If the idea of being cooped up with your kids for the next several months leaves you dreaming of warmer weather, you’re not alone. The winter months are notorious for inactivity and lots of indoor time.
But throw in additional COVID-19 restrictions, and kids of all ages are facing a long, slow season. Which means parents are staring down what’s sure to be the longest winter in recorded memory and trying to prepare for the onslaught of pent-up energy that could wreak havoc inside their home.
The good news? You can find a variety of toys for active indoor play to keep toddlers, elementary school aged kids, tweens, and teens engaged, entertained, and excited for hours. So don’t panic just yet.
Daily activity is essential for kids of all ages. Physical activity and exercise help kids increase aerobic fitness, lower body fat, strengthen bones and muscles, boost mood, and improve cognition.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for AmericansTrusted Source outline the following recommendations for ages 3 through 17 years.
Preschool aged children (ages 3 to 5 years)
Encourage physical activity and active play throughout the day that includes various activity types. Examples of physical activity include games such as tag, playing in the playground, walking, skipping, swimming, tricycle or bike riding, tumbling, or throwing games.
While there’s no specific guideline of how much time young kids should be active, it’s best to shoot for 3 hours of activity of varying intensity, spread throughout the day.
School aged children and adolescents
Elementary school aged children, tweens, and teens should get at least 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.
- aerobic or cardiovascular exercise like running or dancing for increasing heart rate
- muscle-strengthening activities such as lifting weights or climbing trees that target the major muscle groups
- bone-strengthening exercises that require weight-bearing activity like basketball, jumping rope, running or any other exercise that requires impact with the ground
Games such as tag, playground play, swimming, throwing, flag football, soccer, martial arts, dancing, tennis, and skiing are examples of physical activity appropriate for this age group.
To create this list, we asked parents which active toys their kids played with the most — especially when stuck indoors.
We also consulted a few kids and teens to get their take on the best indoor active toys for the winter. Surprisingly, they agreed on many of the same picks as the parents.
To round out the opinions, we looked at customer reviews and also considered input from several online sources like the American Academy of Pediatrics.
With that said, here are our top picks for the best indoor active toys for toddlers, elementary schoolers, tweens, and teens.