Are frigid temperatures and icy sidewalks keeping you stuck indoors with your active toddler this winter? Don’t let cabin fever rule the day. Here are eight ways you and your little one can burn some energy and get some good playing in—even indoors! All are toddler-approved and budget-friendly.
1. Hold a Toddler Dance Party
Turn on the music and let the kiddos dance!
Kids especially enjoy this if Mom and Dad get their groove on, too.
Invite your friends over with their toddlers to share in the fun. Other parents may be wishing for a break from entertaining house-bound toddlers, too.
2. Build a Fort
Simply drape a blanket over some chairs (heavy enough not to tip over onto the kids) or from one sofa arm to another. Magically, the space can transform into a fort, a cabin, a store, or a beauty salon! All it takes is imagination and a few favorite toys that come to play along.
Hint: If you crawl in with your child, the fun doubles!
3. Have a “Snowball” Toss
Make balls out of wads of paper or rolled-up socks.
Now pick a target:
- Try to make a basket in the a laundry basket or a box.
- Bowl over empty plastic bottles.
- Throw the balls through a hula hood (or try to land them inside a hoop laying on the floor).
- Count each ball that hits a pillow.
- Have a snowball “fight” with each other. (Really, did we need to say it?)
4. Play Animal Charades
Take turns acting like an animal. Have the other person guess which animal you are. Be sure to make noises and crawl, wriggle, or walk around like your animal. The goofier, the better.
Of course, you can act like other things, too: cars, planes, trains, or buses, for example. And you’ll be surprised what else your child can imitate. They don’t mind if you can’t guess what they’re doing—it makes them feel smart!
5. Set up an Obstacle Course
If you really want to help your child run off a lot of energy at home, an obstacle course is the way to go.
Fill the room with objects they can safely walk on, climb over (with help?), crawl under, and run into, and you’ll have a game they’ll ask to play over and over again.
Towels or pillows make a great trail to follow; zig-zag them for an extra challenge. Place a chair where you child can crawl between its legs before getting up to run circles around the teddy bear in the middle of the room.
Walk them through the course until they can do it without instructions. Once they get the hang of navigating the course in one direction, have them turn around and go through it in reverse order.
Then let them design a new course.
6. “You’re Getting Warmer…”
Send your child hunting for a particular toy or other familiar object. Describe the object—“It’s blue and soft”—and tell them “you’re getting warmer” when they are close to finding it, or “colder” when they are going the wrong way.
Then let them send you on a hunt.
7. Visit the Indoor Playground
Here in Redwood Falls, our Community Center provides an indoor play space for kids every day of the week.
- Hours are Monday – Saturday from 8am – 8pm, and Sunday from noon – 8pm.
- Kids under 5 play free; kids ages 6-7 are free with membership, or only $4/day.
8. Little Critters Club
Also at the Redwood Area Community Center, Little Critters Club offers a place to “run, jump, crawl on mats, and just have fun in the field house.”
- Open from 9:30 – 11:30am on Mondays and Thursdays from Nov. 13 – March 15.
- Cost is only $1/day for pre-schoolers age birth – 6 with a parent or babysitter.
Wishing you could get a new toy to make winter a little brighter for your child?
Bring your Baby Bucks to Choices’ Boutique
and pick out one of our latest arrivals.