kids, Parenting, Uncategorized

Top 5 at Home Indoor Activities for Kids

If you’re anything like me, winter can make it hard to stay active, especially for the little ones! The days of playing on the playground, running outside, and riding your bike are few and far between once winter arrives in Indiana. The cold and snow make it hard to motivate exercise and, as a parent, you start to have to get creative with ways to burn off some of that energy in your little ones!

The first big snow of this season, had me thinking of some of the best ways to help little ones have fun while burning off energy indoors.  While I am all about playing outside in the snow, let’s be honest–most of us spend more time prepping our kids to play outside in the white stuff than they actually do! Thus, I have compiled a few of our family’s favorite ways to sneak in exercise during these cold, winter days!

Top 5 at Home Indoor Winter Activities:

  1. Little Tikes Trampoline:

If you have a younger child at home, this is the BEST indoor toy. When we need to log some exercise minutes for school, or burn off some extra energy at home we pull this out! Our daughter loves to jump as she listens to music or watches tv, and I love that she is able to get exercise in without realizing she is! This trampoline’s hand folds up so it is easy to store as well. (Tip: If you don’t want to pay full price, look for these after Christmas to score $20-$30 off–that’s what I did last year!)

2. GoNoodle.com

This website is usually reserved and used as a part of the elementary teacher’s bag of tricks, but you can sign up for a free account, too! The website has a TON of interactive dances, songs, and workouts geared towards elementary aged students. We love to log-on to the website to get in a few coordinated dances. They also have yoga and meditation videos for students! It’s really fun to do as a family!

3.  Gotrovo Treasure Hunt Game

Our daughter has been really into scavenger or treasure hunts lately, ever since my husband sent us on one together for my birthday! We go this game for her for Christmas this year, in hopes to help us make them a little more fun and engaging. This game comes with a treasure surprise to place at the end of your hunt, as well as a treasure map that you can attach clues to! The box has pre-made clues, as well as the ability to make your own. This is a fun activity that allows your child to be active as they search through your house to find clues, but also is a great way to get them to think creatively to help solve the riddle clues! This game is great indoors, but we’re excited to use it outdoors once it gets warm, too!

4. Hopscotch

We received this awesome puzzle as a gift one year. While it’s great to use as a puzzle alone, especially for littles one due to its size, we also found that you could easily build it into a hopscotch course! We use it to build different combinations and then our daughter is able to jump, using different combinations. This is a great activity to increase a child’s balance, as they can use two feet, and then gradually increase to just one, crisscrossing, etc. Our daughter loves to do this with her dad, making it a fun game to see who can skip over pieces of the puzzle or have the fastest feet!

5. Indoor Obstacle Course

If you really want to get creative, you can build an in-home obstacle course with a few items you probably already have around the house and have been mentioned above! One cold day, we were looking for something a little different from our usual trampoline and hopscotch routine. My husband gathered our daughter’s scooter and hula hoop from the garage, as well as our trampoline and hopscotch indoor play items, and created an indoor obstacle course that she could complete inside our living room and hallway! She got really excited once we started timing her to see how fast she could go!

Items we used: jump rope, hula hoop, Pete the Cat giant foam puzzle (to build a hopscotch area)  trampoline, scooter

What indoor activities do you do with your kids to keep them active during the cold, winter months? Comment below and share your ideas!

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Christmas, kids, Parenting

Fabulous Family Game Night Games

Last year to prepare our daughter for school we started playing a board game each night before bed. Not only did this time allow for us to all spend quality time together, but it helped her to practice counting skills, taking turns, and the all important skill of learning how to handle losing!

We started with some great games to practice colors and counting and have now worked our way up to some fun card games! We enjoy this time together so much, so I’d thought I’d share our top games that we play with our five-year old. These games can be easily found at a local store or online, tons of fun, and can be played quickly before bedtime.

Card Games:

I have always loved card games– even since I was little. The tricky part with cards and small children is that their hands aren’t quite equipped yet to handle holding all those cards! We picked up a kid’s card holder on Amazon to help her little hands manage all her cards!

1. Old Maid: This game is currently our family’s favorite! We played with extended family one night and we were all in tears laughing at each other’s inability to hide our anguish when we had the Old Maid!

2. Go Fish!: This is a fun way to play a matching game. My husband and daughter play this game sometimes while they eat breakfast before school even! We have two sets–a  Christmas themed one and a regular one!

Board Games:

1. Don’t Wake Daddy: This is a game I remember playing as a kid! You pick the card and then must push the button that many times (counting practice!) and cross your fingers that you don’t wake up the Daddy, or you must go back to bed!

2. Candy Land: Such a classic game! Great for identifying colors and one-to-one counting correspondence. We played this a lot early on since it was easy for her to play, but she still loves it now!

3. Chutes and Ladders: This is another GREAT game to practice one-to-one counting and taking turns, in a fun way!

4. Hi Ho Cherry-O: We love this game! This was great for our daughter as she began to recognize numbers through images ( shows 1,2, or 3 apples). It is another game that is great for one-to-one counting correspondence as well!

5. Trouble! : We bought a character themed version of this game, but I love that it works on number recognition ( identifying the number on a dice), one-to-one counting correspondence, and fine motor skills (moving the pieces)! Our daughter loves when she gets to send us back “home, too!

These are our go-to family game night games currently with our five-year old. What games have you enjoyed playing with your kids? Comment below so we can add them to our collection!