Indoor toys for an active 3 year old?
October 18, 2016 2:42 PM   Subscribe

Winter is coming! I'd love any toy suggestions for burning off some energy when we're stuck inside. KidDog has an inflatable ball pit that he loves rolling around/being dragged around in, which has resulted in the untimely demise of said ball pit but has been super fun for him!

Something not needing a ton of space would be ideal- the family room is a reasonable size but overall the house isn't huge. I've pondered getting him a small climber to set up inside... any other ideas? Budget $100-$150ish, shipping to Canada. Thanks for your ideas!
posted by bighappyhairydog to Shopping (8 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
This balance board was great for my very active little one.
It slides under a couch so takes little room.

This hullaballo game was great and well loved.

I did little indoor obstacle courses, too. I bet people have since come up with way more clever versions of it on pinterest. I got some little game cones, cut up an old yoga pad (for spots you had to step on or jump to), hula hoops, and a tunnel .

I also put painters tape on my wood floor and had to refinish the floor so I don't suggest that!
posted by ReluctantViking at 3:06 PM on October 18, 2016

If you have stairs, riding a sleeping bag down the stairs (lie down flat for safety) is a great activity. You have to run back up to do it again, so you burn off a lot of energy.

My brother and I did this all the time for years and it only resulted in one (minor) injury.

Giant pillow sumo fights (bounce bellies) are also very fun.

When all else fails: nerf ball war.
posted by phunniemee at 3:09 PM on October 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

We have some old mattresses on the floor for our son to jump on. He loves dancing to music, wrestling, jumping on them from furniture. Maybe you could stand a mattress on its side when not in use?
posted by wyzewoman at 3:10 PM on October 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

My mom brought over a kid sized trampoline with handle one day last fall... and I was less than thrilled... but then winter came and we'd turn the music up and my 3yr old would jump like crazy. We moved it to the porch for the summer and he used it well. Now I need to sweep it off and move it back in. I never would have bought it myself, but I'm so glad we have it.
posted by Swisstine at 3:27 PM on October 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

Pots and pans were favorites for me.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:38 PM on October 18, 2016

Swing/Trapeze in the basement? The disc swing has been up a year, the trapeze the year before that, I'm thinking about a hammock-type swing this year. Hands down the single biggest thing our highly active daughter uses. If we put up three different swings, she uses all three.

We did have a little climber with a slide but if she used it at three, it was only occasionally - that, and the bouncy horse, got more use as a baby. We did buy a full kid size climbing dome for the back yard and although she uses it daily, it's too big for the house.

Thirding a little exercise trampoline. Ours would watch TV while jumping.

Big yoga ball? Can be annoying to keep kicking around in a small space but kids like to roll around on them.

Bouncy hopper balls! They make adult sized ones, too.

Big beanbag. Jump off couch, land in bean bag. Target had fuzzy ones for something like $30 lately.

Stomp rockets (maybe.)

Kidzooie foam pogo jumpers. With squeaker, please.

We invest in is good winter gear. Kid will go outside in weather that's far colder than what I like (OK, i hate it, and I let everyone know how much I hate it) where she sleds and climbs trees and makes snowmen and angels. Get the gloves that go up the arm a little bit - I only see them on amazon, but for not getting snow between the mitten and the coat sleeve, they're fantastic.

A friend with a high energy kid swears by hula hoops. Mine just deformed it to see how many different letters she could make. A different friend swears by the Rodi hopping horse.

Sit n spin if you can find one big enough.

Some of my best ideas come from reading about sensory processing disorder or occupational therapy for little kids. My kid doesn't have anything diagnosed, but the toys for SPD kids have been thought out to carefully meet bodily needs and what kid *doesn't* benefit from a little vestibular stimulation? A random google got me this: - I don't know the blogger from anyone else but I'm seeing lots of great things on the list.
posted by arabelladragon at 6:27 PM on October 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Balance board and mini tramp are big hits here, but their FAVORITE is sample carpet tiles from FLOR (samples are 6" x 6") which they use to play hot lava all over the place and make jumping contests and build imaginary bridges and roads and so on. Any kind of carpet scraps will work!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:02 PM on October 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

We like the teeter popper quite a bit. And if you have space and tall ceilings, indoor jump roping feels fun and edgy. I'm hoping to get my unfinished basement painted before winter, so that it's a safe, clean space for my kids to roller skate, play with chalk and chase balls around. Two smaller space activities we love: A Rubbermaid bin with a few inches of kinetic sand for an indoor sand box. You can also use a salad spinner and just let kids spin objects around - toy cars, small toys, beads, etc.
ETA: indoor hopscotch is fun too! You can make a board with tape on the floor or buy play mats that have hopscotch grids on them.
posted by areaperson at 11:22 AM on October 19, 2016

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