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If the idea of being cooped up with your kids for the next several months leaves you dreaming of warmer weather, you’re not alone. The winter months are notorious for inactivity and lots of indoor time.

But throw in additional COVID-19 restrictions, and kids of all ages are facing a long, slow season. Which means parents are staring down what’s sure to be the longest winter in recorded memory and trying to prepare for the onslaught of pent-up energy that could wreak havoc inside their home.

The good news? You can find a variety of toys for active indoor play to keep toddlers, elementary school aged kids, tweens, and teens engaged, entertained, and excited for hours. So don’t panic just yet.

Daily activity is essential for kids of all ages. Physical activity and exercise help kids increase aerobic fitness, lower body fat, strengthen bones and muscles, boost mood, and improve cognition.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans outline the following recommendations for ages 3 through 17 years.

Preschool aged children (ages 3 to 5 years)

Encourage physical activity and active play throughout the day that includes various activity types. Examples of physical activity include games such as tag, playing in the playground, walking, skipping, swimming, tricycle or bike riding, tumbling, or throwing games.

While there’s no specific guideline of how much time young kids should be active, it’s best to shoot for 3 hours of activity of varying intensity, spread throughout the day.

School aged children and adolescents

Elementary school aged children, tweens, and teens should get at least 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.

  • aerobic or cardiovascular exercise like running or dancing for increasing heart rate
  • muscle-strengthening activities such as lifting weights or climbing trees that target the major muscle groups
  • bone-strengthening exercises that require weight-bearing activity like basketball, jumping rope, running or any other exercise that requires impact with the ground

Games such as tag, playground play, swimming, throwing, flag football, soccer, martial arts, dancing, tennis, and skiing are examples of physical activity appropriate for this age group.

To create this list, we asked parents which active toys their kids played with the most — especially when stuck indoors.

We also consulted a few kids and teens to get their take on the best indoor active toys for the winter. Surprisingly, they agreed on many of the same picks as the parents.

To round out the opinions, we looked at customer reviews and also considered input from several online sources like the American Academy of Pediatrics.

With that said, here are our top picks for the best indoor active toys for toddlers, elementary schoolers, tweens, and teens.

Best active indoor toys for toddlers and preschoolers

Hide N Side 5 Piece Ball Pit Set

Your toddler can burn energy and get creative with imaginary play in this tunnel and tent combo.

Two large tunnels connect to two tents and a bonus ball pit with a basketball hoop. A target wall covers one of the tents. And the best part? Your little one can customize the many maze combinations, so they shouldn’t get bored with the setup.

Plus, the entire unit pops up and opens in seconds, making it easy to store when not in use. Balls are sold separately.

Little Tikes 3-Foot Trampoline

Nothing gets the wiggles out like a trampoline. This tot-sized version from Little Tikes is small enough to fit in a toy room, yet large enough for an older sibling to get in on the fun too.

There’s a large jumping surface, and the balance bar helps to keep your little one upright and safe as they bounce away the day. Since the recommended age is at least 3 years old, this indoor-only trampoline is more appropriate for an older toddler.

Gymnic Rody

Ideal for older toddlers, Rody the bouncy horse lets your little one hop all over the house without damaging your floor. This favorite among tots is an excellent toy to encourage playtime while building muscle, developing balance, and improving motor skills.

Soft yet sturdy, the Rody is available in 11 colors. Plus, you have the option of purchasing one of the add-on accessories — a rocker, which turns Rody into a rocking horse, or a “speedy base” with wheels for cruising down the hallway.

Prince Lionheart wheelyBUG

Ride-along toys are a classic for this age group. Designed to improve leg strength, grip strength, and balance, the wooden wheelyBUG goes backward, forwards, sideways, and round and round.

The seat is covered with a 1-inch comfy sponge that is moisture-resistant and wipeable. Parents will appreciate the nontoxic materials used to make the toy; plus, it is PVC-free, and the base is constructed with renewable plantation timber.

If your toddler is not a ladybug fan, no problem! This ride-along is also available as a bee, cow, hedgehog, tiger, pig, and mouse. Plus, it comes in two sizes: small for ages 18 months to 3 years old and large for 3 and up.

Best active indoor toys for elementary aged kids

hand2mind Indoor Scooter Board

Want a blast from the past? Check out these indoor/outdoor scooter boards appropriate for younger and older kids. Your child can race down the hallway or spin in circles for some solo play — or buy two, and they can compete with a sibling, friend, or parent.

But it’s not just the fun factor that makes this an excellent indoor active toy. The scooter challenges kids to improve their balance, coordination, core strength, and motor skills. And don’t worry, the plastic wheels shouldn’t damage your floors.

After a few spins on the scooter, we’re pretty sure your elementary aged kids (and older kids too!) will love recreating PE and recess at home.

WisToyz Rechargeable Hover Soccer Ball

Indoor soccer takes on a whole new meaning with this indoor floating soccer ball with colorful LED lights and powerful rechargeable lithium battery. A soft foam bumper helps protect walls from bangs, marks, and scratches.

