Bad weather need not be "bed weather."
When the rain gets really strong and you have to cancel your weekend plans, it’s tempting to just grab a blanket and laze around all day. But no matter how comfortable it is, it’s not healthy to stagnate for too long, especially for children. Luckily, even when they can’t run around outside, there are still plenty of activities that can keep them busy and burn off some energy inside. When they’ve had enough time on the tablet or phone, it’s good to get everyone exercising - and even better to have fun while you’re at it.
Why do kids need to stay active?
If you’re a parent, there’s a good chance you already know the value of long, uninterrupted nap time. However, that’s just one of many benefits to gain from engaging kids in active play. Kids who get a good amount of playtime often have better cognitive abilities, get better grades, and all around have a more positive attitude compared to those who don’t. Physical activity is an everyday need for kids of all ages. Kids from 5 to 17 years old need about an hour of mild to moderate exercise per day, and preschoolers need a minimum of three hours of play every day to maximize those benefits.
What can they do when they need to stay indoors?
When the weather outside doesn’t permit kids to play games of tag, race around, or certain sports, there’s no shortage of fun activities for you and your kids to do. All you need are some easy-to-find materials and a lot of creativity.
The freeze dance is a staple at birthday parties, and for good reason. It’s a simple but exciting game that only requires a source of music and some space to dance. Play some upbeat music and just start dancing. The kicker is that, while busting out your moves, you also need to be paying attention. When the music stops, everyone on the “dance floor” must freeze in place, no matter what position they’re in, until the music starts playing again.
Keep the balloon up
“Keep the balloon up” is exactly what it sounds like: a game where you have to keep the balloon in the air for as long as you possibly can. If your child is playing solo, keeping the balloon off the floor will help their agility and sharpen their concentration skills. Playing in groups offers those same perks as well as encouraging teamwork and strategizing. To make the game more fun, play with multiple balloons or make it a competition where the last one with their balloon in the air wins. It’s a good idea to clear the play area of any glassware and other breakable objects before starting.
Over and under
This game doesn’t require any props at all, just a clean floor to work on. You might want to put down a mat or rug if the ground is too cold to sit and lay on comfortably. Put your muscles to work and form a bridge with your body for your kid or kids to crawl under. Then plank on the floor so they can jump or climb over. Over and under is a game that is fun and safe even for small children. If you have big kids, they might want to try being the plank or bridge for you or their siblings. It’s a quick, low-budget workout for the kids and for you at the same time.
Take over and under to the next level with an indoor obstacle course. Use your living room furniture to make a course to climb over, crawl under, and go through and around. If you get a spot of good weather or have a covered outdoor space like a garage or veranda, you can take it outside and use colored chalk to mark the different parts of the course. A combination of physical and mental challenges will keep them on their toes and make crossing the finish line even sweeter. It’s fairly easy to put together an indoor obstacle course. Find an obstacle course race online to draw inspiration from, or just design your own based on what you have on hand. You can use cushions, pillows, step stools, and the like - just make sure they’re well-placed and safe to use for your little ones.
A hula hoop is an inexpensive and versatile toy that can bring you hours of fun. Make some room to play and let your child spin the hoop around their waist and try to keep it there as long as possible. The back-and-forth hip motions aren’t just fun to do. They also strengthen the core muscles. When your kid gets bored of trying to beat their personal time record, introduce new challenges. For example, try hula hooping while walking forward, then backward. They can also spin the hula hoop around their arm or ankle and try to quickly transfer it from one side to another. Ask them to try hula hooping while standing on one leg. Be sure to take some video documentation to show them how well they’re doing and share the bonding experience with your friends and family.
There’s no need to be gloomy and no reason to be lazy on rainy days. From horse play to dancing to indoor games, there is so much that you and your kids can do to stay entertained and active even when you can’t go outside. Playing with a hula hoop and doing an indoor obstacle course are great ways to kill boredom. However, they’re about more than just keeping the kids busy and letting them enjoy themselves when they’re indoors. These kinds of games are also a vital part of your child’s physical and mental growth. When the weather makes their immune systems more vulnerable, keeping energy levels high is crucial to their health.