Bringing the Playgrounds Indoors!

This week it was -17 Celsius in Toronto. I don’t know about you but I don’t do playgrounds when the temperature drops that low! So what kind of play can we do indoors that encourages the same kind of active, problem-solving, confidence-building, creative play? We’ve got a few ideas for you!

  • If you have an open hallway create a bowling alley.  This is a great activity for children of all ages. You don’t need to have an actual bowling set to do this. Maybe you have a few rolls of paper towels that you can use as pins and a soccer ball. When playing with toddlers they might act as the ball, crawling down the hallway and knocking down the tower you made! Through this active play you can also model action words such as “crash”, “roll”, “throw”, “stack” for early language learners. You can play with the aim of knocking down the pins or maybe you change up the rules and build a bridge with the goal of trying to get the ball through the bridge without knocking it down. When playing with older children you can get them involved in making the rules and building the ‘pin’ structure.
  • Indoor obstacle courses. These can be great for toddlers, pre-schoolers and older children. Grab your pillows, couch cushions, chairs, boxes, pool noodles, etc. and make an obstacle course for your child to move through. They will get a great dose of physical activity, and you can even incorporate some pretend play into the game. Your child could move through the obstacle course as a snake, slithering on his tummy, or he might move through the obstacle course as a bunny. Be creative! Obstacle courses are also a great way to work on developing your child’s action word vocabulary (e.g. over the pillow, under the chair, jump up high, slither on your tummy etc.)
  • Of course building tents and forts is a great activity for children of all ages. Check out our post on why building tents and forts can be so great for development here.
  • With preschool and school aged children, get your masking tape out and use it to ‘draw’ a town in your living space – complete with roads, maybe some shops, a pond or even a hockey rink! As you build the town be sure to move around the space. Build roads that move under the dining chairs, up and over the sofa. We want to build a city that would require your child to move around the room and explore it from a variety of angles. You can also go on a hunt around the house to find items to ‘fill in’ around the tape creation you made. Maybe find a couple of shoe boxes and build some bleachers for your hockey rink, or grab a stuffed bear who might act as a crossing guard at the school crossing. The possibilities are endless!

What have you been doing indoors to keep active when the weather doesn’t permit outdoor play?

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