When summer first arrived, my kids were thrilled. I was too. There’s nothing quite like going to the pool in the late afternoon and coming home for corn on the cob and watermelon. Unfortunately, it’s now July and it’s getting very, very hot and the novelty has worn off a bit. Yesterday, my two-year-old had armpit stains like an old man and he smelled like an old man too. And that was only after a short walk around the neighborhood.
Both kids begged to go back inside and watch TV and I was tempted to let them because I was hot and tired, but my kids needed to burn some energy. They sleep better, behave better, and stay more fit when they're active, so instead of watching TV, we went inside and did some freeze dancing. If you’re creative, burning energy inside can be pretty fun, too. Here are ten ways to keep your toddlers and preschoolers fit even in the heat:
1. Box Jumping
Use masking tape to draw boxes and show the kids how to jump from box to box. Get really silly with it. Show them how to hop with one leg. Then challenge them to keep both feet completely inside the boxes. Try hopscotch. Or have them alternate legs: right foot, then left foot, then right and so on. You could even tape circles instead and get some bean bags and once they get tired of hopping you can have them toss the bean bags into the circles.
A spin-off Easter egg hunt is always a fun way to burn energy inside. Give the kids a few buckets and tell them to sit in one room and count to twenty. Take some colored Pom poms into a different room and hide them all around. Then challenge your kids to find them all!
3. Hide and Go Seek
Never under-estimate the power of good, old-fashioned Hide and Go Seek. They may not hide well, but they will love doing it.
4. Simon Says
Simon Says is a great one. You get to sit on the couch while they follow your lead. “Simon says touch your toes!” “Simon says spin around!” The possibilities are endless.
5. Cushion Jumping
If you’re not too worried about your furniture, try removing all your couch cushions and show them how to jump from cushion to cushion. Of course, you’ll have to be careful about falling onto tables. Do this in a big space and stay close so you can catch falling kids.
6. Mattress Trampoline
Find an old mattress out and drag it the basement or an open area and use it as a trampoline. Again, stay close for safety.
7. Freeze Dance
Play freeze dance. Put on some music and then stop the music and everyone has to freeze. This always works better when Mom demonstrates first and gets really silly. You can also have everyone fall down when the music stops. Kids love nothing more than to fall down in a dramatic way.
8. Animal Role Play
Act like animals. Go on one side of the room and hop across the room like a bunny. Have your child follow. Then hop like a frog and have your child follow. Come up with as many animals as you can think of.
9. Fetch (+ Hot and Cold)
Play fetch with your kids. Take a ball from one end of the room and throw it into another room and have them go get it. If you make a big deal about them bringing it back, you might be surprised at how long your kids will want to play this game. If your kids are too old for this, go hide the ball or any object that is interesting to them and have them go find it. Tell them when they are “getting hot” or “getting cold”
10. Indoor Race Track
Make an indoor race-track with long butcher paper. Get a bunch of old cars and roll them across your race-track over and over again!
Of course, all this indoor fun didn’t exactly make my toddler any less sweaty and smelly, but at least my kids slept well that night and I was cooler while entertaining them, which made me very happy. There’s a lot of truth to the saying, “If Mom ain’t happy, then ain’t nobody happy.”
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.