We've compiled a list (70!!) of active indoor games that will inspire you when they need to burn some energy or just keep them busy.
The temperature is not inviting to go out today? How do we occupy our little raccoons who are wreaking havoc in their natural habitats?
These activities fight boredom and also test the mind, body, motor skills, coordination, flexibility and a bit of strength!
Keep this survival list handy in case it snows, rains, gets too cold or hot, or just bored!
Oh, the sky cleared? Why not go for a walk in nature? We've put together of 40 nice nature walks close to urban centers (but with more greenery)!
Indoor active game list:
12 games with tape or string
If you have a roll of tape to paint, it will be your best friend once you try these ideas that let kids spend their energy in all kinds of creative ways. Otherwise, string will do almost as well as tape.
Shape Games with Tape: Use this tape to put a variety of shapes, letters and/or numbers on your floor. Ask your child to stand on his favorite and then give him instructions to follow that will lead him to his next destination (for example: "fly like a bird to the square", "jump like a frog to to the A", "crawl to the rectangle") ). This game keeps children moving, but also helps them learn their shapes, letters and numbers.
If you have colorful “mats” to have your child do fun things such as “bounce like a frog towards green”, “on the tip of your toes towards yellow” and “walk with your knees to blue”.
Watch out for alligators: One of the all-time favorite indoor games. Simply scatter "islands" or "boats" on the floor (use pillows, stuffed animals, towels, etc.), then have your kids jump from one to another without falling into "water" and risk being eaten by a hungry alligator. Bonus if a parent plays the said hungry alligator and bites them when they fall in the water!
Lines with tape: Make 5-10 separate lines of tape, each about 20-30 cm apart, on your floor or carpet. Label the line “start” first, then give your children simple instructions:
Long Jump: See how many lines they can cross. Have them try to beat their high score each time. Experiment with swinging the arms in relation to the arms behind the back.
Jump after a few steps: Now let them start taking 1, 2, 3 steps back and see if they can jump even further!
Backward Long Jump: Increase the difficulty by performing a backward jump. Be careful, tell them to do a little jump at the beginning because keeping their balance is more difficult.
Hop: how far can they jump on one leg?
Long stride: how far can their leg reach with one foot on the starting line?
Create a Race Track: Use your ribbon (or string) to create a long road system for your kids' toy cars (or little characters). Add some math, have them measure the length of their track. The key to making it active is to make it wide-ranging, so they engage their core muscles while crawling all over the place.
Hopscotch: Make a simple game of hopscotch. Create a large square with your tape, then divide it into 9 or more smaller squares, marking random numbers in each one. Now ask your child to perform a specific move to reach the next number like "jump to 10", "zoom to 3", "slide to 67".
Balance game: Either with ribbon or string on the ground, you can give them a path on the ground (or let them do it themselves) so that they can walk in balance on the ribbon or the string without falling downstairs". Leave a gap between some ends so they have to jump to reach the other end while keeping 1 foot on it. The course goes over some obstacles? It's up to the parent to decide!
10 Games with balloons
All children love “balloons” so use this excitement to get them moving. You just have to change a few "rules" to get them moving to develop their motor skills while burning off some of their energy.
Always keep a few on hand when the going gets tough around the house.
** A quick reminder to say pieces of popped balloons can be a serious choking hazard, so if you have young children, make sure they are supervised during these activities at all times **
The ball can't touch the ground: it's the classic game for which children fall every time. The rules are simple: throw the ball in the air, but don't let it touch the ground. To make it more difficult for older children, have them use more than one ball.
You can increase the level of difficulty (and the energy expended) by telling them to use only one hand or both hands, 1 balloon, or 2, or 3!
Time them: to see how long they can do it, or if you have multiple kids, have them count how many times they can hit it back and forth... then see if they can beat their time or who does the best! This game is great for improving arm strength and hand-eye coordination.
Add stuffed animals on the floor or other small objects that they must move around while hitting the ball. Or have your child choose their favorite stuffed animal and hold it in their hand so it's essentially the one kicking the ball. You'd be surprised how this simple variation can further increase their pleasure!
Penguin walk: place a ball between your child's knees and make it walk without dropping or popping it. Make it more difficult for older children by having them navigate around a few obstacles. If they drop it, they have to go back to the start.
For several children, have them play as a team with the ball placed between their hips. Once they get the hang of it, get your timer out to see how fast they can do it.
