What to do when it’s too cold to send the kids outside but you need to burn some energy? Get creative with some fun indoor games! The world will be watching the Olympics this month (games begin February 8 on NBC) so why not host your own indoor Olympics? If your family is anything like mine, they love fun, creative and competitive challenges. Best part – you can use toys and/or household supplies to create your own version of the Olympics right in your basement or playroom.
Yep, you can turn relay races into an Olympic sport. You can do the traditional type, where you divide kids into two teams and have them run across the room, then run back and tag another’s hand before they take off and repeat. You can also do a spoon relay (a favorite in our house!) where the two teams have to carry an object on a spoon and pass it to the next person in line (instead of simply running and tagging a hand). You can put a plastic Easter egg on the spoon, load it up with a few Lego pieces or a soft ball and enjoy the giggles as the kids try to balance and hurry to pass the spoons off. If a child is playing solo, you can always set a timer and have your child race the clock.
Snowball Fight/ Toss
You don’t need snow on the ground outside to have a snowball fight. Kids can have fun with one inside, too. If you don’t have the actual indoor snowballs (yes, there is such a thing!), don’t worry – balled up socks work great! Create teams and let them loose or set up different containers – think laundry baskets, plastic buckets and toy bins — at various distances and have kids toss from designated points. Whoever gets the most in the containers, wins!
Set up 10 plastic pins and give kids two chances to knock down as many as they can. If you’ve got a toy set, make it new and exciting by setting up a “bowling lane” with painters tape on the floor. It won’t harm your tile or carpet, but the kids will get a kick out of bowling within the lines. If you don’t have a bowling set, no problem. Large plastic cups and a soft ball are a perfect DIY fix.
What better way to practice balance and give kids a challenge than having them walk a straight line? Simply put a jump rope or two on the floor or use that painters tape again to create a mixup of straight lines for them to walk. You can set a timer to see who can walk from one end to the other the fastest. Write times down on a chalkboard or piece of paper to make it exciting for all involved. The one with the quickest time – and least steps off the line – gets the gold!
This is a favorite in our house – the obstacle course. Set up a series of events for your kids to complete. Tailor the course to the space you have and the age of the child, then see who can do all obstacles in the fastest time. Look around at what you have available to use for potential obstacles. Some ideas include: plastic slides, tunnels, ball pits, mini trampoline and little basketball hoops. You can mix a variety of these items with exercises like jumping jacks or jumping rope to create a fun course. Get creative and watch the excitement on your kids’ faces as they try to race against time to be the fastest to complete the course.
To really bring the Olympic spirit alive, start off the games with the passing of a “torch”. You can easily make one out of a paper towel roll and construction paper. Play the Olympic theme song as the torch is passed, too. You can give out gold, silver and bronze medals (stickers work great!) after each event. Create a podium by using step stools or boxes of various heights for kids to stand on as you give them their medals (we’ve recycled trophies or race medals we’ve had on hand to share as awards).
Ask your kids for ideas, too. Challenge them to set up an obstacle course, have them arrange the bins for a snowball toss or let them set up the tight rope pattern. They might enjoy the planning part as much as the enjoy playing the games. At the end of the day, it’s all about having fun.