Kids stuck to screens all day? Get them to move their bodies with these toys that promote physical activity – right inside the home!
Finally, 2020 came to an end! We’re well into 2021, but the pandemic is still here and everyone is still stuck indoors, especially kids. Even though most businesses have opened up, schools are still shut in most parts of the country, and kids are completing near one year of being home and of virtual learning.
At the beginning, most kids were happy – no more waking up early and getting ready for the bus! But as time wore on, they began missing their friends and longed to go to school. There’s another thing they’re missing out on that they probably don’t realize – physical activity.
Physical activity has been so lacking in kids since the pandemic began that experts are worried that we have another epidemic on the way – obesity. The increased amount of screen time, the snacking all day and the complete lack of physical activity is putting our children at risk of this serious illness.
And it’s not just obesity; physical activity helps young children develop fine motor skills, strengthens bones and muscles, improves focus and confidence, reduces stress and improves sleep. It also sets the stage for an active lifestyle in the future. The CDC and American Heart Association recommends that kids get at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity and at least on hour of unstructured physical play. It also suggests that children don’t stay inactive for more than 60 minutes at a stretch.
When kids go to school, they naturally achieve this during class hours, PT class and lunch breaks. They’re constantly on the move and playing around with their friends. However, since they’re home all day, we need to consciously make an effort to get them to move their bodies throughout the day.
Since play is the best way to get kids to move and to learn, we’ve rounded up 30 of the best kids toys that promote physical activity indoors. So even if the playground is out of bounds or if you live in an apartment complex, you can still ensure that kids get enough movement to keep them healthy and happy.
30 Kids Toys that promote Physical Activity at Home
This bean bag toss game combines the benefits of playing catch and throwing darts. It improves focus, concentration as well as hand-eye coordination. You can make it more challenging by getting kids to stand farther or to throw with their non-dominant hand.
Kids want to play football but there’s no space? No problem, this swing ball set solves the problem perfectly! The ball is attached and you can use it practically anywhere. It builds coordination, strengthens legs and is loads of fun to play alone or with a sibling.
Along with football, another fun game to play at home is basketball, and if you thought it could only be played on a court, think again! This adjustable basketball stand is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers and you can increase the height as the child grows. Great for target practice, improving coordination and also makes a great bonding activity for the whole family!
What can be more fun than a trampoline! While it requires a slightly larger room or hall area, this is a great way for kids to move their body, and if you have some space outside, even better. Just be sure to be safe and not let too young kids jump on it. You can also disassemble it and put it away when not in use.
5. Hula Hoop
Sometimes the classics are the best – like a hula hoop! This is suitable for older kids. Show them videos of how to hula hoop (if you don’t know yourself) and let them practice. Be ready for lots and lots of laughter as everyone tries to keep the hoop from falling to the floor!
Balance is an important skill that needs to be practiced and helps people of all ages, from babies to senior citizens. Having good balance improves strength and prevents falls. This toy is excellent to help kids practice their balance and the best part is that it’s made ow wood!
This is a favorite with kids and is usually played during picnics, but you can use it at home as well. You can get as active with this game as you like, moving about and throwing the ball as far as it’ll go. The only issue with this is that it cannot be played alone – although Mom or Dad can join in.
8. Ring Toss
Missing fairs and melas and all the fun games they have there? Don’t worry, they’ll all be back soon, and in the meantime, we can always play ring toss at home! This is a good toy to develop concentration, hand eye coordination and also strengthens gross motor muscles.
This is a fun toy for the whole family to play with, no matter what your age! The bowling set is easy to clean and maintain and is light so no one gets hurt if it gets flung around accidentally. It’s also a good toy for developing coordination and motor skills.
10. Stepping Stones
Remember how we used to pretend the floor was lava and avoided stepping in it? Now it becomes more fun with these stepping stones, which are also anti-skid for safety! It’s a race, a balancing game, a counting game and much more rolled into one. Great to learn and play at the same time!
11. Punching Bag
If your kids are a little older and have lots of energy to vent out, get them this punching bag set. It’s a great way to really get their bodies moving and also helps ease the aggression and anxiety of being indoors all day. Who knows, the next Mary Kom may be from your home!
12. Play Tunnel
We can’t go to amusement parks right now, but this play tunnel offers some solace for now. Babies and toddlers will enjoy crawling through this, in and out again and again! You can also combine multiple tunnels if you have enough space, or make it part of an obstacle course.
13. Activity Cones
Have you seen sportspeople practicing with these activity cones? The best part about these is that they’re so open-ended. You can do practically anything with them. Create winding courses to run around, or use them as hurdles to jump over – you can also try to balance them on each hand.
