Friday, 29 March 2013

Indoor active play

Preschool children need at least three hours of physical activity every day.

We know this - we can see the benefits.  They need to release energy and they need time to learn and perfect gross motor skills such as jumping; these are just two of the benefits.

They usually sleep better!

However, when it is as cold/snowy/wet as it has been these past few weeks, it isn't always easy to get them out and about for that long every day.

Additionally, soft play centres, bowling, and other indoor activites can be fun but are often busy and can be very expensive when you factor in drink, and more than one child

My children are quite happy to don puddle/snow suits and wellies and jump in puddles or build snowmen or just run around outside.

But not for three hours.

The temperature has a big impact on their ability to stay outdoors for long periods. 

After 30 minutes or so, they are usually ready for a pit stop.

Then what?

It is at times like this that I really miss my garden!

It is so much easier to usher them outside when you have your own space.  They can come and go as they please whilst you look on from the warmth of the house.

Alas, we do not have a garden at present.

Nor do we have a particularly large living space.  Not big enough for the children to use their bikes and scooters effectively, though they have tried!

However, we have found some fun ways of incorporating active play into our indoor play sessions.

One of Jasmine and Sonny's favourites is bouncing.

I simply bring out an old camping mattress and they jump around on it.

It burns off a lot of energy!

They often use it for practising forward rolls, as well.

Jasmine has always liked to perform gymnastic shows for us!

Another fun thing to do is dancing.

Whether it be to kiddy action songs or the local radio station, dancing is something we can all do together.  Simple, free, active fun.

Jasmine and Sonny also like to play hide and seek together.  With limited inside space, this game doesn't usually last for long, however.

Indoor skittles is a good use of the hall space.  Plastic sets can be bought cheaply, or you could make your own using kitchen roll inner tubes and knock them down with balled socks.

Other things we enjoy include rolling, throwing, catching and balancing using small soft balls and beanbags, washing the floors (amazing how much fun the kids think this is!), constructing small circuits or assault courses, popping bubbles, crawling through homemade cardboard box tunnels and skipping.

How do you encourage active play indoors when the weather is horrid?  Have we missed anything?


  1. Those are some brilliant ideas for things to do around the house, I especially like the bowling in the hallway. We have a plastic skittles set but I've only used it in the garden in the summer. My two like making a slide from a removable plastic children's table top propped against the side of the bed, they love it but it's a bit hazardous!

    1. I think there's so much more scope when you have a garden - we only had a small one at our previous address, but I still really miss it. The homemade slide sounds great fun! When my sisters and I were small, we used to prop up one of our mattresses against a chest of drawers and slide down that. I still remember how much fun that was almost 20 years on, but it can't have been too safe :)