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14 Fun Indoor Activities for Kids by a Physical Therapist

Mar 13th, 2024 | by Serena Patel, PT, DPT

Serena Patel, PT, DPT

March 13th, 2024

Stuck indoors and looking for ways to keep your kids active and entertained? Look no further! Here are some fun indoor activities for kids with a physical component designed to get your kids moving and having a great time. From dancing to obstacle courses to scavenger hunts, there’s something for everyone!

Indoor Activities for Kids: Physical Therapist Approved

Indoor activities for kids can be a fun way to spend the day when it’s rainy and everyone is stuck inside. Whether your space is small or large, these activities are great to get the body moving with some fun for the whole family.

Physical activity helps to improve cardiovascular fitness, build strong bones and muscles, encourage better sleeping patterns, increase self-confidence, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and promote relaxation.

Especially on days that we are stuck inside, and the weather is gloomy, physical activity can be a great alternative and help boost mood. Try out these quick and fun games for the next rainy or snowy day!

Indoor Activities That Challenge Balance:

1. Pillowcase Race!

Help your child into a pillowcase (non-slippery, if possible) and hop across the room to see who wins the race! Ditch the pillowcase and put on some stable shoes to work on jumping stability first if needed!

2. Pillow Walk

Place couch cushions or pillows across the floor and help your child walk across without falling off. Too easy? Try it backwards or with their eyes closed!

3. Slippery Soup

Standing on level ground, place a can of soup or beans under one foot. Encourage your child to maintain balance for 5 seconds and progressively count higher and higher! Turn the can on its side for an extra challenge. Don’t let the soup slip away!

4. Animal Charades

Hop like a bunny, waddle like a duck or stomp like a dinosaur! Get the whole family involved to guess which animal impersonation is the best.

 

5 Slithering Snake

  • Level 1: Roll up a blanket or bed sheet into a long rope and place it on the ground. Jump or step over different parts of your snake to cross the river.
  • Level 2: Have a parent or sibling help bring your slithering snake to life and move it across the ground. Help your child to jump over the snake to avoid its bites!
  • Level 3: Slithering snake gains flying powers! Bring the sheet up high to encourage your child to duck down and stay safe!

 

6. Balloon Toss

  • Level 1: Stay seated and play throw/catch with a balloon.
  • Level 2: Stand up and play throw/catch with a ballon.
  • Level 3: Keep up the balloon! Extra tip: alternate hands to promote usage of both extremities!
  • Level 4: Keep the balloon from hitting the ground, but, no hands this time! Encourage your child to use their head or legs to challenge their balance even more.

 

Indoor Activities That Challenge Endurance:

7. Color Quest

Treasure hunt around the house for 5 things of each color of the rainbow. Extra tip: add a time component or race against a sibling to challenge speed!

8. Laundry Basket Rollercoaster!

Put your child’s favorite stuffie into a laundry basket and take him for a rollercoaster ride! Great for kiddos who are learning to walk.

 

9. Alphabet Exercise Cards

Print out some exercise cards and highlight each alphabet. Add in some creative fun to decorate and color the cards before using them!

  • Examples:
    • A: Make circles with your Ankle.
    • B: Balance on one foot.
    • C: Clap your hands.
    • D: Dance!
  • Bonus Idea: Have your child spell out their name and then perform the activities for each card!

 

10. Book-Worm Workout

Have a child that loves reading books? Pick one exercise to do every time a specific word is mentioned

  • Examples:
    • Cat in the Hat – every time the word “hat” is mentioned, you have to do a jumping jack!
    • Green Eggs and Ham – every time the word “eggs” is mentioned, you have to do a bridge!

 

Physical Indoor Activities That Challenge Strength:

11. Bean Bag Toss!

Put a large bowl or hoop on the ground. Have your child toss bean bags into the bowl from further and further away! Too easy? Change the height of the bowl or angle to make it more difficult.

  • Don’t have bean bags? Fill up Ziploc bags with some rice or grains for an easy DIY project.

 

12. Bubble Wrap Stomp

Winter time = presents, right? Grab the bubble wrap out of your packaging and encourage your kiddo to stomp (or roll over) and pop those bubbles. *might be a loud activity! Not recommended for friends who have noise sensitivity*

13. Bowling

Line up some empty water bottles in a triangle formation and roll the ball down to knock them over. Fill up the water bottles or use larger milk gallons for added difficulty.

14. Turn to the Classics!

Or… you could always turn to the classics! Twister, Simon Says, Freeze Dance, “Red Light, Green Light” or building a fort are always great ways to encourage fun physical activity with minimal equipment.

Find More Therapist-Approved Activities in the NAPA Blog:

 

About the Author:

Serena Patel is a pediatric physical therapist at NAPA Center Los Angeles who received her DPT from Duke University. Outside of her love for kiddos, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her friends and family, reading or baking delicious goodies. Having been trained in dance, she also appreciates sharing her passion with other kids through teaching occasional classes at her old studio!

TAGS: Blogs, PT
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