Toddlers are known for being very active. They enjoy exploring, moving about, and trying new things. Pediatricians typically advise that toddlers spend at least 30 minutes each day performing some structured activity. Active play or unstructured physical activity for at least 60 minutes daily is also encouraged.
However, sometimes the weather or other circumstances don’t allow for outdoor play. That’s when it’s important to get creative and come up with ideas for indoor activities that will keep your toddler entertained while also helping them stay active.
Here are 15 tips for keeping your toddler active indoors:
1. Set up an indoor obstacle course.
This can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Use furniture, pillows, blankets, and anything else you have around the house to create a mini obstacle course for your toddler to navigate.
2. Get them moving with the music.
Put on some of their favorite tunes and encourage them to dance along. They can march in place, jump up and down, spin around, or do any other type of movement that feels fun to them.
3. Play catch indoors.
You don’t need a lot of space for this one. A small room or even a hallway will do. Use a soft ball or bean bag and take turns throwing it back and forth to each other.
4. Go on an indoor scavenger hunt.
Hide small toys or objects around the house and give your toddler a list of things to find. They’ll get some good exercise running around from place to place as they search for the items.
5. Do some simple exercises together.
Toddlers are often intrigued by what adults do at the gym. Show them some basic exercises they can do alongside you, such as squats, lunges, sit-ups, or push-ups.
6. Put on a puppet show.
This activity can be done solo or with a friend. Use puppets to put on a short play or skit for your toddler. They’ll love being entertained while also getting to use their imagination.
7. Play “Simon Says.”
This classic game is a great way to get your toddler up and to move. Take turns giving commands such as “hop on one foot,” “touch your nose,” or “spin around three times.”
8. Do some yoga poses together.
Yoga is a great way to exercise both the body and the mind. Look up some simple yoga poses online that you can do together with your toddler.
9. Go for an indoor “walk.”
If you have a long hallway or other open space in your home, take your toddler for an indoor walk. As you stroll around, point out different things you see and talk about them with your little one.
10. Play “Red Light, Green Light.”
This game is another good way to get your toddler moving. One person is “it” and stands at the other end of the room or space. The rest of the players start at the other end, and when the person who is “it” says “green light,” they can move toward the person who is “it.” When the person says “red light,” everyone must stop. The first person to reach the person who is “it” wins the game.
11. Make a fort.
Grab some blankets and pillows and build a small fort or playhouse for your toddler. They can use it as a base while playing with their toys or as a place to nap.
12. Have a pillow fight.
This is a fun way to let out some energy and have some laughs at the same time. So get a few pillows and have a friendly pillow fight with your toddler. Just be sure not to hit them too hard!
13. Play “I Spy.”
This is a great game for toddlers who are just learning their colors and shapes. Take turns looking around the room and describing something the other person has to find. For example, you might say, “I spy something red and triangular.” The other person would then look around the room until they found an object that fit that description.
14. Do some arts and crafts.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to indoor arts and crafts projects for toddlers. You can do simple things like coloring or playdough or get more creative with painting, clay, or homemade slime.
15. Read stories together.
Reading is a great way to bond with your toddler and also help them develop their language skills. So choose some of their favorite stories and snuggle up together to read them. You can even make up your own stories if you’re feeling creative!
The bottom line is that it’s important to keep your toddler physically active, even on those days when you can’t get outside. You can develop some fun games and activities with a little creativity to keep them entertained (and moving). And who knows? Maybe you’ll have so much fun that you want to join in on the action yourself.