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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.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $50
  • $$ = $50–$100
  • $$$ = over $100

Best active indoor toys for toddlers and preschoolers

Hide N Side 5 Piece Ball Pit Set

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: active play, extended time periods, creativity, developing motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and muscle strength

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.

This indoor set is great for encouraging movement in kids who need to burn off energy in a safe and controlled environment. Plus, the entire unit pops up and opens in seconds, making it easy to store when not in use. Balls are sold separately.

Pros

  • This is easy to assemble and store if you don’t want to leave it out 24/7.
  • It’s good for activity and developing gross motor skills, and it works well for kids with sensory processing disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
  • It comes with multiple pieces, which allows you to tailor the experience to your child.

Cons

  • It requires significant floor space.
  • The fabric may tear with heavy use.

Little Tikes 3-Foot Trampoline

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: active play, individual use, balance, coordination, leg strength, endurance, and foot skills

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.

Indoor trampolines help active kids burn off a significant amount of energy in a short amount of time.

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.

Pros

  • It takes up minimal floor space.
  • The balance bar allows kids to hold on for safety and security.
  • It increases heart rate, builds leg muscles, and improves balance and coordination.

Cons

  • Kids require adult supervision while on the trampoline.
  • Only one kid can play on it at a time.

Gymnic Rody

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: imaginary play, individual use, movement, mobility, coordination, balance, and overall fitness

Great 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.

This ride-along toy can help younger kids get around the house while also learning how their legs, arms, and trunk work together.

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.

Pros

  • The toy is made with safe, latex-free materials.
  • It’s soft, comfortable, and durable.
  • Additional products, like the rocker and speedy base, allow you to change the toy for different use.

Cons

  • Kids may outgrow this toy faster than other indoor toys.
  • It needs to be refilled frequently.

Prince Lionheart wheelyBUG

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: multidirectional movement, gross motor skills, balance, foot skills, and leg strength

Ride-along toys are a classic for this age group. Designed to improve leg strength, grip strength, and balance, the wooden wheelyBUG goes backward, forward, sideways, and round and round. The wheelyBUG fosters active time and is good for busy kids who need a sturdy toy that helps them get around obstacles.

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.

Pros

  • The toy is multidirectional, and it promotes balance and gross motor skills.
  • It comes fully assembled.
  • It’s available in two different sizes to accommodate growing children.

Cons

  • It works best on smooth, level floors — not carpet or rough surfaces.
  • It’s more expensive than other ride-on toys for kids of this age.

Best active indoor toys for elementary school aged kids

hand2mind Indoor Scooter Board

  • Price: $
  • Best for: coordination, motor skills, foot skills, and active play

Want a blast from the past? Check out these indoor and 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. It’s a great toy for older kids and teens who need an easy way to burn energy.

Pros

  • It’s appropriate for a variety of sizes and weights.
  • The toy is portable and easy to store.
  • It encourages partner play.

Cons

  • It might not be safe for younger kids without adult supervision.
  • You need a smooth surface to use it.

Fat Brain Toys Ribbon Ninja

  • Price: $
  • Best for: hand-eye coordination, motor skills, balance, flexibility, teamwork, and friendly competition

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. It’s suitable for two to six players.

Ribbon Ninja is great for older kids and families who want to learn strategy and improve thinking and problem-solving skills.

Pros

  • It encourages group play.
  • The game is fun for a wide range of ages.
  • It’s easy to play in a variety of settings.

Cons

  • The pieces are easy to misplace.
  • You need two or more people to play.

Shape28 Stepping Stones

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: hand-eye coordination, motor skills, balance, and strength

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 XL stone. The different sizes give kids endless options for obstacle courses and configurations.

The balancing blocks encourage imaginative play, problem-solving, spatial awareness, and brain health.

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

Pros

  • There are different sizes and colors allowing you to customize courses.
  • It’s appropriate for a variety of ages.
  • You can use it indoors and outdoors.

Cons

  • It’s pretty pricey for heavy duty plastic blocks.
  • You may need to purchase additional sets for larger courses.

Best active indoor toys for tweens

UbiSoft Just Dance 2021

  • Price: $
  • Best for: learning choreography, footwork, coordination, hand-eye coordination, dance skills, and rhythm

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. This game is a great choice for younger and older kids who would benefit from a way to burn energy that might not feel like a workout at all.

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.

Pros

  • The game comes with 1 month free of Just Dance Unlimited.
  • It’s fun to do with friends and family, too.
  • Kids learn choreography, dance skills, and fine-tune their musical tastes.

Cons

  • It requires a video game console or computer to use.
  • The game is a subscription-based product, which adds to the cost.

Hasbro Twister Ultimate

  • Price: $
  • Best for: hand-eye coordination, balance, flexibility, teamwork, problem-solving, patience, and spatial awareness

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.

It’s good for both your physical and mental health, allowing you to improve all around.