Balloon “pinata”: Hang a balloon by a string on your doorstep so that it is a few inches higher than your child's arm's reach. Then challenge them to try tapping it with their hand. Count how many they can do in a row without missing (it tires very quickly!). Up the ante by seeing if they can jump up and touch the ball with the top of their head!
Blow the ball on the floor: Set up a course and see if your child can blow the ball to the finish line on all fours or face down on the floor. They will need to do a lot of exercises working their upper body and core strength.
Backhand Ball Balance: Challenge your kids to balance a ball on the back of their hand on a short course and see how long they can do it before it hits the ground.
“Racket” ball: Use a fly swatter, tennis/badminton racket, or make your own racket using a paper plate and a popsicle stick (or use a paint stick or plastic spoon). plastic), then use it to play the above games.
These “paddles” are also fun for balancing your ball. Have your kids try to keep their ball on the paddle as they go through obstacles or run around the house. Not as easy as it sounds if mom or dad tries too!
Balance ball under foot: For a real challenge, have your kids lay on the floor with their legs in the air and try to balance the ball on their feet. It is not an easy task and requires a lot of concentration. It's also a great core workout!
Volleyball ball: make a "net" by tying a piece of string between 2 chairs, then have your child kick the ball back and forth running from side to side, trying to keep it overhead. above ground. If you have 2 or more kids, have them hit it on the net as many times as they can without it falling. To play basketball take a laundry basket or a box larger than the ball.
12 Throwing games
Warning: you're going to have a hard time deciding which of these fun games to play first. They are so entertaining that you will want to join them too!
Aim for "Post It": Stick several PostIt or any other piece of paper, on a door or a piece of wall and write a different letter on each (in random order). Make a line on the floor a few feet from the taped papers (farther if you have older children) and have your child stand behind it with a soft ball, a roll-up stocking or 2, a small bean bag, a stuffed animal.
Now ask them to throw their object to try to hit the "A" or the "T". Players with more advanced aiming and spelling skills can try to hit all the letters in specific words (to make it even harder, if they miss any of the letters, have them start over from scratch !).
Alternatively, write different point values on each sticker and give your child 10 throws. For each target hit, note the number of points. At the end of the round, count to crown a winner (or if playing solo, have them try to beat their previous score). Make sure your kids go pick up what they threw themselves! Running and bending to pick it up again and again is part of the exercise.
Aim at the ground: Instead of aiming high, your kids will now have to throw an object to land on pieces of paper on the ground or in boxes, on a cousin. The same rules as above may apply. This game can be done with traditional “pockets” as well, but throwing stockings rolled up or with a little rice or dried lentils inside is always more fun and requires more energy to throw (watch out for the holes!). Increase the difficulty by increasing the distance, or by changing hands!
Got little bouncing balls?: Get out plastic cups and some bouncing balls (or any small object that can fit in the glass) and have your kids toss the ball to a partner and try to catch it in glass. For less skilful little ones, give them a small box to make it easier. Start by being close to each other, then keep stepping back to increase the challenge. For a solo child, they can simply throw the ball up in the air or at a wall and try to catch it.
Crab walk: Teach your child how to do the crab walk, then see how fast they can dash across the room. Have races with siblings (or yourself!), then up the difficulty level by having them balance a stuffed animal on their stomachs. If he falls, they have to go back to the beginning and start over!
For younger children, you can start with the name of their favorite four-legged animal, and add a stuffed animal or small object to their back when they crawl.
Cotton ball race: This game is very fun and consists of moving a pile of cotton balls from one room to another using a spoon. The featherweight cotton balls make it easier to take off if they don't balance it perfectly. Not easy if they try to go fast to beat their record!
Indoor Croquet: Create your own indoor croquet course using small balls or paper balls. Give them a spoon or something they can use to hit the ball or the ball of paper. Nothing in sight? So tell them to “flick” the ball of paper to move it across the floor! If you don't have a tunnel to pass the ball of paper through, get an empty tin can or plastic container. Improve the activity by writing active tasks on each "tunnel" that must be completed once their ball is passed such as "do 15 jumping jacks as fast as you can" or "up and down the stairs 2 times".
Chain for movement: You need at least 2 players for this interactive game where the first person starts by performing a certain movement - it can be something simple like jumping 2 times, or more complex like holding a plank for 30 seconds. The next person should perform the first move, then add another, forming a chain. The next person does the previous 2 moves and adds their own. You keep doing this until the chain streak is broken (usually forgotten!) and that person is eliminated. The last one standing is the winner.
