Encouraging kids to stay active can be hard – especially when it's the middle of winter and raining outside! But it's worth a push – active kids will benefit from stronger muscles and bones, better sleep – plus, obviously, weight control.
All you need to get them on their feet (and away from any screens) are a handful of games – and a bit of imagination.
We’ve picked games that can be enjoyed as a family, as solo entertainment, or as a group activity with friends.
1. create a home obstacle course
When it's too cold and wet to go to the park, try creating an at-home obstacle course with furniture, empty boxes, sheets, cushions and home furnishings. You could do this in a spare room - or even the hallway! The kids will have fun building it, and even more fun completing it.
2. have a crab race
Clear enough space for the kids to race each other – but in awkward poses, like the crab. Hugely entertaining, and great exercise!
3. Balloon Volley
Let your child play a solo game of balloon volley. Blow up a balloon, move a chair to act as a court net, then have your kid run back and forth both sides before the balloon hits the ground. Dial up the fun and join in – you can hold your own tournament!
4. create Coloured Stepping Stones
Tape down a path of coloured paper stepping stones throughout the house, alternating between three different hues. We used Washi tape to avoid marking the floor.
Yell out a colour and see if your child can leap from one end of the house to the other by only stepping on those stepping stones. Get creative and add your own parameters; for example, players must only hop on one leg across the stepping stones.
5. make Alphabet Shapes
Get ready to bend! This yoga-like exercise will teach your kids how to remember the letters of the alphabet as they form the shapes with their bodies. Going well? Add a time limit and watch them scramble to create short words, either upright or while they lie on the ground. Take photos through the game and see if they can read the words they’ve spelled out.
6. play 'Monster Mirror'
Mix up this classic game by having two little monsters face each other and mimic each other’s movements. They’ll get a full body workout from keeping up with their friend’s changes. To up the ante, let them design their own masks and costumes then face-off each other. A panel of judges can decide who growled best!
7. play Balloon Pop
This game is not for the fainthearted! Tie a balloon to each player’s right leg with a length of string. When everyone has a balloon attached, let the kids roam the garden trying to stomp on and burst each other’s balloons.
8. Hacky Sack
The traditional game of hacky sack requires two or more players to gather around a circle and try to keep a footbag off the ground with their feet. But if you don’t have any buddies about, this game is just as fun to play on your own – think of the coordination skills to be gained!
9. Freeze Frame
Grab your dancing shoes, turn up the tunes, this dance party is on until you pause the music. Dancers must then freeze and if someone moves, they’re out until the next round. Who’s ready to boogie?
10. Basketball Circuit
A great game to play solo and with a team, to begin place a large plastic bowl or bucket in each room and give your basketballer/s a rolled up pair of socks. Each player must stand in the doorway to take a shot, only players who manage to make a slam dunk can progress to the next stage.
11. Animal Charades
Write types of animals on strips of paper, fold them up and then drop them in a bowl. Let your child pick one of the strips to impersonate until someone can guess the animal correctly.
12. Disney Shake Up
Inspired by Disney films, the NHS have more than 55 super-fun games to get kids off the couch. Watch the videos to learn how it’s done, then stay at home, head to the park or the pool to play. Our favourite is 'Olaf's Summer Dance'– we love a routine!
After more fun ways to keep the kids entertained? Check out our Toys department