
Let’s say you are doing the center split straddle. (With your legs straight, let your legs slide slowly straight out in both directions as you support yourself with your hands until your crotch is as close to the floor as possible) Have everyone go as far down in their straddle split as they can and then the judge can go around and measure how far each person is from the floor.
Do the same with a touching your toes.
Sit on the floor in a straddle and see how far forward you can reach with your hands.
See who can stand the longest in the yoga pose known as the tree. (Stand up straight and then bend one leg and place that foot on the side against the standing leg’s knee. Put your hands straight up over your head.)
See who can arch their back into the nicest, curviest bridge.
See who can do the best left-leg forward split and right-leg forward split.
Score every round according to how many contestants you have, assigning the highest number for the winner on down. At the end, tally up all the points and see who has the most. The official stretchy, rubber band champion!
Too often stretching is left out of the fitness equation. And yet it’s crucial. Here is a fun way to encourage your kids (and you) to work on your flexibility.
All these three activities are tried and true. My kids loved them when they were toddling around . . . and still love them.
So next time you’re stuck inside because the weather won’t cooperate, don’t worry about whether the couch will survive or if the curtains will still be hanging. Put these 3 indoor activities for kids to work for you and enjoy the rainy day.