Ministry of Education, Guyana

Eight Indoor Activities to Release Kids' Energy

When my daughter was young, it took a lot of mental energy , creativity and time to come up with new ways to get our energy out inside, especially during bad weather days, extended weekends or even as part of our every day routine. Physical activity is important for children and adults alike. Getting regular exercise helps keep our bodies healthy, sets up positive long-term habits, supports restful sleep and helps children be prepared to learn.

As we enter an unusually challenging time and face growing concerns about the spread of illness (see How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus), we all have a lot on our minds. This can make it hard to feel creative. Now is a great time to turn to one another for activity ideas to add to our collective parenting toolboxes. Whether you are preparing for a new routine at home with your child or looking for additional activities to add to your existing routine, here are a few ideas for indoor games to get the wiggles out.

1 Turn on music and dance.
Play your favorite songs and move to the beat together. Moving to music is a great way to get energy out and to practice important skills, like self-regulation (find additional music games here). Try “mirror dancing” with your child. Stand face-to-face several feet apart and take turns being the dancer and their reflection (try to copy what the dancer does like a reflection in a mirror). And make up some new dance moves with Pinkalicious or play freeze dance with Peterrific in this fun game!

2 Set up obstacle courses.
Give your child physical activity challenges to complete: “Can you hop down the hallway on one foot and then tiptoe all the way back?” Use laundry baskets, pillows or other items around your home to create more complex obstacle courses.

3 Create a scavenger hunt.

Make a checklist using simple pictures or words with items your child can find around the house, such as: two red books, four chairs, two tables, one black shoe, one white shoe. Help your child cross off each item as they are found. For older children, create scavenger hunts focused on finding items that are specific shapes or colors, such as two triangles, four circles, three things that are purple.

4 Play stuffed animal hide and seek.
Take turns hiding a stuffed animal or an object (like a wooden spoon). As your child looks for the hidden item, offer clues that help her practice directions: “Turn left. Walk two big steps forward. Now look under the blanket.” 

5 Toss a sock ball.
Roll up pairs of socks and gather one or more cardboard boxes or bins, like laundry baskets. Take turns tossing socks into the box. Younger children may enjoy standing close to the box and dropping socks in, dumping them out and then dropping them in again. Older children may enjoy seeing how far away they can stand and still get the socks in the box or getting creative by tossing with their eyes closed, or tossing while standing on one foot.

6 Scramble and sort the laundry.
Involve your child in household chores that require physical activity. Children love to feel like they are contributing to the household! Pushing a full laundry basket back and forth down the hallway is one way to get energy out. Putting laundry away is another. Sort laundry together into piles of different colors or types, such as socks in one pile, pants in another. Pretend you are delivering mail or pizzas as you put piles of laundry away.

7 Walk a tightrope.
Lay a piece of string or tape down on the floor. Have your child pretend to cross a tightrope or a narrow bridge. Walk with one foot in front of the other with arms outstretched to each side to help keep balance. Make up a story with your child to go along with what you do! After crossing the bridge, lay down a second piece of string or tape parallel to the first. These lines now become a river to jump or pretend to swim across as your child continues the adventure!

8 Engage in active storytimes.
Turn story time into physical activity time. After reading a book together, read the story again. This time, pause and make up actions to go along with the story line, such as stand up and pretend to walk to the zoo.

Each of these activity ideas can be modified and enhanced to include your children’s interests. Obstacle courses can become part of an imaginary adventure under the sea. Stuffed animal hide and seek can turn into an animal rescue mission. Follow your child’s lead and get those wiggles out!


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