In New England, parents face the challenge of entertaining their children indoors during the cold winter months. Although many parents try to balance their children’s screen time, the inability or difficulty of spending time outdoors can make them feel like screen time is the only source of entertainment. The good news is that our pediatric physical therapists are here to help you with some fun ideas to get your kids moving inside and away from screens!
Play Hot Lava
Bring it back to your childhood by playing the imaginative game of Hot Lava. Set up pillows, couch cushions, stuffed animals, step stools, or anything safe to stand on for this fun and creative game that improves children’s problem solving, balance, and core strength. If you add in jumping, kids can improve their coordination and power. Incorporate your couch for extra climbing, strength training, and coordination.
Throw a Dance Party
We know there’s a song or soundtrack that your kids ask you to play on repeat! Whether it’s Baby Shark, KidzBop, or a Disney movie soundtrack, use that time to throw a fun dance party! Choose a room with fewer breakable items and turn off a few lights for a safe way to allow your child to burn off their energy. Add in cloth napkins, scarves, or dish towels for added coordination and laughter!
Depending on the layout of your home, using a soft bouncy ball indoors can be safe and fun play for the winter months. Playing catch in different areas of the house can encourage increased attention to a task for more mental energy, strengthening, coordination, and balance. Even changing your body’s position like kneeling or standing on one leg will still strengthen those abilities.
Take painter’s tape and tape a pattern on the floor. It can be as simple as a hopscotch pattern or various lines and Xs. Challenge your child with jumping in different patterns. They can crawl with hands on the lines and place their feet on the Xs to challenge their brain, arm strength, and core.
Create Car Ramps
If you’ve got boxes leftover from the holiday season, you can use them to create a “city” for your child’s cars to navigate around. Long tube-sized boxes can be used as large ramps to drive the cars down. Having your child collect and replace the cars helps teach responsibility with cleaning up while also encouraging squatting and negotiating obstacles of their new box city.
Physical therapy can help your child reach their greatest gross motor potential, assist with recovery from injury or surgery, and improve their quality of life. If you’re wondering if pediatric physical therapy would benefit your child, request a phone consult with the pediatric physical therapists at Highbar.