10 ways to keep your kids active indoors this winter
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Winter is in full swing, and if you’re anything like me, you live in a place where you’ve already had a chilly fall and will likely have a blustery spring. Although I do have an adoring love for the changing seasons, I also have three active children who are beginning to climb the walls and use my furniture as their own personal Olympic arena.
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Understanding that active play is necessary for children’s development and health, I began searching for toys that would provide my kids with the opportunity for robust playtime, while also preventing damage to my house—and most importantly that would offer enough fun that they would be fully engaged. To my surprise, I found 10 great options!
1. Outdoor fun, inside size
Made tough for long winters, the Little Tikes Jump N’ Slide Bouncer brings all the fun of an outdoor bounce house right into your very own home. Inflating in just one minute, the 12-by-9-foot bouncer and slide can accommodate children up to a combined weight of 250 pounds.
Designed with safety and durability in mind, the polyester, double-stitched bouncer offers safety netting, ground stakes (for use outdoors) and heavy duty blower complete with a GFCI outlet that immediately shuts off in the event of a faulty current. Bonus: It comes complete with a storage bag so you can put it away once it has completely exhausted the kids (#goals).
2. Movement activities delivered by mail
Kids get bored easily and when they do, it can be difficult to get them motivated. It’s a problem easily solved by Movement in a Box, a subscription service that will have kids waiting by the window for its quarterly delivery.
Created by two-time Olympic medalist Molly Schaus, Movement in a Box works to get little bodies and little brains moving by delivering screen-free, interactive, movement based games and activities directly to your door. Research based and designed by experts, each box contains age-appropriate movement items that can be used for 12+ activities, along with helpful tips that build upon each other.
Designed for ages 3 to 6 years old, the activities can be played independently or with the entire family involved. And because a new box that contains new items and activities arrives on a quarterly basis, kids don’t have time to get bored or stop moving before the fun starts all over again.
3. A toy to bounce the wiggles away
When energy is running high but space is limited, the Little Tikes Easy Store Trampoline is the go-to solution. Perfect for small people who need to burn off a lot of energy in a small space, the trampoline offers a folding handlebar so that when it’s not helping jumping beans up to 55 pounds get all their wiggles out, it can be easily tucked away for the next snowy day.
4. Fitness that is perfect for little bodies and developing brains
Montessori-inspired, the Pikler Triangle has a cult following among moms and it’s easy to see why. Encouraging motion, independent activity and the development of motor skills, the Montessori climbing sets also help kids burn a ton of energy indoors.
Phenomenally priced, the Montessori Climber set from WoodandHearts is an absolute must have for busy, growing little ones. CE- and CPC-certified, the climbing set is made of high-end, polished birch plywood, sustainable water-based paints and an environmentally friendly varnish. Arriving as three pieces—a Pikler triangle, a ramp with hand and foot holds and an arch—it is modular in its configuration and skill set requirements.
Available in two sizes for children eight months (with adult supervision) to 8 years old and up to 132 pounds, it’s designed to grow with your kiddo for years to come.
5. Is it a playground or a gym system? It’s both!
What better way to encourage large motor skill development during the winter than to bring the entire playground inside? It’s a concept brought to life with the Playzone Kidtrix Deluxe Doorway System, where space is never an issue because just one doorway offers a range of possibilities.
Fitting doorways 25 to 36 inches wide, the system includes a swing, rings, rope, ladder and trapeze, all hanging on a pair of silent carabiners so kids can have fun and parents can keep their sanity. Assembling in just minutes with all accessories swapping out in seconds, the system is designed for children ages 3 to 12, but can support up to 300 pounds. Certified to ASTM International Standard for home gym equipment, the system doubles as a pull-up bar for both kids and their parents.
6. Fun for kids, healthy for hearts
Research shows that kids need cardiovascular exercise, but that can be difficult to attain when the weather outside is keeping kids indoors. It’s a problem with an easy solution in the Little Tikes Pelican Explore and Fit Cycle—and it’s also incredibly fun.
Modeled to function like a child-sized stationary bike, kids have to pedal their way through high-energy videos that simulate being on a bike, snowboard or even a roller coaster. Made with a heavy duty steel adjustable frame, the bike can accommodate children 3 to 7 years old and up to 70 pounds. Complete with coil spring action and textured handle grips, the Pelican Explore and Fit Cycle also sports a motion tilting seat and Bluetooth speakers that adds to the immersive experience. In fact, the biggest problem might be getting your child to take a break!
The bike does require you to use your own tablet in the attached tablet holder, but the media content is free and easy to access.
7. The playground reinvented
If there’s one thing that kids love, it’s a slide, and you can count on the Little Tikes Easy Store Slide to never have a puddle of muddy water at the bottom when you set it up indoors. Tall, sturdy and designed for kids up to 50 pounds, the Little Tikes Easy Store Large Slide promises hours of fun before easily folding for space-saving storage.
8. A game that will have you watching where you step
Bring the creativity of outdoor play inside where it’s warm, with Edxeducational’s Step-A-Trail set. Containing six stepping logs and stumps of varying heights and colors, kids can create their own active path around your house. Whether they are leaping across a room or tiptoeing down the hall, the textured surface and non-slip base helps keep the play safe. And the added bonus of Step-A-Trail’s high 729-pound weight limit means that even Mom and Dad can join in on the fun.
9. A fitness playset designed for even the littlest of people
Babies and toddlers not only love to move and climb, but they need to for their development, and the FDP Softscape Playtime and Climb set is the absolute perfect set to encourage that. Consisting of six foam-filled blocks in varying sizes and colors, the set allows for multiple configurations to encourage climbing, sliding, rolling, jumping and soft, safe play. Covered in thick commercial upholstery grade polyurethane that is Greenguard Gold- and CertiPUR-US-certified, the blocks have textured, non-slip bases to help keep your little one safe—and entertained—all winter long.
10. A gaming system that will make your teens want to get off the couch
Getting kids—especially older kids—to shut off the video games and get moving is a struggle that many parents are familiar with. But now, kids don’t need to shut off the games to get their hearts pumping and their mu
scles activating because Plankpad, the world’s first app-supported total body trainer, combines video games with fitness, and the results are remarkable.
Designed to be controlled while holding yourself in the plank position, Plankpad streams directly to your phone, tablet or smart TV. Plankpad is the perfect blend of necessary fitness movements with unbelievable fun. But maybe most importantly, it saves parents the battle of having to constantly say “turn off the games” in order to get kids active.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.