No matter what region of the country you live in, this winter has thrown you a lot of “indoor days.” That image of staying cuddled up with a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate in front of the fire sounds cozy, but any mom with kids stuck inside knows it’s a mirage! Cooped-up kids tend to resemble roller derby more than a Hallmark card. If only you had a roller derby rink where they could put the chaos to good use. Assuming you’re not a billionaire with a skating rink, tennis court, or WWF fight ring under your roof, you might appreciate a few of these indoor energy spender ideas.

Dance Party

Clear the floor. Pump up the tunes. Dance it out. We’re not talking about the newest soft rock hit on the radio. Find a few songs with a strong beat and clean lyrics that inspire any kind of movement. You could even search for tracks that come with dance moves and teach your kids how to do the Macarena, the Electric Slide, or the Boot Scootin’ Boogie.

Tag

If you’re willing to risk running in your house, tag stands the test of time as something fun and variable. These games can grow into a personalized source of entertainment for your family. Growing up I played a kid versus parent “gotcha’ last” game. Eventually, that morphed into Nerf gun fights and some sort of hide and seek mixed with freeze tag.

Snowball Fight

Maybe you can’t fit running bodies in your four walls. A tag-like game that stays more contained is a Sock Snowball Fight. Your kids build pillow forts in their separate corners, stash as many balled up socks as possible, then let loose on each other. Of course, things get more complicated when they run out and have to brave the threat of attack while gathering more.

Obstacle Course

You might not have room for much in your house but an obstacle course can be as simple or as complex as you want. For those short on room, measuring how far kids can jump, stretch, throw a sock snowball, etc only requires a small length of hall or a clear area. If the couch and pillows can be used, those possibilities expand even more. For the ultimate course, let your kids construct with tape and string, too.

Exercise Equipment and Videos

What seems like a chore to you might catch your kids’ interest. Break out the yoga mats, the exercise bands, the Zumba video, and whatever you have stashed around the house. Either they get into it or they decide it’s humiliating and make fun of it. Either way, the kids are entertained.

Take a Bath

Sure, with all the chaos, you’re hoping for a nice relaxing soak, but consider throwing your smaller energy machine into the tub instead. Smaller kids can kick, splash, and flop to their hearts’ content. When just the water isn’t enough, they can sculpt bubbles, draw with shaving cream, create shampoo hair styles, or even color with bath crayons.

If only someone made a hamster wheel or a portable skate rink for kids, winter might run more smoothly! In the meantime, get creative and more importantly, get involved. If you are dancing, throwing “snowballs,” and constructing with them, you’re  going to get your kids’ attention and their energy! It might take a toll on the house or your own energy stores, but the day will see more joy than anger and more smiles than tears.