How about doing some yoga with Peppa? Yoga is an excellent way for kids to move their body during this time as it is both relaxing and strengthening. It’ll help kids get a good stretch and ease their anxiety in the process. It also helps improve balance, hand-eye coordination and strength.
15. Kids Yoga Cards
So you’ve got a yoga mat – but how do you actually do the poses? That’s where this cute card set comes into the picture! Each card has an illustration of a yoga pose and instructions on how to do it. It’s in a good, child-friendly format and large enough so even little kids can give it a go.
This classic game makes a comeback during the pandemic as more kids are stuck indoors! With a huge mat covered with colored spots, kids will have a whale of a time where they bend and twist in different directions according to the instructions. Be ready with a camera for lots of falling down and laughing!
You know how kids like a cardboard box to play with? That’s because the box can turn into anything they want it to be. The same can be said about this tumbling mat, which can be a tent, a tunnel, a play mat or anything you please. It can also be folded and put away easily so you don’t have to worry about the size.
18. Riding Horse
This riding horse is very popular across the globe, simply because of its unique shape. Kids can ride on the horse holding on to the ears in a bouncing motion which is a good activity in itself to strengthen their leg muscles. It can also be turned into a rocking horse when you want, or a ride-on.
19. Hopping Ball
These hopping balls are probably the cheapest and easiest way to get a kid to move around! They’re like gym balls but with handles to hold on to while bouncing. Kids will need some area of free space to bounce around, or at least some space like a porch outside the house. Perfect for letting out lots of energy and really getting out of breath.
20. Yoga Spinner
If kids think yoga is boring but you’d really like them to get the benefits of yoga, try this Yoga spinner game. You need to hold a yoga pose for 10 seconds to win a card. Making it into a game format will really challenge kids and is great to play with the whole family – grandparents included!
21. Sit n Spin Toy
Playskool is known for many toddler-friendly toys, and this is one of them. It’s a fun toy where a child sits on the base and spins – as fast or as slow as they like! It’s great to build coordination and really gets them to move all muscles of their bodies, in ways they may otherwise not.
22. Pogo Jumper
If you’ve got a little bouncy one at home who’s literally bouncing off the walls, get her this pogo stick jumper! This one is sure to let off lots of energy as kids go jumping on it. And don’t worry, it’s safe enough for kids above the age of three, and also gets some good exercise for the large muscles of the arms and legs while also developing balance.
23. Musical Mat
Why not combine music with exercise with the help of this musical mat? Shaped like a combination of a piano and a drum set, you can play with this standing up or sitting down, although standing would involve more physical activity. Even little babies will enjoy this toy, by patting different parts of the mat to hear different sounds.
24. T-Ball Set
Think your kiddo is too young to use a bat? Not with this T-ball set! Even toddlers can have fun with this by swinging the bat as much as they like, and is great for developing hand eye coordination as they try to hit the ball. The best part is that the entire toy can be put away neatly when not in use.
25. Hopscotch Mat
Who didn’t enjoy playing hopscotch as a child? Recreate that magic in your home with this hopscotch mat that has numbers and colors on it. Great for early learning for preschoolers, as well as to get them to jump around. The set also includes the pieces to throw on the ground.
Every child wants to be grown up, and walking on these stilts will give them the impression that they’re now ‘big’! These steppers are good for kids who are old enough to walk and run confidently and you can adjust the rope according to the child’s height. With these, no one will want to sit down anymore!
Kids can’t make it to the playground these days, but they can still get a feel of the monkey bars with this wooden rope! Hang it up from a sturdy spot and don’t worry about kids falling – the rope can take a weight of up to 60 kg.
28. Juggling Toy
Juggling is an excellent way to develop concentration and hand eye coordination, and this toy is a good starter for real juggling. Kids can practice focusing deeply and also encourages visual-spatial reasoning. And of course, it’s lots of fun as well!
This is a toy that’s become quite popular these days, especially since kids can’t go out to play football. Try out the hoverball instead, which also lights up and offers up some safe fun that you can have indoors.
30. Yoga Barbie
Now this is a toy that doesn’t really need physical activity to play with, but it does encourage kids to move their bodies. The Barbie is completely bendable and can be made to do many yoga poses. This is a great toy to go with a yoga mat or the yoga cards as kids can try out the poses on the doll first.
Along with these toys, there are a few other things you can do to ensure that kids stay active:
- Put on some music and let them dance
- Let them do chores like sweeping or setting the table
- If you have a garden, let the kids join you in weeding, sowing or watering
- Plan a scavenger hunt where they have to go all around the house looking for things
- When watching TV, get them to do some activity whenever an ad comes on