“Mom, I’m bored!”
A refrain every parent hates to hear. What to do with kids during the cold winter days, especially those long snow days when the kids are home from school? The obvious choices are board and card games, cooking and baking projects, as well as arts and crafts, but these activities don’t encourage physical fitness and definitely don’t help get the wiggles out. Fitness cards or yoga cards are a great way to do family workouts. Fitness games such as those for Nintendo Wii can be useful, too. But, simple low-tech games are often the best boredom busters and promote family bonding in a way nothing else can. And, we here at Picniic know that what parents really want are ideas to tire out the kids and make them ready for sleep sooner (wink, wink). So, here are some great indoor and active things to do with your kids during winter holidays and snow days from school.
Simon Says or Follow the Leader
These classic movement games are great for little ones. The adult or teen sibling is designated as “Simon” or the leader and calls out various movements for children to follow. Choose movements such as “5 jumping-jacks” or “run in place for 30 seconds” rather than the typical “touch your nose”. You can even incorporate yoga movements. With a little planning and a list of effective movements, this can be a great fitness challenge. Grab a deck of fitness cards or yoga cards for ease of play.
Balloon Volleyball or Floor Tennis or Badminiature
Create a “net” by placing two chairs across from each other and stretching a string or some lightweight fabric between them. Using your hands, bat a balloon back-and-forth over the net. You can use some of the traditional volleyball rules, or simply count the number of completed volleys. You can even tape out a ping-pong sized rectangle and use ping-pong paddles or rulers for striking the “ball”.
Put an empty trash can or other container against a wall. Choose containers that are tall and narrow rather than short and wide. Take turns tossing beanbags or rolled up socks into the container, using the wall as a backboard. Create a free-throw line and a three-point line with painter’s tape if you wish.
Tape out or use a rug to designate an area (preferably a circle) between 6 and 10 feet in diameter. Place an empty milk/juice carton in the middle of the designated area. One player acts as pin guard and stands near the carton. All other players stand outside the designated area and simultaneously try to knock over the carton with soft Nerf balls or rolled up socks. Whoever succeeds in knocking over the carton becomes the next pin guard. If the guard accidentally knocks over the carton himself, he chooses the next pin guard.
Use a blanket or sheet in the same manner as a children’s parachute. Players stand around the blanket/sheet equidistantly and together toss a ball or rolled up sock into the air. Count how many times the ball is caught. Can you hit the ceiling with the ball?
Fox and Rabbit
This game is best with four more people. All players sit in a circle and begin to pass around one soft object, the “rabbit”. Soon, a designated player starts to pass a second soft object, the “fox”. When the “fox” and “rabbit” meet, the round ends. You can assign points if you wish – one point to the player whose hands the “fox” and “rabbit” met in. Play for a designated number of rounds. Lowest score wins.
Tug of War
Use a large area in the home or a long hallway. Twist an old sheet into a “rope”. Choose teams of similar strength to man each end of the “rope”. Create a dividing line and try to pull the opposing team across the line.
Cops and Robbers
Divide into two teams and arm each person with a marshmallow gun or soft shooter. Designate a “jail” and place an egg-timer or other timer there. If players are shot, they must go to “jail” for an agreed upon amount of time. The team who puts all of their opponents in “jail” together, wins.
This is a variation on the classic game of tag. It is best played with 6 or more people. One person is chosen to be “it”. When “it” tags someone, that person holds hands and joins “it”, thus forming a “blob”. When they tag a third person, that person also holds hands to form a larger “blob”. When a fourth person is tagged, the “blob” splits in half and becomes two “blobs” who continue gathering players. The last person left out of the “blobs” becomes the new “it” and play can begin again
One person holds the end of a jump rope or string of similar length and drags it along the floor. Other players try to catch the free end of the rope with their hands. The “snake” must not be stepped on. The player who catches the rope becomes the new snake handler.
Making a plan helps you to be ready for action and ensures that you get these activities done. Add them to your Picniic calendar so everyone knows when the fun will begin and “appear” spontaneous when you show up with that marshmallow gun!
Make a list now to refer to as you shop and over time gather some things to help you out with facilitating indoor fitness games.
All of the above games promote fitness but are also great bonding activities. Instead of sitting isolated in front of the television or hunched over electronic devices, get up and get laughing. Do not take these games too seriously. Be silly and light-hearted. Have fun! It is likely that the silliness such as these games promote will be remembered fondly by your kids in years to come.
Have little kids or sensitive, non-competitive kids? Don’t enforce too many rules and don’t use points, winners, or losers. The goal is to have fun, not to be stressed.
Have a stubborn teen that doesn’t want to play? Invite one of their friends over and ambush them with a marshmallow gun. You may find the stubbornness to melt away pretty quickly.
Have fun trying these games and let us know how they go. Post pictures or videos on our Facebook page
Have a great time this winter bonding with your family and keeping active indoors! Happy Holidays 🙂