Any parent or caregiver knows: being stuck inside with kids can get hectic very quickly. Their little bodies contain so much energy and it will come out one way or another. Experts recommend that kids get at least 1 hour of physical activity every day. If you’re in a bind about sending them outside to run around, we’ve got a few simple games (exercises) that you can do with them indoors.
Wheelbarrow, Crab, and Bear-Walk Races
Challenge kids to do something, and they’ll jump at the chance to succeed. Make it a race and they’ll get into even more. Clear a path away from chair legs and table corners to see who can get through the fastest. The tough part: being on all fours, or only twos! Bear-Walk: walk on all fours with your belly facing the floor. Crab-Walk: walk on all fours with your belly facing the ceiling. Wheelbarrow: walk on your hands with a partner holding your feet in the air. If there’s not enough room for more than one to safely go at once, time them with a stopwatch to keep the competition strong!
A solid go-to that’s always a crowd favorite. Pick out an upbeat song that everyone will love. Instruct the kids that they can only dance when the music is playing. When the music stops and you yell “Freeze!”—they have to freeze in whatever position they’re in. Keep the game interesting by giving new dance instructions every time you restart the music. Some options could be: walk on your toes like a ballerina, pretend to be your favorite animal, hop on one leg, turn and spin.
Keep the Balloon Up
The game is simple: the group has to keep a balloon in the air without letting it touch the ground. It might be less aerobic, but it makes up for it in concentration and stretching. How challenging it becomes is up to you. Depending on the ages of the kids you could use one or some of these rules: one arm behind your back, can’t take more than one step, can’t use your hands, can’t touch it more than once in a row.
Spell the Alphabet
Whether or not your kids need to practice the alphabet, this is a great game to get them thinking about their bodies in a new way and get some inadvertent stretching in. Go through each letter of the alphabet and see if the kids can make that letter with the shape of their body. Try making the letter with a partner. And for an added bonus: what’s the silliest way that you can make the letter?
Walk Like a Ballerina
If you’ve ever seen a ballerina dance, they’re always walking around on the balls of their feet. While seemingly simple at first, doing this for a prolonged period of time is a great exercise in balance and strengthening your core and legs. See how long you and the kids can last doing tasks around the house all while only walking on your toes.
Skipping + Hide-and-Go-Seek
The game is the classic hide-and-go-seek. However, you have to skip everywhere. Once the seeker finds the first person, they both have to continue to skip around the house and find the rest of the hiders. Trade-off whose turn it is to seek to make sure that everyone gets ample time to skip.
Play a game for the imagination that’s also good for the body. Everyone lays down with their belly on the floor. Someone picks a place that they’d love to fly to. Then, everyone needs to fly there! To do that, lift both your arms and legs off the floor like you’re a superhero flying through the air. While you’re flying, ask the kids what they’re seeing on the ground below as you pass by, ask them what they’re going to do when they get to the destination, ask them who they’ll see there and what the place will look like. Once you’ve “arrived,” everyone can take a break from flying. When the break is over, the next kid can choose a destination.
Handstands On the Wall
No socks or shoes for this one. Find a blank wall in the house without any furniture or breakables nearby. Have the kids take turns doing a handstand up against the wall and see how long they can hold it there. Help guide their legs to get there if needed. This is a great challenge for their upper body strength and vestibular systems. If a handstand is too difficult, help guide them to hang off the edge of a couch with their hands on the floor. But remember—one at a time for safety!
Not only is this game a fun and silly one to play with friends, but it’s also a great option for stretching, balancing, and working up a good sweat! If you don’t have the real Twister game, you can always make a DIY game!