Stuck Inside? 14 Indoor Activities for Kids that Burn Energy

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If you’re stuck inside due to the weather, sickness, or a global pandemic, and you’re in search of indoor activities for kids that burn energy, we’ve got 14 ideas to inspire you! These activities are easy to setup, and you probably already have most of the items you need to recreate them on hand. Some can be enjoyed as a family or amongst siblings, while others can be setup as independent activities, allowing you to catch up on work, household chores, or your favorite Netflix show.

14 Indoor Activities for Kids that Burn Energy

1. Alphabet workout
The first item on my list of indoor activities for kids was inspired by my daughter’s gym teacher. At the beginning of the 2020 pandemic when we were trying to get used to our new normal and our kids were climbing the walls, she created an ‘alphabet workout’ whereby she assigned different exercises to every letter of the alphabet. For example:

A: 5 leg lifts
B: 5-minute plank
C: 10 jumpking jacks
…you get the idea

Using her master list, we were able to create different workouts using different words, like our names, the city we live in, the day of the week, etc. It’s a fun way to switch things up, and you can make it as simple or challenging as you want!

2. Household chores
If you’re looking for indoor activities for kids, don’t be afraid to assign your little ones age-appropriate chores to get them moving and helping out around the house! Here are some ideas that involve movement and will (hopefully) help your little one shed some energy.

  • Cleaning table tops and windows
  • Dusting
  • Vacuuming
  • Mopping
  • Moving the laundry from the washer to the dryer
  • Carrying laundry/laundry baskets up and down the stairs
  • Emptying trash cans
  • Making beds

3. Stepping stones
I recently found this 11-piece stepping stone set for kids on Amazon, and it’s one of my new favorite balance activities for kids. Set them up in a row, or mix them up, and allow your child to jump, stretch, climb, and balance on them to help improve their coordination!

4. Fun with pillows
If you have a couch with big pillows, set them up on the floor and ask your child to turn them over as many times in a row as he or she can. You can also have him or her drag them from one end of your living room to the next and place a couple of toys on top along the way to see how long he or she can go without dropping them! Don’t have large couch pillows? No problem! Grab a couple from your bed and challenge your child to walk up and down the stairs while holding the pillows in his or her arms without holding the handrail.

5. Scooter boarding
Square scooters aren’t just fun – they also help create a ton of different indoor activities for kids that help develop gross motor skills. For example, you can have your child lay with his or her tummy on the scooter, and then ask him or her to navigate around your basement using only his or her feet while he or she picks up various objects off the ground with his or her hands. Another idea is to have your child sit cross-legged on the scooter and then move him- or herself around the room using a broom while singing, ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’! We’ve written an entire post on scooter boards with tons of fun scooter board activities for kids, which you can read HERE.

6. Hopscotch
There are so many ways you can switch up a good old game of hopscotch! Grab some painters tape and create a hopscotch on your living room or basement floor, and then have your child only jump on odd or even numbers, ask him or her to switch from jumping with 2 legs to one leg, instruct him or her to jump backwards and then forwards at different intervals, and yell out random numbers to keep your little one guessing and engaged.

7. Balance boarding
You can easily make a balance board on your own with a plank of wood and a piece of pipe, but if you’re like me and prefer to steer clear of DIY projects, this Alex Toys Balance Board is a great option. It’s a great balance activity for kids, and has the added benefit of helping little ones shed excess energy and return to a place of calm. It’s also compact and portable, and once your child masters how to balance on the board, you can find other ways to incorporate this into his or her play to help further improve his or her skills. For example, you may have your child balance on the board while playing a game of catch!

8. Spontaneous dance party
Sometimes a simple spur-of-the-moment dance party is all it takes to get your kids moving and help them burn off steam. Crank the tunes and encourage them to do silly movements, like shaking their head from side to side, jumping up and down, and hopping on one foot. We have Sonos speakers in all of the main areas of our home and stream music constantly, and when I catch my daughter getting irritable and rangy when we’re cooped up inside, I simply turn the volume up so we can get our wiggles out!

9. Fun with balloons
If you’re looking for indoor activities for kids, you will be amazed at how much fun balloons can be. Blow up a couple and let your younger kids hit them across the room, and if you have older children, grab a couple of fly swatters and challenge them to a game of balloon tennis!

10. Animal walks
Animal walks are another one of my favorite indoor activities for kids as you can make it as serious or silly as you want. Write a bunch of different animals on different pieces of paper, throw them into a hat, have your child choose one, and then have him or her walk across a hallway or open room while pretending to walk like the chosen animal. See how long it takes for you and the rest of the family to figure out what the animal is before giving someone else a turn!

11. Hula hooping competition
If you’re looking for cooperative indoor activities for kids, a fun idea is to challenge your children to a 5-minute hula hooping competition. Don’t be afraid to join in – it’s a great way to get your heart rate up and challenge your core!

12. Exercise ball fun
If you’re looking for activities to help your kids burn off energy, an exercise ball is a fabulous tool as you can do so many different things with it. Ask your child to lie on his or her tummy on the ball and sort objects from one container to another, have him or her sit on the ball and then lie backwards and reach their arms above their head to retrieve objects off of the floor, see how many times he or she can crawl over the ball, ask your child to give you a ‘massage’ by lying on the floor while he or she rolls the ball up and down your back, get him or her to push the ball up a flight of stairs…the possibilities really are endless!

13. Create an obstacle course
One of the challenges I have with setting up indoor activities for kids is that my daughter loses interest pretty quickly, which can be frustrating. A great strategy is to combine multiple ideas together into an obstacle course! You can do this in the basement, or split it up over 2 or 3 floors of your house, requiring your child to walk up and down the stairs. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy – as you’ve seen above, there are heaps of things you can do with masking tape and an exercise ball – and the more exciting you make it for your child, the more he or she will want to participate.

14. Stair scavenger hunt
We’ve written an entire post on indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts for kids, but if you’re looking for something quick and easy to organize when your little one is climbing the walls, write out a list of specific things for your little one to find that require some thought and attention. For example, your list could include the following:

  • Something that is pink
  • Something that is small
  • Something that makes me happy
  • Something I love
  • Something I do NOT love
  • Something I like to read
  • Something to draw with
  • Something to cook with
  • Something hard
  • Something soft
  • Something I use for school
  • Something I use when I’m crafting
  • Something my brother/sister/mom/dad loves

If you’re stuck inside and your littles ones are climbing the walls, I hope this collection of indoor activities for kids inspires you to find new and exciting ways to keep them entertained while simultaneously burning off some energy!

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Gwen is a 40-something freelance writer and social media consultant who has an unhealthy love for makeup, hair, and fashion. She lives with her husband and 9-year-old daughter in Toronto, Canada and hopes to move to a warmer climate someday. Preferably tomorrow.