What you need right now in the wintertime are 39+ easy, no-prep or low-prep, fun indoor physical activities for toddlers who don’t sleep well?
We’ve got you covered. These fun indoor gross motor activities will get your toddler moving during the day, even if you’re stuck at home! Winter, fall, rainy days – help them burn lots of energy and exercise daily, so your toddler and preschooler can sleep better at night. These physical toddler activities at home are great for toddlers and preschoolers and should be part of your toddler daily schedule.
We know. Your energy level is down, but your little one is far away from tired? Then, welcome to the club of lucky parents, who won a very active toddler in the lottery.
Even if you suspect that the first or second law of thermodynamics were violated and you have at home a Perpetuum mobile (motion of a body that continues indefinitely), let me reassure you, Perpetual motion should be impossible. At least, theoretically.
So, how to help your child get a better goodnight sleep? The secret is, to get them physically tired during the day. Thus, we’ve rounded up some fun indoor gross motor activities for toddlers to burn off lots of energy in the wintertime and get some good, long goodnight sleep.
What activities do active toddlers love? Active little ones love quick, easy and simple indoor physical activities for toddlers. Additionally, they want to see instant results. And the best thing is, once they are hooked on an activity, they want to repeat it over and over again.
So here they are 39 easy, no-prep or low-prep, fun indoor physical activities for toddlers to burn off lots of energy!
39 Indoor Physical Activities for Toddlers Who don’t Sleep Well
Toddlers just love hide-and-seek. They love to hide in a closet, wardrobe, behind the couch, or the door, somewhere where you still can see them. But don’t search for them in silence! Remember always to ask where they are. They will giggle.
2. Peekaboo in a box
First, get into an empty box, then hide your face…Then, reveal your face and search for your peekaboo co-player. If not in sight, then get out of the box and start searching for them.
3. Dancing Queen
From nursery rhymes, though Flashdance to Baby Shark, everything that makes your toddler happily move, is a great idea to get some exercise and fun.
Chasing your toddler involves a lot of running around the house and its great fun.
5. Run from the Monster
Pretend that you are a monster and make funny noises. Let your little one run and hide from you.
Let’s train our balance and stand on one leg for as long as we can. Can you try also to lift your both legs? Hmm, seems that this does’t work so well…But lets continue our animal exercises…
7. Walk like a Duck/ a Crab
Where, where, where is the ducky? Do the duck walk around the house, use your arms as wings and quack-quack-quack while doing it.
Can you also show how to walk like a crab? Walk sidewise or backwards and move your claws accordingly!
These animal like exercises improve balance, coordination and help creativity and imagination.
8. Fly like …
Spread your wings around and fly while running. You can be an airplane, a bird, and even a bee. Make the corresponding noises.
9. 1 Little Person Jumping on the Bed
Jumping on the bed. One of the most fascinating experiences for Aiden, ever since he watched one of the millions of 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed videos on YouTube. Now everything is jumping – from toys, through spoons, to us – everyone is jumping and pretending to bump their heads…Even though, it’s not funny to fall down… Whether we like it or not – jumping on the bed is an integral part of our daily life.
To keep the bumps limited, we use his baby mattress. It’s still a bed and the jumps even fun for me. At least, if he falls down, there is no risk that he can injure himself badly. So keep on jumping on the bed…
10. Chasing Bubbles
Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles. Let your little one chase them. Bubbles are so fascinating for toddlers so that we have even a bubbles machine at home.
Two people – one big and one small – are running around two small chairs and screaming go-go-go. It sounds not like great fun for you? But it is. When you get tired, just scream SIT and you both need to sit down as fast as you can. Then you need to count together aloud to ten and then it’s time for go-go-go again.
12. Crawling through Tunnels
Yep, tunnels! Above all, build them everywhere around the house with everything you can – chairs, tables, drying rack. Crawl and run underneath, and just have fun.
This is a simple, fun, no-prep toddler activity, that your toddler can do anytime when you have your drying rack out. Additionally, your toddler can repeat colours and practice to count. The best thing about this activity – it is spontaneous, engaging, fun and safe.
14. Stairs up and Stairs down
Stairs up, stairs down, up and down. Let’s do it again! Lucky us, we’ve got stairs! Indeed, toddlers love repetition, and it seems that they never get tired.
15. Spinning around
Spinn in a circle until you get dizzy and then fall laughing on the floor. It’s a great exercise to improve balance.
16. Run a race
Run short races in the house and let them win of course.
17. Jumping over Obstacles
Can you jump over this? Can you jump over that? Putting small obstacles like for example paper tunnels, egg packaging etc. is a great way to help your little one learn to jump better.
18. Riding on a Hobby Horse
Yep! Riding a Hobbyhorse is an organized sport. So, let your toddler do it because they might be a rising talent in a new sport!