Pros

  • It’s a classic game that will never go out of style.
  • This game is portable, easy to assemble, and simple to store given it comes in a relatively small box.
  • It encourages teamwork, flexibility, and problem-solving skills.

Cons

  • The toy requires two or more people to play.
  • It may not be accessible for all people.

SKLZ Pro Mini Hoop Midnight

  • Price: $
  • Best for: hand-eye coordination, upper body skill-building, jumping, and individual play

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.

It’s a great toy for active kids who need a quick and easy way to burn energy throughout the day in spurts, or all at once.

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.

Pros

  • Kids can play solo, with a partner, or in a bigger group.
  • The toy is easy to assemble and start using.
  • It takes up very little space

Cons

  • You’ll need a door or another sturdy surface to use this with.
  • It only comes with one ball.

VIAHART Goodminton

  • Price: $
  • Best for: hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, balance, friendly competition, and low-impact exercise

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.

Goodminton is a great tool for introducing kids of all levels to racquet sports, like tennis, squash, racquetball, and pickleball. Plus, since kids can play inside, they can practice year-round.

The game also helps build hand-eye coordination. The game comes with two wooden paddles and four birdies (two fast speed and two slow speed).

Pros

  • This toy is affordable and good for all ages.
  • You can use it indoors and outdoors.
  • It’s portable, easy to store, and requires no setup.

Cons

  • You need two or more people to play.
  • You may need to purchase more birdies over time.

Best active indoor toys for teens

Carrom Balance Board

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: hand-eye coordination, foot skills, lower body strength, balance, coordination, and motor skills

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 board’s 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.

Pros

  • This is a small indoor toy that can be stored under a bed, in a closet, or in a corner.
  • It boosts athletic skills and improves focus.
  • The toy is easy to take for on-the-go use.

Cons

  • It’s a solo toy that requires sharing when used with more than one person.
  • It may take some trial and error to figure out how to use the board without falling off.

Dripex Freestanding Punching Bag

  • Price: $$$
  • Best for: hand-eye coordination, upper and lower body strength, footwork, hand skills, cardio fitness, balance, coordination, flexibility, and motor skills

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.

A punching bag is a good option for older kids who require an intense physical experience to reset and burn off energy.

The base is easy to roll around, so you can move this punching bag 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.

Pros

  • You can store it in a corner when not in use.
  • It’s great for individual or group play.
  • The bag is sturdy enough for youth and adults to use.

Cons

  • The product has a high up front cost.
  • It requires assembly and some maintenance to keep working correctly.

Pop-A-Shot Dual Shot Sport

  • Price: $$$
  • Best for: developing hand-eye coordination, speed, focus, accuracy, and upper body endurance

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.

Dual shot sport basketball is a great way for adolescents and teens to burn energy and work on shot skills that require speed and accuracy

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.

Pros

  • This is good for individual, partner, and group play.
  • You can choose between batteries or AC adapter to power it.
  • It has solid construction and will be able to withstand significant wear and tear.

Cons

  • This is on the pricey side for indoor toys.
  • It requires a lot of space for use and storage.

Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: kids who are new to exercise or need encouragement through visual stimulation

If you have a Nintendo Switch, this game is 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.

Pros

  • Kids will tap into different fitness abilities like jogging, high knees, punching, and squatting.
  • The game allows you to customize workout routines for different levels.
  • It teaches users about fitness and exercise moves, and it encourages activity.

Cons

  • You’ll need a Nintendo Switch console for your child to use this.
  • It can only be played by one person at a time, so multiple kids will have to pass it around and share.

Choosing an indoor active toy that fits your child’s age, needs, developmental stage, and interest can feel like a daunting task, especially with so many products on the market.

But there’s good news: With a few tips, some targeted research, and input from your loved one, finding just the right toy is possible.

Here are some things to consider before you head to the store.

  • Size: Trampolines, mazes, and other oversized athletic toys may be too large for smaller homes and apartments. Consider where you’ll store an item, if it’s portable, and whether or not you can collapse it to fit into a smaller space when it’s not in use.
  • Type of play: Some indoor toys are designed for physical use, while others target both imaginary play and physical skills. If you’re looking for activities that engage the mind and body, consider toys that encourage thinking and engagement. Options include toys designed for building, problem-solving, or strategy, as well as obstacle courses.
  • Safety: Most indoor toys designed for kids are considered safe, especially when used appropriately and with supervision (especially for younger kids). It’s a good idea to peruse the instructions even before purchasing a product so that you buy it knowing you can use it safely in your home.
  • Age-appropriateness: Some indoor active toys are designated for older kids. If you have a younger child, consult the product’s age guidelines before moving forward. Additionally, older kids should not play on toys designed for small children, as preschool aged toys, or other options designed for young kids, may break or become unstable when used by older kids.
  • Helmets: Children should wear a helmet when using any toy that involves riding. While it might seem odd to have your child wear a helmet while using indoor toys, it fosters good habits for when they take their bike for a whirl outside, too.

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.