Cabin Fever? Ways to keep your kids active INSIDE during the not so good weather!

Winters in Minnesota can be long and the springtime can bring unexpected weather where the children cannot go outside to play (rain, snow and everything in between). Here are some helpful tips/ideas for fun stimulating indoor activities for your active little ones.

Gross Motor

Gross motor activities are large, big movement activities that tire kids out quickly. Gross motor activities are good for core stability/strength to attend to seated activities. It is great for motor planning and coordination. Here are some creative ways to engage in gross motor activities while inside.

  • Animal walks: Bear crawl, crab, alligator, frog, inch worm, and donkey kicks.
  • Obstacle course: Set up various stations around the house that child has to crawl over/around or go through. Make it extra fun with imaginary play (for example: Don’t touch the hot Lava!)
  • Winter Olympics: With it being the year of the winter Olympics create various stations pretending to be an Olympic athlete. For example put on fuzzy socks and slide around the kitchen floor, pretending to be an Olympic skater or hockey player.
  • Kid Yoga: There are endless amounts of kid yoga videos and resources online. They are an excellent way to work on listening skills while engaging in various movements. This activity can also help with body awareness.
  • Beat the Clock: This is a fun imaginary play game that helps Mom/Dad/caregiver with everyday chores. Have child engage in various chores around the house such as carry a laundry basket to one room to another, set an appropriate amount of time on a timer and see if the child can complete the task, under the given time.
  • Dance Party: This is a fun activity for kids that love music. Play a kid friendly song and dance! For added fun, grab some pots/pans for percussion!

Fine Motor

Fine Motor is small movements with our hands. Fine motor movements are important for many things such as zipping up a coat, writing and picking up small objects. Here are some fun ideas to promote fine motor skills at home!

  • Ice cube painting: Put food coloring or paint in ice cube tray, once it starts to freeze place Popsicle stick into them. Grab a large piece of paper and paint away!
  • Snow coloring: This is a fun way to bring the winter inside! In a cooking sheet place a few handfuls of snow. In multiple spray bottles place water with food coloring. Have the child spray the snow with various colors. This is an excellent activity to promote hand strength!
  • Stringing: This is a fun and yummy activity! Using yarn, pipe cleaner, string or whatever is lying around the house. Have the child string cheerios onto to make a cereal necklace. This activity can be substituted for many different foods!
  • Lacing: Using any cardboard lying around the house, cut out a shape and punch small hole around the shape to make a homemade lacing board. The child can decorate or color it to make it more colorful. Using yarn or string has the child lace around the board.

Sensory Play

Sensory play is fun for all kids! Some kids may shy away from certain textures while others love it and that is okay! Here are some fun ways to expose your child to a variety of textures.

  • Edible play dough: There are tons of recipes online that you can tailor to your child’s likes. This is a really fun activity to incorporate different food and play.
  • Oobleck: This is an easy activity that one can use with easy household items. It is easy as 1 cup corn starch and ½ cup water.
  • Sensory gel pad: This is a great color sorting activity, by placing color button and clear hair gel in a Ziploc bag. Tape the top shut with duct tape. Using colored sharpies draw large circles on the front. The child can then push the color buttons through the gel into the colored circles.
  • Shaving cream: Fun and messy! You can have the child practice fine motor skills with writing letter and number.
  • Wash Dishes/trucks/Barbies: Have the child help with washing dishes or set them up with their own station to clean their toys.

-Chelsea Wiegand – Occupational Therapy Assistant (Choice Therapy Bemidji)