By Jessica Vician
In most states throughout the country, winter means chilly temperatures and few opportunities for kids to get all of their energy out since they’re stuck inside. Here are seven indoor activities that should challenge your children’s bodies, minds, and imaginations, which will hopefully wipe them out in time for bedtime.
- Build an indoor maze or fort.
Use pillows, blankets, cardboard boxes, sticks or rulers—anything goes when building a maze or a fort. This activity will challenge your child’s imagination and should provide hours of fun, from building it to playing in it. If your child is younger, supervise and help him or her for safety reasons, but most elementary school kids will want to do this activity independently.
- Play hot lava.
This was one of my favorite games when I was young. Place pillows on the floor and try to get from one couch to the next by only hopping from pillow to pillow. If you slip off, you’re in the hot lava! This game gets kids riled up and expends a lot of energy, and the stories they might imagine while pretending the floor is made up of hot lava will amaze you.
- Play crab soccer.
While sitting on the floor, put your hands behind your back and use your arms and legs to lift your bottom up. Then crawl around like a crab. Up the exercise by introducing a ball safe for indoor play. Kick it around and play soccer while crawling like a crab. You’ll use muscles you didn’t know you had and everyone will be laughing at how silly you all look.
- Organize a scavenger hunt.
Start with one clue that leads to another, and scatter those clues throughout the house for a fun scavenger hunt. Once you’ve shown your kids how it’s done, let them organize one for you. Send their brains into overdrive and challenge their minds.
- Put on a play.
Encourage your kids to put on a play with friends. Depending on their imaginations, they might write the script themselves or you can print short scripts here. There are many roles to fill, including director, actor/actress, ushers, and more, so even the shy ones can participate.
- Construct a puzzle.
I would recommend trying a puzzle that is just above the age-level of your children. That will ensure it’s challenging enough to keep them interested for a while. Talk to them about how to strategically start the puzzle. Does it help to put all the edges in one pile? Does it help to build the frame first? Why or why not?
- Indoor hopscotch.
In a hallway or other open space, write the numbers on construction paper and tape the papers to the floor. Start hopping away!
What are your kids’ favorite indoor activities to get through the winter? Tell me in the comments below and share a photo with us on Facebook or Twitter with #YOUParent.