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Cold weather have you feeling a little stir crazy?

Do your kids look like this in the winter because they can’t go outside to play?

Try some of these indoor activities with your kiddos!

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No worries, don’t feel blue, here are some fun indoor activities just for you!

By creating an indoor obstacle course, you can help your child gain strength and coordination, improve their motor planning, and develop many necessary gross motor skills. There is nothing better than crawling, jumping, and mapping out the next move to help build the skills your child needs to grow strong. You can use just about anything you have in your house to make an obstacle course including: hula hoops, chairs, couch cushions, jump ropes, paper,  balls, bean bags, masking tape, scarves, pool noodles etc.  Some activities you can incorporate into you course can include: dribbling a ball, tossing bean bags into a basket (a trash can), jumping jacks, crawling under chairs, walking on zig zag lines made with masking tape, frog jumps, and hopping on one or two feet from one piece of paper to another.  Be creative!

Example course:

1. Crawl under or over a row of chairs.

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2. Crawl under a string stretched between two chair legs.

3. Jump into and out of a hula hoop five times.

4. Walk on a row of couch cushions.

5. Throw a beanbag into a basket.

6. Walk while balancing a beanbag on your head.

7. Dribble a tennis ball (or any ball) as many times in a row as you can.

8. Play one hole of Newspaper Golf (roll up a wad of newspaper, hit it with a pool noodle into a basket).

9. Do 10 frog jumps.

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10. Somersault from one point to another.

11. Throw a scarf into the air 10 times and catch it.

12. Skip in place while reciting a jump rope rhyme or the ABC’s.

13. Do ten jumping jacks.

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How about bringing some beach fun indoors? If you have a summer beach ball or a light foam ball, you can introduce your child to Stair Beach Ball.  With this activity safety comes first; therefore, set up must be at the BOTTOM of a flight of stairs.  Then your child can hit the beach ball up the flight of stairs and watch it bounce back to them over and over.  This activity will serve for endless fun, and help your child improve his/her hand-eye coordination.

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Oh the magic of balloons!  They are so simple but there are so many things you can do with them (not to mention they are cheap and easily replaced).  Some indoor balloon ideas include the game of: “don’t let the balloon touch the floor” and balloon relay races.  To add some variety to the old favorite of “don’t let the balloon touch the floor” you can have your child play in different positions or standing on different dynamic surfaces.  For example: remove the couch cushions and have your child stand on the cushion and hit the balloon back and forth, tall kneeling (kneeling without their bottom touching their feet), or crab walking position while hitting the balloon.  With relay races you can have a child: walk with the balloon between their knees, hit the balloon between partners across the room, walk with the balloon between partners across the room, or keep the ball in the air.

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Finally, masking tape.  Believe it or not, there are many of uses for this common household product.  You can use it to make a target on the ground for kids to throw bean bags.  Kids can long jump and see if they can set new records every time they jump.  An all time favorite game is the limbo.  You can hang a piece of tape between two chairs or in the hallway and play some fun music and limbo the day away.  Hopscotch courses can be made on the carpet without fear of ruining the flooring.  Finally, hanging the tape between walls, you can create a “James Bond-esk” 3D-maze!  With this maze, the kids have to crawl over, under, and through without breaking the tape.  You can add more or less tape to adjust for difficulty level, and you can also create a story to go along with the activity pending your child’s interest.  For example, if your child likes superheroes (Batman in particular), you can tell him/her that they need to go through the maze to get into the Bat Cave.  These activities work to make your child stronger and help to develop necessary gross motor skills they will need as they mature.

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Here are a few great sites to check out with other fun ideas: http://mumoftwinsatoddlerandateenager.blogspot.com/2013/01/pool-noodle-indoor-obstacle-course.html http://www.mommy-labs.com/creative-kids/nurture_culture/indoor-obstacle-course-value-of-big-body-play-for-kids/ 

Katie Collin, PT, DPT

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