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Healthy You

Indoor Activities for the Family

Thursday, January 11, 2018 7:08 AM

Chicago weather can be drastic from sweltering heat to sub-zero temperatures. This leads us to spend a great deal of time inside, which can induce cabin fever. As adults we can find ways to cope with our boredom, but children don’t always know how they can burn their energy. The weather is too extreme to send them out, so what can we do?


Elizabeth Swider, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, shares fun activities for families to do indoors. These activities not only kill boredom and pass the time, but they also are good for the children, and us:

  1. Create an obstacle course throughout the house. Get off the couch and use the couch cushions, pillows and sheets on carpeted areas to create an exciting new world. Create challenges for the kids while completing the obstacle course: like balancing cotton balls on a spoon without it falling. This challenges the kids mentally while keeping them moving.
  2. Go bowling in your hallway. Line up some water bottles and use any ball you have as the bowling ball. It is easy to lie around, but it is better if everyone gets up and moves!
  3. Grab a balloon and play balloon ball! Start with catch, keeping the balloon off the ground, or volleyball – all games that keep everyone moving. The options are endless and when you are bored of one game, start the next.
  4. Play HORSE basketball around the house. Grab an empty trashcan or bucket and move it from room to room with a rolled-up sock as the basketball. Move the basket around the room to increase – or decrease – difficulty.
  5. Explore your creativity and get crafty! This is a great way for kids to express themselves and for them to potentially work on their handwriting.
  6. Have races down the hallway. All smart phones have a stopwatch; use this as you time one another to wheelbarrow, crab- and bear-walk races. Parents, you’ll find that you’re using muscles you forgot you had!
  7. Select one of your kids to be DJ, put on some music and dance away! Mix things up by having your DJ “pause” the music, have everyone freeze and then start up again with the music. First person to break their frozen move loses.
  8. If you are tight on space, move to the garage. Put the cars in the driveway and create a play area for the kids. Most of the activities previously listed can be played in here, as well as using their basketball or hockey nets.

What is your favorite indoor activity to do with the family?