19. Follow the Line
Lines, lines, lines. They are everywhere around us. Just start to walk on them, and your toddler will do the same. It can be the edge of the carpet as well as a pattern of tiles, or some marking or pattern outside. Whatever it is, this activity will improve your toddler’s balance.
20. Get into a Box
Here it is – the new adventure – a big box. Get in, get out. Do it over and over again. When your toddler gets tired, just drag them with the box around the house . They will sit and enjoy it. You will sweat and break your back and they will happily laugh.
21. Roll over
If you are exhausted and you cannot move anymore, my best advice is – just lay down on the floor. Make your toddler roll over the floor.
Yep! Time for the swing. You can swing your little one in their chair or in a plastic laundry basket, whatever you like. Make them go in and out by themselves.
23. Yoga Time
It seems to me that yoga is obviously inborn, because it comes so natural to toddlers to do it.
24. Basket Ball
Get your toddler a basket and balls. Let them show you how to throw a ball and then ask them to collect the balls.
25. Roll the ball
Roll a bouncy ball on in box with a hole and ask your little one to balance the ball out of the box.
We got a fun tunnel idea from Toddler Approved on Pinterest are easy to do paper tunnels. All you need is a piece of paper formed like a tunnel and taped to the floor. Then everything is ready to roll, drive and go through the tunnels.
27. Sliding on a yoga mat
Sliding is fun. Drag your toddler on a yoga mat around the house as long as you can. This is especially great, if your toddler have caught cold in the winter, but still needs some movement.
28. Flashlight Beam Chase
You know that your toddler can be almost as fast as the light, right? Then let them chase the flashlight beam across walls and floors.
29. High knees
Let your toddler moving at a sprinting or running pace while lifting up their knees as high as they can.
30. Toddler on a Broom
You can do this also as a Halloween activity. Let your toddler get a small broom and let them fly around the house.
31. Hula Hoop
The longest verified record for continuous hula hoop spinning is held by Aaron Hibbs from Columbus, Ohio who kept a hoop spinning for 74 hours and 54 minutes between October 22, through 25, 2009. In November 2019, Jenny Doan exceeded this record by hula-hooping for 100 hours at the District Brew Yards in Chicago. Even if you are not Aaron or Jenny hula hooping is a great way for your toddler to improve their balance and learn body control.
32. Cycling in the air
Let me lie on my back, raise my legs and start riding my air a bike.
33. Ribbon Rhythmic Gymnastics
It was a great choice to buy this ribbon. See how I drag it around the house, it flies like the wind when I run.
At the left, at the right, one little speckled frog is jumping through the house. Can you see it? From one door to another and finally into the bathtub.
35. Hot Lava Game
We’ve got this idea from Paper Heart Family, while looking on Pinterest. Indeed, it sounds like a very fun thing to do. Put some pillows on the floor and jump from pillow to pillow, because the floor is covered with hot lava.
For us it works with parts of our couch. We are still working on the rules and our lava is neither that hot nor that dangerous. So, it’s not that bad, if we fall into it. Additionally, we build islands with hula hoops. Jump and run!
36. Splashing around
Most importantly, if you are still not one of the toddlers who don’t sleep when it’s bathtime, splash around like there is no tomorrow.
37. Bedtime exercise
And then, it’s bedtime! Still one of the toddlers who don’t sleep. So, let me finish the day with some exercises in the bed. Legs up and down, up and down, while mom is trying to read a bedtime story.
38. Pillow Fight
Still one of the toddlers who don’t sleep? Pillow fight is classic and easy to do every time during the day or bedtime.
Hopscotch requires lots of fun hopping and jumping! Therefore, it is not only fun, but also certainly a great gross motor activity. Above all, it helps me to develop strong balance and coordination. So let me practice it as much as I want all the year round. Use number mats and make it fun counting activity!
40. ISLAND JUMPS
Jumping is great! So let’s do some more. Let’s build some islands with different heights. We used here two small toy storage plastic boxes and three of their lids. Make sure that those are good quality and won’t break and additionally non-slip. We have a carpet in our playroom, so our storage boxes worked just great.
And now, hop! From island to island and back! If you get tired, turn the box around and just rest for a minute inside.
41. Hula Hoop Jumps
It reminds me kind of a circus show, but our little one loves to do it with his granddad. That’s their thing!
42. Walking on eggs or eggshells
Huh, walking on eggs is really fun. But we do not want to risk the mess, so lets walk on dinosaur eggshells instead! It’s kind of slippery, but so much fun. Get all the metal salad bowls you can gather at home and let start!
We hope that those activity ideas will help you and your toddler to get some goodnight sleep!
Looking for more indoor physical activities for toddlers? Click here.