Most games of today’s generation are played with a tap or a click at a time. Make them stand-up and move around with these amazing active indoor games! Our guest blogger, Ruth Mendez, is a working mom with lovely twins. She and her family enjoy yoga during weekends, aside from going to the movies and eating ice cream at home. Ruth loves Dubai and works as a Community Manager for Afterschool.ae, the leading web and mobile-based after school activity platform for kids and moms in UAE.
Sometimes, it’s still a little odd and a bit sad to see little kids playing on iPads and tablets all day instead of playing outside. Unfortunately, this is becoming a trend especially in Western countries; where technology has been a close companion of kids from early years until they grow up.
There is an array of child-friendly apps and games specifically designed to help parents in raising their kids, though you might want to think again before “downloading” an “automated parenting program”. Kids are naturally energetic for a reason: they should move a lot to stretch those developing muscles. But if they continue to stick to their devices, it’s been proven that excessive playing in game consoles, internet, and movies can disrupt their sleep, diet, and exercise habits.
That’s why it’s still best to maintain a balanced playtime activity assortment. I’ve looked around and came up with 10 amazing active indoor activities that will keep the kids moving:
Turn up the volume and play a song your kids love. An upbeat song is even better since it will pump everyone up. While the music is playing, ask the kids to dance. You will have to pause or stop the song in between short intervals, and they will have to freeze. Whether their arms are held up, or their legs are raised, it’s going to be a challenge for them to hold and stay still. When we do this at home, I give the kids a reward: whoever holds up the best after a number of pauses (with no squinting or flinching) gets to pick where we eat for dinner.
As cliché and simple as this game is, hide-and-seek is one of the classics. Put more pressure in the game by counting only up to 5. Make sure to secure any fragile items in your house before you let the kids run around!
Who would’ve thought a staple household chore can be a great activity to get the kids going? When I cook up something in my kitchen, the twins will always come snooping around, so it occurred to me: “why not let them help?” Choose a simple dish or recipe, then give them simple chores like preparing the ingredients, measuring proportions, pouring in the water, or tasting your dish. Ever since I got them involved, weekend kitchen sessions is something all of us look forward to.
4. Indoor bowling
Six plastic bottles and a small ball is all it takes to set-up a mini bowling alley at home. If not, there should be plenty of available bowling sets for kids in your friendly toy store. Cook-up some fries and milkshake while your kids are at it. If you want to go the extra mile in providing an authentic bowling experience at home, try printing out score sheets so you can see who is doing more strikes and spares!
5. Making Science experiments
And since we’re talking about bowling already, try asking your kids if a bowling ball floats or sinks in water. Mount an experiment to find out the results, and surprise your kids with the outcome. Making science activities at home stimulates children’s critical thinking and curiosity, plus lifting those bowling balls puts those muscles at work!
6. Treasure hunt
Whether you live in a big house or a not-so-big apartment, setting up a treasure hunt will get the kids excited. Make sure to hide a worthy reward for them. Leave as many clues as you want and get creative. You can even make it run for as long as a week if your kids are up for it. Last year, I mounted a Christmas treasure hunt that lasted over a week. One of my twins was very thrilled when she saw an iPod as the treasure. Though in hindsight, I wouldn’t do that again, because I had to give another iPod to my other child. LOL!
7. Colour walk
Okay, so this next activity might be a punishment of some sorts, but we enjoyed this when we tried it at home once. Ask your kids to gather different colours of construction paper. Randomly lay them apart from each other around the house, making a trail throughout and making sure not to put the same colours next to each other. Don’t forget to use a tape to secure them. Then, assign certain colours for certain days. Only these colours (for example, green and red) can be stepped-on. Whoever was found to be cheating are in for a consequence. Both fun and thrilling, I’d say!
8. I Packed My Bag
So, while this activity might not require physical movement, it sure does require concentration and sharp memory. Determine who will go first, then start by saying “I packed my bag and in it I put a/an______” Like, they can say “I packed my bag and in it I put a sock”. The next player will have to add an item. As players take turn, they should recite all the previous things stuffed in the “bag” and add another one. The longer the thread of items, the harder it is to recite! The player who misses out an item, or doesn’t say the correct order loses.
9. Race games
Compete with your kids in various race games you can do at home, with a twist! Make teams of two with one team member lying by their belly and the other lifting their team mate by the feet in a wheelbarrow race. If you’re feeling extra competitive, don’t team up at all and play crab race: do a reverse on-all-fours—instead of facing down on the ground, you face up. Let the race begin!
10. Nintendo Wii games
If you own a game console at home, you might consider buying a game that requires your little ones to move around. There are plenty of cool games that virtually create missions and situations that require actual player movements. It could be tennis, dancing, skiing, or boxing (which might be violent for moms, but cool for some), among many games to choose from. It’s the closest active play that kids can do while using gears and devices.
While I don’t condemn today’s technology in accompanying kids while growing-up (in fact I have a YouTube account that I let my kids use to watch Hi5), failing to discipline their device use might put them in hot water. There are various ways to keep them safe online, you just have to be diligent enough in safeguarding your kids.