Potato (or Bullet) Race: This is a favorite because kids think it's a bit silly. Have all participants place a potato between their knees and run to a finish line where they must drop it into a designated bowl or bucket. If the potato falls, or the hands touch it, they have to go back to the start and try again. It's also a good game for groups of children: divide them into 2 teams and have a relay race to see which one can put all their potatoes in the bucket first!)
The Mirror: Stand face-to-face with your child, about a foot away, and have them copy your every move. Stretch to the sky. Do 5 jumping jacks. Run in place. Act like a cat. Have fun and you'll both be sweating in no time. Then, reverse the roles and copy your child - he won't be able to hold back the laughter (and neither will you!).
Airplane Launch: Make paper airplanes and launch them. The thing? You have to pick it up and bring it back to the starting line without stepping - it can be running, jumping, jumping, twirling, crawling...let them get creative!
Pillowcase Race: On hardwood or tile floors, sit on a pillowcase (or t-shirt) and use your arms and legs to race through a “race” course.
On a mat, then tell them to put their feet in the pillowcase and do a little run, a course, or use a ball with another hand!
Target throwing: Set up targets (empty water bottles or paper towel rolls work great) and have your kids try to knock them down with soft objects (example: rolling stockings). Increasing the distance to improve their coordination and the exercise comes from the fact that they have to go back and forth between retrieving their objects and the starting line.
2 Scavenger Hunt Ideas
We parents often look for some of our things (hello keys, wallet, phone) but children don't have the same happiness! So help them with a scavenger hunt of their own with creative ideas.
Hide 1, 2 or 3 things they really like: a toy, a book, stuffed animal, etc. For younger kids, hide it in just 1 room (and don't hide them too well!). For the slightly older ones you can make it a little more complicated by hiding them better or even giving them a fixed time.
In the dark or half-light: If you have a room that can get dark enough by turning off the lights and closing the blinds, send your kids into a flashlight or your phone light where they have to find some hidden objects in the dark using a flashlight. Children often go crazy for this game!
3 Labyrinth or Obstacle Course Ideas
Amazing ideas for creating your own DIY maze or obstacle course will test your child's strategy skills while getting their heart racing.
Mission Impossible Obstacles: Using tape, chair cushion, brooms, create obstacles in a hallway or room for your kids to navigate with their bodies. Tape up and down, forcing them to step over and crawl under in various places.
The small problem with this game is that after one time they will want you to do it to them often!
This game is great for preschoolers as it lets them work on their spatial bodies and problem-solving skills - plus gets them up and moving.
Obstacle Course: This tried and tested idea is always a huge hit with kids and can be changed up every time so it never gets old. Be sure to create an engaging course that includes a variety of movements (jumping, crawling, balancing, etc.) and using a large surface area. Have your kids help create the course (which is half the fun!) using some of these creative ideas:
- Hoops to jump through
- Ribbon line for walking in balance
- Couch cushions to jump between
- Table to crawl under
- Cover on 2 chairs to cross the crab
- Tupperware containers to cross
- Stuffed animals to roll
- Plastic cups to run between
We love that Obstacle Courses are great for kids of all ages - younger kids just love being able to get through all the obstacles, while older kids can race against each other or against the clock.
You can even ask them to try it by swinging a beanbag or stuffed animal over their head, or with one hand behind their back.
Take 10 minutes to set up a super engaging course, and you'll benefit from happy, exhausted kids.
Do you have a not too full garage? Sometimes the most obvious ideas don't come to mind until it's too late. If you have a garage, why not get your car out and let your kids run wild in the open (but covered) space. Depending on its size, they could use their scooters, bikes and other outdoor ride-on toys, or play a game of tag, wrestling, soccer or street hockey. The best part about it is that your kids really feel like they are having outdoor play time.
Another way to bring the outdoors indoors is to adapt your child's favorite outdoor sports to be indoor friendly. Try these variations for lots of sweaty fun:
Basketball: A basket or any container, ball or soft object they can throw and voila. Basketball game! Place laundry baskets, buckets, boxes and place them on the floor, stairs or hang them from a doorknob or hook. Make your own balls with a ball of paper, rolled up socks or soft toys.
See who can shoot the basket the farthest. Put lines of tape on the floor to see how many baskets they can make from each. Or set a timer for 1 minute and challenge them to make as many baskets as possible (running to get the “ball” back after each shot!).
Skating with paper plates: just take 2 paper plates, remove the shoes and stockings to be barefoot (they will "stick" better), then slide them. It’s a good solution for “skating” on carpet!
Let them try with a pair of woolen mittens under their feet.
