I have never appreciated cold weather. I grew up in northern Minnesota and even lived through the coldest winter in the state record books. I remember tossing cups of water into the air as a teenager and watching the droplets freeze mid-air. I was fascinated and aghast all at the same time. I still live in a cold climate, but the reasons why escape me.
I am capable of spending time outside in frigid temperatures, but I prefer not to. My children share my aversion for cold weather. We are forecast to hit temperatures of almost -30 degrees this weekend, so you can be confident our family will be hanging out in the house.
We will certainly spend some time drinking hot chocolate and watching Netflix, but too much sedentary time will make us restless and cranky. Sprinkled in with the board games, books, and naps, my children will do active things. Because otherwise, we fight.
Todd and I provide a variety of options for everyone in the family to do, even the parents and resident teenager. All of us can be silly in the name of being a little more active. Especially when we are having fun together. Here are our favorite ways to get everyone off the couch when they are stuck inside:
Active video games.
We do not play a lot of video games, but we do have a Nintendo Wii. Virtually all of our Wii games require players to be up on their feet playing sports or dancing. Our public library also has a small selection of Wii games available for checkout. The Wii is a nice compromise for kids who want screen time and a mom who wants everyone to get a little more movement.
Indoor snowball fights.
Normally, projectile objects in the house are strictly forbidden. We have one exception to the rule, though: throw balls. I made them way back in my daycare days and they are virtually indestructible. Their design makes it very difficult to hurt anyone or anything with them when they fly around the house.
To make a throw ball, wind yarn around your hand 20-30 times. Carefully remove the yarn from your hand (keep the loops in place) and cinch it all tight with a zip tie. Trim the zip tie close to the fastener. Clip the yarn loops free. Shake it out and you are ready to go.
A mini trampoline.
This is our family’s second trampoline. The first one was purchased when one of our children was a toddler and would not stop jumping on the furniture. After several years of use, that trampoline finally bit the dust. This one is sturdier and can withstand use by small children and teenagers.
The trampoline is strategically located in the same room as the Wii. Anytime a kid is waiting their turn to play and it is taking “absolutely, totally forever, mom,” they can jump for a while. It helps reduce bickering.
A hoppity ball.
These devices seem to only be useful for kiddos early elementary-aged and younger. I tried to find a ball that teenagers could bounce on, too, but was unsuccessful. It is small enough to store in a closet and is designed to be used in a house without being dangerous.
Jocelyn uses her hoppity ball almost daily. She happily bounces back and forth in the hallway for a ridiculous amount of time. And when she is done, she is pretty much always in a good mood.
A plasma car.
This little device is usually an outside toy at our house, but it can be used safely indoors as long as no one rides it near stairs. The design of the car makes it difficult to race around the house at breakneck speed, so I do not have to worry about head injuries or broken furniture when the fun is over.
The plasma car is a toy that can be ridden by older children and teenagers without worry of breaking it. In the summer, Todd and I have been known to amuse our neighbors by riding it up and down the sidewalk in front of our house.
Active board games.
We have several games that require movement to play. They are mostly designed for the preschool/young elementary crowd, but when the mood strikes, our older girls will play along, too. Examples include: Twister, I Can Do That!, and Melissa & Doug’s Block Balancing Game.
Sometime soon, I hope to purchase an indoor trapeze bar and an indoor swing. Both hang in door frames. If we successfully add them to our repertoire of indoor fun, I will be sure to report about it in another post.
How do you keep kids active and entertained when they cannot play outside? Let me know in an email or comment below!
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