12 Indoor Activities for Kids
No matter what the weather, you can be sure that preschool children will always have plenty of energy to expend. It’s important, then, to have some ideas for indoor activities up your sleeve, so that you’re ready for those days when it’s too cold or wet to venture outside for very long.
The benefits of active play
As well as providing an outlet for all that pent-up energy, there are lots of other benefits to be gained from active play:
- It helps children to maintain physical fitness and a healthy weight, as well as developing balance, coordination, strength and flexibility
- It helps with the development of fine and gross motor skills
- It can alleviate stress and boost mental wellbeing
- It can provide an outlet for emotions and help reduce behavioural problems
Group indoor activities in particular can also help with the development of cooperative, social and communication skills.
12 Indoor Activities for Kids
1. Indoor obstacle course
Set up an obstacle course around the nursery, using mats, cushions, hoops, blocks and so on. Set tasks along the way, for example when they have gone over the blocks the children have to stop and throw a ball into a bucket, or when they reach the hoops they have to climb through them. If you want to add a competitive edge the children could be split into teams or timed individually.
2. Yoga and gymnastics
There may be practitioners in your area who could come to your nursery and run yoga or gymnastics sessions designed specifically for young children, or you could learn some basic moves and run your own sessions. This is best done with a smallish group, in a quiet space, on mats.
3. Musical statues/chairs
These two classic party indoor activities are always guaranteed to go down well with young children, but you could make them more interesting by putting together a playlist of really varied music (eg pop, classical, country, brass band, bhangra, samba etc) and encouraging the children to match their dancing to the different rhythms and moods.
4. Songs with actions
Get the children moving with some rousing action songs. There are plenty to choose from, for example ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’, ‘Sleeping Bunnies’, ‘Five Little Monkeys’ and, of course, ‘Hokey Cokey’. Why not make it part of your daily nursery routine and have a different action song for each day of the week?
5. Throwing games
There are plenty of throwing games that can be played safely inside, including tin can alley, skittles and beanbag toss. Just make sure that you’ve marked out the boundaries of the game clearly and no one is in the firing line.
6. Simon Says
Another classic game, Simon Says is a brilliant way of getting children moving. Have a list of commands to hand, so that you don’t have to think on the spot, and make sure that these involve lots of varied actions, eg dance moves, star jumps, hopping, pirouettes and so on.
7. Indoor hopscotch
Use colourful masking tape to mark out a hopscotch grid on the floor; if there’s enough space, you could even have two or more grids so that multiple children can play at the same time. Use beanbags to throw into the squares.
8. Balloon games
A packet of balloons can provide endless active fun indoors. Line the children up in teams and hold a balloon race, in which they pass the balloons to each other using their knees or elbows. Or simply play ‘Don’t touch the floor’, which involves keeping the balloons up in the air for as long as possible.
9. Fish flapping game
For this indoor activity you’ll need some fish shapes cut out of newspaper (20-30cm long) and some pieces of thick A4 card. Put the fish on the floor and line the children up behind them in teams. The children take it in turns to waft their fish along the floor to the other side of the room and back by flapping it with the card – it’s a race to see which team finishes first.
10. Movement chain
Get the children to stand in a circle and choose someone to go first. That child makes up a movement (eg a jump, or a pirouette), then their neighbour performs that movement and adds one of their own. The third child does both movements and adds another, and so on around the circle. The challenge is to see how much the children can remember and how long you can make your movement chain.
11. Actions and objects
For this game you’ll need to write down actions (eg ‘jump’, ‘hop’, ‘dance’) on pieces of paper and put them in one bowl, and objects (eg ‘door’, ‘window’, ‘chair’) in another bowl. You could use pictures as well as or instead of words. The children take it in turns to pick one piece of paper from each bowl and then perform the action to reach the object (eg ‘hop’ to the ‘door’).
12. Animal charades
Write down a list of animals and whisper one to each child in turn. They then have to move about like that animal and the other children have to guess what it is.
Do you have any other indoor activities for kids that you have found work indoors? Let us know!