Bowling: Set up your bowling "lane" with painter's tape (or otherwise in a hallway is fine) and use plastic bottles or cups for bowling. Use any type of ball to play bowling, trying to knock down as many pins as possible. Keep track of the score or just aim to knock them all down in one turn. Create a pyramid of plastic cups for even more fun.
Hockey: Bring an outside nets inside (?!), or set up a goal using 2 cones (or plastic cups), a chair (score by passing it through the legs) or a simple door frame. Use any soft ball or paper.
Mini Golf: If you already have mini golf putters, you will only need a few “holes” to start your round of golf. Glue plastic cups lying on their sides to the ground or create tunnels with pieces of construction paper. If you don't have putters, use long rolls of wrapping paper, hockey sticks, pool noodles, or spoons for cooking and kneeling!
Dress up players: Have them put on their favorite gym clothes and meet up at a designated spot in minutes. Just wearing “special clothes” will get them out of boredom and get them excited for what's to come!
Some games are classics for a reason: they're just fun. These are our favorites, updated for modern indoor play:
Egg and Spoon Race: Grab a spoon and any small round object that fits on top (or if you're brave and have easy-to-clean floors, go ahead and use a real egg!). Create a course for your child to navigate and see if they can do it without knocking them off the spoon. Once they understand, bet on speed!
Potato Sack Race: Update this classic with pillowcases! Have your kids step in and hold it around their waist, then jump to the finish. So simple, but they will laugh like crazy and get tired at the same time.
3-legged race: Got 2 that need to move? Bind the outer ankles of these 2 kids with something soft and stretchy like a long ski sock, PJ pants or bandage. Now they'll have to work as a team to coordinate their movements to get from point A to point B. This is one of our favorites because it not only strengthens gross motor coordination, but is also great for sibling bonding. sisters!
The Wheelbarrow: Take wheelbarrow racing to the next level by having your child complete a puzzle or collect other items. Set up a wooden puzzle board and scatter the pieces around a room. Grab your child's ankles (or hips to make it easier for toddlers) and hold them so they can walk on their hands to pick them up. They must bring each piece back 1 by 1 and insert it into the board until the puzzle is complete. (great for strengthening your upper body!)
Hula Hoop: If you have a Hula Hoop, now is the perfect time to dust it off and bring it back to life. Make it fresh by turning it into a game like who can circle the most around their waist, arm or ankle. For the little ones, place it on the floor and practice jumping in/out, side to side or have them pick it up and use it as a steering wheel to drive an imaginary car around of the House !
Jumping Limbo: Do the Limbo upside down: instead of going under, have your children jump over it! Using something flexible like a stretchy exercise band, string, or jump rope, have 2 people hold it (or tie it to something on one side) and start it on the floor. Have your children run in a circle and then jump over it. After a few successful jumps, raise it a few inches. Keep lifting it until they can't jump any higher!
Red light, green light (purple light?!): Your kids go crazy for this game every time. We like to add a few different colored lights as the game goes on to keep it interesting:
Yellow light: Slowly crawl on the ground
Green light: Jump like a frog
Blue light: jump to try to touch the sky
Purple Light: Do a silly dance
Hide and seek: Make it more active by having them hide on different levels (if you have any) of your house each time, that way they go up and down the stairs every few minutes. Or have the player found first perform a "penalty" which can include classic exercises like jumping jacks, burpees, or sit-ups!
John says: Introduce your child to John says' game (or whatever cool name you want) and he will do all the active movements you dream of. But be sure to always make them a little silly - think animal movements, dramatic action, and anything that stands on one foot.
Twister: Stretch well while playing a twister game. Don't have the game? No problem! Create your own by gluing circles of paper to the floor.
Parachute: Grab a bed sheet and get your whole family involved - everyone takes sides and moves their arms up and down quickly. Put small balls or balloons on top and try to knock them down. Kids love it!
3 Activities chosen with a dice
We love these fun, interactive games where you assign a task by rolling a dice or cube with things to do on it. Kids simply roll the cube to see what activity they need to do and for how long. You can create different themes like animal moves (think "run like a rabbit" or "jump like a frog") or go for classic exercises (jumps, sit-ups, or planks anyone?) and put them to work. scale appropriately for your child's age and ability.
Kids really love these simple but kinda silly games, and you can easily change them up with new tasks to keep them fresh. Here are some of our favorite variations:
(1) Superhero Dice: Pretty much every kid who loves superheroes. Just write hero names, roll the dice and they'll soar like Superman, zoom like a Batmobile and run like Flash or fly like Gallery Chase!