The WisToyz ball is designed to glide on any smooth surface, like low-pile carpet or hardwood floor, and since it lights up, kids can play soccer late into the night. Ideal for solo or partner play — or, get the entire family to join in on a little hallway action.

Fat Brain Toys Ribbon Ninja

Fat Brain Toys Ribbon Ninja

Flag football meets tag in this action-packed indoor game for kids for all ages. Simple, affordable, and fast-moving, Ribbon Ninja encourages active play, strategy, quick thinking, and friendly competition.

Each player gets three ribbons attached to wristbands. The goal is to grab as many of your opponent’s wristbands as possible. The last ninja with a ribbon wins. Just make sure you have a big enough space for all players to move around. Suitable for two to six players.

Shape28 Stepping Stones

Kids of all ages can test their balance, coordination, agility, core, and leg strength with these super versatile stepping stones. Made from durable plastic, the stones have rubber footings to prevent slippage, so they work on most surfaces.

Each set comes with four small, four medium, two large, and one extra-large stone. The different sizes give kids endless options for obstacle courses and configurations.

And, since each stone can hold up to 220 pounds, even parents can get in on the fun. When the game is done, you can stack them together for easy storage.

Best active indoor toys for tweens

UbiSoft Just Dance 2021

A favorite among kids for years, Just Dance is out with their newest version for 2021. Tweens and teens can create playlists and customize Just Dance parties.

Find a big enough space and the entire family can have a dance party. Plus, if younger siblings are playing, you can opt for kids mode for kid-friendly songs.

Available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Stadia, your tweens will likely stay active for hours dancing to the 40 new tunes and beats from Just Dance 2021.

Hasbro Twister Ultimate

With a bigger mat and more colored spots, what more could you ask for? This family classic is twice the original game’s size, making it a fun indoor activity for tweens and their friends.

Kids will twist, bend, and laugh, all while challenging their core, glutes, quads, and upper body muscles to keep them from falling on their opponents. The upgrades also include the Twister Spinner Alexa, giving tweens and teens the option of spinner-less play.

SKLZ Pro Mini Hoop Midnight

Whether your tween uses an indoor hoop to sink a few three-pointers before bed or practices their layups between homework and chores, this glow-in-the-dark pro-style basketball hoop is designed to keep them active throughout the day.

The unit is ready to hang over the door, or you can take the mount off and attach it to a wall. The hoop and backboard come with a ball, but you can order an extra one for $6.

VIAHART Goodminton

No net, no problem! With Goodminton, tweens can have a blast playing indoor badminton without the net. Dubbed “the world’s easiest racquet game,” this is an inexpensive way to keep kids active indoors during the long winter months.

Not only does the game build hand-eye coordination, but it’s a great way to introduce tweens to racquet sports like tennis, squash, racquetball, and pickleball. The game comes with two wooden paddles and four birdies (two fast speed and two slow speed).

Best active indoor toys for teens

Carrom Balance Board

Spending a long winter indoors means a lot of extra time to master a challenge, and that’s exactly what your teen (and you!) will get with the Carrom Balance Board. Challenge your teen to improve their balance, coordination, muscle strength, and skill with this quality balance board.

The boards conditioning component is designed for all athletes, while the real-life training element a balance board provides is ideal for skiers, skateboarders, and surfers. Use the board in a standing, kneeling, or sitting position for total body strengthening.

Plus, your teen can choose the color and design that best fits their personality. The Carrom Balance Board is intended for use by teens and adults ages 13 and older.

Dripex Freestanding Punching Bag

Teens, tweens, and adults can build strength, burn calories, and bust stress with this freestanding punching bag. Tuck it into a corner on any type of even floor, and your teen can sneak away between homework and chores for a few punches and kicks. Or, turn on some tunes for a high-intensity kickboxing workout.

The base is built for easy roll relocation, so that you can move it anywhere in the house. Plus, parents can get in on the action too. This bag is appropriate for adults or teens 47 to 73 inches tall.

Pop-A-Shot Dual Shot Sport

If you have an active teen who needs to get the wiggles out, consider this arcade basketball game. Designed for solo play or dual competition, the Pop-A-Shot Dual Shot Sport basketball game comes with 2 hoops, 4 mini balls, a large scoreboard, 10 individual games, and 6 audio options.

You’ll need a decent-sized space such as a playroom or basement while playing the game, but the whole unit does fold up for storage.

Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure

If you have a Nintendo Switch, this game is definitely worth adding to your lineup. Designed to be an adventure game that’s also a workout, your teen will jog, sprint, squat, high knee, punch, and press their way to better fitness, all while having fun.

Ring Fit comes with the game plus the Ring-Con and Leg Strap accessories, which measure your real-world actions and turn them into in-game movements.

Being indoors isn’t so bad when there are plenty of ways to keep your kids busy. From simple stepping stones and classic games like Twister to balance boards, basketball hoops, and ride-along toys, you’ll have no problem finding an active indoor toy for every age and stage.