Because we’re homeschoolers, I’m happy to let our physical education tend to the less formal. In the warmer months, it often simply amounts to spending lots of time outside – in our own backyard, at parks, and on playgrounds. But, in the winter, finding the right space for getting physical and staying active is a little trickier. While signing up for the occasional class works for us, this year we’re staying home for most of our activity. So we seized on the partially finished attic space in our new home to create a play space for our littles. They’ve dubbed it the “ninja gym” after one of our family’s favorite shows, American Ninja Warriors. (If you have active littles ones, you probably know the show I mean!) Even if you don’t have a “ninja gym” at home, you could use these toys.
Here are 10 of our favorite toys for staying active indoors:
1. Pogo Jumper: We got these for my crew for Christmas and they love them. They’re foam with a handle attached by bungee cord. They are quiet (except the squeak) and can hold up to 250 pounds, which means my husband and I have definitely tried them. They’re a great workout and only $15!
2. Pull-up bar: We have this one that we’ve mounted on the wall, but you could get this one or this one to hang in a doorway.I challenge my boys to see how many they can do in a row. Meanwhile, I can do none. I’m working on that!
3. Crash pad: We recently added two of these to our ninja gym & they are a huge hit. They flip onto them from the ground or jump onto them from the swing or rings. (We got our swing and hanging rings from Ikea a few years ago. I can’t find an online link for them to share, so I found similar items on Amazon.) If I were choosing one thing to get from this list, the crash pad would be it!
5. Tumbling mat: These tumbling mats, along with the balance beam below, can be found in the store or online at Ikea. I love how my daughter can use the tumbling mat to practice things she’s learned at gymnastics and fold it up to act as a stool for reaching things up high. All my littles employ it in their imaginative play too. It’s lightweight so they can move it around, fold it up, and stand it on its side. And it’s much less expensive than other tumbling mats I’ve found.
6. Balance Board: This is a great little tool for increasing balance and core strength. You can even use it for review. How many elements can you say before tipping the board?
7. Balance Beam: I think Ikea is getting it so right with these toys that can be used to exercise both the minds and bodies of our littles. If a balance beam doesn’t get you using your imagination and telling some great story, you’re using it wrong!
8. Punching bag: We’re not boxing fans, so this is purely for a good workout in our house. Oh anddd, since I know nothing about boxing, I didn’t realize they need gloves. While those wait on our wish list, my guys are only kickboxing our bag.
9. Jump rope: These jump ropes are segmented and weighted making them easier to use than ones made from simple rope. Plus they come in lots of fun colors, so my littles love each having their own.
10. Rope ladder: My daughter can’t really get the swing moving on her own yet, so the rope ladder is a great option for her. She can climb up and swing on it all by herself.
In my experience, active children are happier children, so I’m super excited to share our favorite active toys with you. Are your winter months cold months? If so, any special tips for staying active? I’d love to hear!