(2) Animal Action Dice: Write creative animal moves like "Crawl like a snake" and "Jump like a squirrel".
(3) Move like an insect: Dice giving insect movement ideas and their movements. Your kids will have fun crawling like caterpillars and fluttering like butterflies while burning off lots of energy!
These may not be printable, but they are very easy to execute and still extremely engaging.
Assign a die: On a piece of paper, assign each number from 1 to 6 a move or action. Ask your child to roll a dice and complete the task assigned to the corresponding number. Make it active but dumb for best results. A few fun ones to try:
- Perform 10 jumps… blindfolded!
- Reverse like a crab around the edge of the room
- Fly like a bird to the bathroom and back
- The snake crawls for 20 seconds
For more fun, use 2 dice and assign moves to one dice (running, jumping, etc.) and animals to the other. Roll them both and your kids will "slide like a monkey", "jump like a fish" or "jump like an elephant" amidst giggles.
4 Ideas: Become an actor/actress
This isn't a problem for most children, as acting is often a skill they practice daily (consciously or not!). Ask your kids to channel that drama into these exciting activities that also lower their energy.
Motion Charades: Pretend to be your favorite animal, superhero or sports player by mimicking their signature moves (no sound allowed!). The other players try to guess who they are – the first to do it correctly gets a point. If your kids have trouble thinking on the spot, write down some suggestions and put them in a hat to draw from when it's their turn.
Create a show: invite your children to create their own play (you will provide the audience!). The only catch is that they have to create it around an activity you give them - it can be a sport, an activity (karate, dance, gymnastics) or our personal favorite, a juggling circus show ( attempts at least) and jumping through hoops. Once they're ready to play, videotape it so it looks like a real production (plus kids love to watch themselves on tape so you have a downtime while the replay airs) .
Host a Fashion Show: Kids love to dress up, and this idea takes that love to the next level. Create a long parade with masking tape or kraft paper and invite your fashionistas to take their best walk while you pump the music. You can play the judge by awarding points for style, creativity, and their overall attitude.
Choreograph a routine: If your child loves dance, drama, or just loves being the star of the show, challenge them to choreograph a one-minute solo routine to perform in front of their loyal fans (you). Not only does it inspire the kids to think creatively and work independently (i.e. mom takes a break), it also gets their blood pumping as they practice over and over until until it's perfect.
Exercise your child's body and mind with these active imaginative games.
Snowball Fight: Create an indoor snowball fight by making your own snowballs out of crumpled pieces of newspaper. Build your own fort to take cover between throws. It's a favorite with kids and they burn off a ton of energy dodging and dodging the oncoming blizzards.
Bear Hunt (Burn or Freeze): Hide a bear (or other stuffed animal) somewhere in your house and have your child find it (use "hot" or "cold" for younger kids who can need a little direction).
3 Ideas Music + dance
It's time to pull out your best 90s, 2000s and 2010s dance moves and turn up the music. With these games, your kids will forget all about the rain or snow outside, and instead they'll be dancing their own storm.
A dancing party! Turn on the high energy music and dance! Make sure you have a wide open space (away from toys to trip over) and twist, twist, and work your way around the room. Add musical instruments or turn off the lights and pull out glow sticks to keep the party going.
Dance and Freeze: Add a game to your dance party where one person stops the music and everyone else has to instantly freeze. If you catch someone moving, they're out. The last one standing (or dancing in this case) wins.
Musical letters: make pieces of paper with big letters on them and spread them around the room. Play music while they dance, then stop it and call out one of the letters. They must immediately find the letter and sit on it. If they pick the wrong one, have them do 15 jumping jacks (or whatever age-appropriate move you decide). Adapt this activity to your child's level - use colors, numbers or words to make it easier or more difficult.
Let's face it, most kids would love to sit in front of their iPads on a rainy day for hours, but a bedtime burst of pent-up energy isn't exactly our idea of fun. Instead, turn their "device" time into exercise fun by turning on kid-friendly YouTube exercise videos.
What are your favorite YouTube channels and videos to get your kids moving?
To do housework (!!)
Oh yes! Vacuum cleaner, broom or Swiffer, open your cleaning cupboard and ask your child to choose their favorite tool. The Swiffer always seems to be a highly coveted item, and having them work their push/pull muscles while cleaning the house is a win-win combination for all. Do your children do the housework? Yes, try. Ok, it won't be perfect but still! ;)