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Best Indoor Toys for Kids|Toys for Active Kids

Updated on August 5, 2014

Active Toys for Kids

Kids are one the greatest treasures you'll ever find, but man can kids drive you crazy sometimes. I find myself wanting to pull my hair out on those cold, rainy days when we're all house bound and the kids just can't seem to settle into any appropriate indoor kids activities.

As a parent of two active boys under the age of five, I find it hard to find appropriate and stimulating indoor active toys that will get my kids to focus on something for more than five minutes. I've never been one to fill my home with toys because more often than not, toys are simply tossed about and at the end of the day you are left with giant piles of toys, everywhere. I've compiled a list of top toys for active kids. I've made sure to choose indoor toys that don't take up too much space, which can be an issue if you live in an apartment, condo and or if you just don't have the square footage to handle large toys.

Toys for Active Kids: The Sit n Spin


Indoor Kids Activities

I often find myself looking up various online lists of indoor kids activities so we can just get through the day. My kids are more kinaesthetic than artistic and I find that most online indoor kids activities are arts and crafts based. It was only recently that I discovered that apartment sized indoor play equipment existed and this discovery would be the beginning of a new era for me, a stay at home mom. When the kids are busy and happy, generally mom and dad are happy too.

That said, I've compiled a small list of indoor kids activities for active kids:

  1. Apartment-sized trampoline: get your kids to jump like a frog/bunny/lion/butterfly ect; see how high they can jump; jump along to the beat of a song; jump along with mom or dad.
  2. Indoor hopscotch: This works well on a smooth floor surface. Use tape to mark hopscotch squares on the floor and use a soft ball or toy to throw on the square and get your kids to hop over all the squares(except the square where the toy/ball landed)
  3. Sit n Spin: teach your child to learn about balance and cause/effect by getting them to use their body to spin themselves around on the sit n spin (while allowing them to use their gross motor skills at the same time)
  4. Indoor Sensory Table: Fill a series of bowls or washing basins full of textured objects -- peeled grapes are still a good choice, as is cold cooked spaghetti, cotton balls, cornstarch, or dry beans. Blindfold your child, have him sift his hands through, and describe what he feels. Then challenge him to guess the object.

Toys for Active Kids

Active play toys like bouncy animal can encourage your kids physical development!
Active play toys like bouncy animal can encourage your kids physical development! | Source

Active Toys for Indoors: Small Space Solutions

If you are lacking in indoor space, setting up a stimulating indoor area doesn't have to fill up your whole apartment. Here are some space-saving active play toys that won't compromise you indoor space:

  • Apartment-sized trampoline with padded safety bar. Some brands can be disassembled and folded up in minutes, giving you the floor space you need.
  • Wi Fit: takes up almost no space at all yet encourages kids to keep their bodies active.
  • Bouncy animal toys are small enough to tuck away in the corner and they offer toddlers a great way to develop physically.

Toys for Active Kids: What We Know About Kids' Development

Young kids learn by doing, whether their active play is structured (adult supported) or unstructured (no adult support required). Research shows that unstructured play time for kids is necessary for young children's development. In the January 2005 Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine , Burdette and Whitaker wrote on the importance of free play. They argue that free (unstructured)play promotes intellectual and cognitive growth, emotional intelligence, and benefits social interactions. They describe how play involves problem solving which is one of the highest executive functions.

What we know about development in young kids

  1. Preschool children up to five years old learn best when there is no direct "teaching" of skills. Often learning new skills happens for young children in a stimulating indoor and outdoor space, where children can learn skills by being active and learning how their bodies work.
  2. A stimulating indoor space provides different types of balls, cones, skipping ropes, hoops, low balance beams, soft and hard surfaces, and small climbing structures.
  3. Unstructured play promotes problem solving.

Active Play Toys for Toddlers

A child is considered to be a toddler when he/she first starts walking (toddling) up to 3 years old. Toddlers are constantly learning through their senses: touch, feel, sight, sound and taste. It's important for caregivers to set up a stimulating environment where toddlers can play and learn at the same time.

If you've spend any amount of time with a toddler, you'll know they love to get their hands on anything they can reach and they often like to test out cause and effect by throwing an object (a ball, a dish, your favourite mug, spaghetti..) to see what happens. Appropriate active toys are necessary but sometimes it's hard to know what your toddler will like and buying every available toy out there is not feasible (or affordable). Here are some key things that all toddlers do, and hopefully this list will help you narrow down what toddler toys would be helpful for your little one(s).

Indoor Kids Activities: Things Toddlers Do

9-12 months
12-18 months
18-24 months
24-30 months
Try to find objects you've hidden
Push and pull toys while walking
Likes to do simple household chores (sweeping, wiping ect)
Walk backwards and sideways
Connecting animals with sounds
Climb by themselves on things and out of things (chairs, sofas, tables, high chairs, strollers)
Exploring the concept of counting
Jump in place, lefting both feet off the air
Starts to discover cause and effect (when things are dropped)
Turn pages of a book
Recognize familiar faces in photos.
Build a tower of 5 blocks or more
Match shapes
Stack blocks and colour with a crayon
Building more elaborate towers with blocks
String beads, picking them up with thumb/index finger
*Read lot's of books with your toddler; play music to encourage dancing and movement; play hide and seek with your toddlers toys
*Play songs to encourage dancing; build an obstacle course for your toddler to encourage climbing and crawling; provide different sized balls to kick; offer stackable toys; offer large piece puzzles
*Offer simple puzzles; talk about numbers/time/colours with your toddler; read toddler books and encourage interaction with pictures
*Play simple movement games; bowling with plastic pins; offer costumes for pretend play; offer ride on toys and push pull toys; make playdough and point out different shapes; get your toddler to help with food prep and dishes

Fold and Go Trampoline Assesmbly

Indoor Active Toys for Preschoolers

Preschoolers (children ages 3 to 5) are a unique bunch. Here are some guidelines and activities to try with your preschooler(s):

  • Give your child the space and freedom to use large muscles, through activities such as running, climbing and swinging on playground equipment.
  • Make sure your child gets adequate sleep and nutrition to fuel her overall development and activity.
  • Take your child to a pediatrician for regular well-child exams, and be sure to have her vision and hearing checked. Even small problems, caught and addressed at this age, can greatly enhance motor skill development and confidence.
  • Collect toys and equipment that your child can use to help her develop large muscles. (For example: hula hoops, bean bags, tricycle, large beach balls and a child-sized basketball hoop.)
  • Set up empty water bottles like bowling pins, and let your child use a soft ball to “bowl.”
  • Join your child in active play. Play catch, tag, or set up a simple obstacle course.
  • Give your child opportunities to practice small motor skills using child safety scissors, Lego blocks, dice, and buttons.

Time for a Poll: Active Toys for Kids

What kids toy can your kids not live without?

See results


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