Here at Wicken Toys we love to promote outdoor play, come rain or shine. Appropriate clothing and a positive attitude is often required when playing outside in the bracing British weather, but this week even gloves, hat and a winter coat won't be enough protection. It's currently 5 degrees with 40mph gusts outside, and with children throughout the UK enjoying the start of the Christmas holidays, and bouncing off the walls with excitement, parents are starting to get desperate for play ideas.
So here's our top ten energy burning games for playing indoors.
1. Build A Fort
For maximum energy burning, encourage the children to fetch as many chairs, and cushions and blankets as their little arms and legs can manage. You may help with the construction, but the children must do all the hard work.
2. Bring The Outside In
3. Balloon Ball
Keepy uppy with a balloon. Simple, cheap, but very effective. Up the tempo by adding extra balloons, and increase the skill level with make-shift bats, such as an empty kitchen roll tube, or soda bottle.
4. Dance Party
Use YouTube to track down your children's favourite tunes and dance around the living room like a crazy person.
5. Bubble Buster
Blow bubbles all around the room, and ask the children to run around popping them.
6. Hide And Seek Toys
It can be difficult to find good hiding places inside the home, so instead of trying to hide your adult-sized body, nominate a toy to be the treasure and take turns hiding it.
7. Sumo Mum
Put down a large towel or rug to act as the 'in-zone'. Your job is to stand stock-still like a statue while your children try to push you out of the 'in-zone'.
8. Greyhound Racing
Running races inside the house can be tricky, so take it down to all-fours and crawl around the house like a dog. There's less chance of falling over when you are on your hands and knees, and the races will last longer and burn more energy.
9. Timed Obstacle Course
Set up an obstacle course with a blanket to crawl under, ball to toss into a bucket, bricks to stack, and any other indoor activities you can squeeze in. Run time trials all day to see who can complete the course the quickest.
10. Indoor Bowling
Get them pacing the full length of your living room or hallway by placing the skittles at one end, and standing at the other.
Be Still, Be Calm
After exciting, energetic play, children often need help calming down, especially at this time of year. Set up a craft activity to be completed at the table that requires deep concentration, such as LEGO or play-dough.
Children often find sensory play very calming and therapeutic. Make up a sensory bin by filling a water play table with a natural material like sand, porridge oats or even dry pearl barley, and adding small toys, cups, bottles and other pouring vessels.