Playing outside all year round is the ideal situation for kids. The combination of exercise, fresh air, and sunlight improves mood and concentration, while aiding your kids’ healthy physical development in the long term and building healthy habits. Of course, that’s not always an option.
Currently, much of the US is experiencing incredibly low temperatures, and going outside to play isn’t just unappealing, it can be dangerous. To keep kids as active as possible during these times, it’s important to create a safe and fun indoor play space for them to use. That means making sure they have the equipment, space, and opportunity for active play in the house.
Designating a Space
Playing in cramped spaces isn’t enjoyable or safe, so it’s important to set aside enough room to act as a play space. A dedicated playroom, or part of a room that’s clear of any furniture works very well. The key is that kids can freely move around and play without having to walk on eggshells to keep themselves safe, and the room intact.
Getting the right play equipment
The type of equipment you can use depends on the amount of space you have, but there are a few things that are particularly well suited to indoor play. These may include...
An Indoor Swing
Whether it’s a regular indoor swing, or an omnidirectional web swing, any kind of ceiling-mounted toy is a great indoor option. When it’s not in use it can easily be removed or raised, freeing up the floor space below it for other activities. Additionally, swings are very versatile. They offer great exercise, but also make comfortable hammocks for when your kids are more in the mood to rest.
Climbing is an excellent way to build upper body strength, and doesn’t require a lot of space. The type of climbing toys or equipment that may be appropriate for your kids varies by their age and ability, but all children are natural born climbers and can benefit.
Balance, Jumping, or Bouncing
Younger kids in particular might enjoy balancing and jumping toys like mini trampolines or balance stones. These kinds of toys are excellent for building leg and ankle strength, and for developing fine motor control and balance.
Many families do a great job of building a beautiful play space, but a great playroom won’t do any good if no one ever uses it. If playtime usually means taking your kids out to a playground or a park, then it’s very easy to forget or become complacent when everyone is just at home. To make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s important to explicitly work playtime into your kids’ schedules, and to help teach them to give play and exercise the sense of priority that it deserves.