According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, kids between the ages of 6 and 17 need at least one hour of physical activity per day. When the weather is good, getting them outdoors for exercise is an excellent way to meet these minimums. However, when the weather doesn’t cooperate, you need an indoor alternative. Plan a number of games to play inside with kids that will keep boredom at bay and keep them moving so they receive adequate exercise.
Keep It Up
The game keep it up is ideal for kids of all ages and only requires a balloon or beach ball to play. It can also be played with as many or as few kids as you like, but playing with larger groups may result in less activity for individual children. To play keep it up, head to an open space where you do not have to worry about obstacles or anything getting broken. The object of the game is to keep the balloon or ball in the air as long as possible and by any means possible. This can mean using your hands, arms, feet or any other body part to keep it from touching the floor. Another variation that can be used to make the game more challenging for older children is to eliminate the use of the hands as an acceptable way to keep the balloon or ball in the air.
Sport star is game that will get your kids moving, as well as teach them some sports fundamentals. The game is played simply by issuing commands for the kids to follow, such as “do a jump shot,” “downhill skiing” or “shoot an arrow.” At your order, the kids should mimic the motions of the activity. This game is effective for incorporating total body movement, and you can mix and match activities however you like. It also provides a platform for educating kids on sports or activities they may be unfamiliar with. As an added bonus, you can even throw in a little exercise for their brains by making word problems out of some of the orders. For instance, you might say, “If Sally shot five arrows and only two hit the target, how many shots did she miss?”
Exergaming, which combines exercise and video games, provides another indoor activity to get kids moving. There are a number of fitness games on the market for different game consoles, from dance to sports to purely exercise games. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, as long as your child is staying active and enjoys it. Another benefit to interactive exergames is that many are equipped with technology that will track fitness goals and progress, as well as provide motivation to keep moving.
Other Indoor Activities
Other ways to encourage indoor activity for your kids is to bring in a jump rope or hula hoop and let them have at it. Kids have a natural inclination to play, and with these fitness tools on hand, they will likely be put to use. You can also help motivate them by turning it into a contest, such as who can jump the most in one minute. Another idea is to create an indoor obstacle course using whatever you have on hand, such as sofa cushions, tables and chairs. Have children jump, hop, crawl, crab walk over and under different obstacle. You can also encourage them to use their imaginations to come up with their own method for completing the course.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Children Need?
- University of Colorado Health: Indoor Physical Activity Ideas for Kids!
- East Carolina University: Energizers
- American Council on Exercise: What Are Some Creative Ways to Keep My Kids Active Indoors?
- Activity Quest: An Obstacle Course for a Child Physical Activity
Suzy Kerr graduated from Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia. She completed her Master's degree in Nutrition Sciences, also at the University of Georgia. Suzy has been a successful health, fitness and nutrition writer for more than 10 years, and has been published in various print and online publications.