Child care providers often dread those days when the weather is bad and the children can’t get outdoors to play. But children need to have active times every day to use up energy, learn new things, and be healthy. Luckily, active play can happen indoors as well as outdoors. With a little imagination and creativity, child care providers can come up with activities that use large muscles and burn energy, but can be done indoors. Here are some ideas to try:
- Put on some music and have a dance party. Move back the furniture if you need to make more room to dance.Let children suggest their favorite songs.
- Give children a scarf, ribbon or some paper streamers to wave in time to music. Encourage them to find as many different ways to move the scarf or ribbon as they can.
- Encourage children to dress up as a favorite character from a book and act out the story
- Plan a “work out” time to do simple exercises with children. Keep them age-appropriate. Exercises can be done to music, or you can borrow simple exercise tapes from the public library
- Play circle games such as Simon Says, Follow the Leader, or Duck, Duck Goose to keep children active
- Have children pretend to ice skate wearing socks on a smooth floor
- Children love pretending to be animals by making their sounds and movements.
- Set up an indoor basketball game with crumpled up newspaper balls thrown into a laundry basket or cardboard box
- Pile up old blankets and pillows for soft indoor climbing fun
Active play is an essential part of young children’s lives. Effective child care programs give children ways to be active indoors as well as outside. With imagination and creativity, you can come up with other fun ideas for active play.
For More Information
To learn more about how to encourage physical activity and motor development in child care, take a look at the following eXtention Alliance for Better Child Care articles:
- Active Play in Child Care
- Helping Children in Child Care Be Physically Active
- Play Activities to Encourage Motor Development in Child Care
- Preventing Injuries in Child Care
- Supporting Both Large Motor and Small Motor Development in Child Care
- Things to Consider when Planning for Physical Activities in Child Care
If you are looking for specific activities to use in your child care program, visit our Hands-on Activities Database.
Photo by Jess2284/ CC BY https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/