There’s nothing my kids like better than for me to park my car in the driveway, push all the garage junk to the side, and let them ride their trikes or ride-on toys inside the garage. Sometimes we take sidewalk chalk and draw roads and stop signs for added effect.
We also play a goofy form of racquetball with whatever big rubber balls are around the house. The game consists of throwing balls at the walls and chasing them around the garage as they ricochet from place to place. Sounds pretty simple, but the idea of getting to throw a ball indoors is simply hilarious when you’re a toddler!
If your kids are a little older, let them practice their summer T-ball skills by hitting plastic wiffle balls or squishy Nerf balls against the garage walls, or set up goals with plastic cones, chairs, or whatever you’ve got lying around the garage to play indoor soccer or floor hockey.
Instead of playing a sedentary board game or an even more brain-numbing video game, try a few old favorites designed to get your blood pumping.
Even the smallest toddler can play Follow-the-Leader. With you in the lead, take the kids up the stairs, around the furniture, and under the kitchen table. How about Simon Says? Have the kids jump, run, hop on one foot, swing their arms in circles, or do jumping jacks.
Duck-Duck-Goose and Musical Chairs are great for groups of three or more kids, who’ll find themselves running in circles to win the game. While older kids will get a kick out of a game of Tag, little ones will love running around the house playing Chase or simply wrestling and roughhousing with you. In the same vein, grade-schoolers can compete in jump rope and hula hoop contests while you help preschoolers see how long they can hop on one foot or how many times they can touch their toes in a minute. If you want to be really sneaky, have the kids compete to see who can clean up their toys the fastest!
Family Room Gymnasium
If you’re like me and are holding out on purchasing higher-quality living room (and every other room) furniture until the kids are old enough to take care of it, pat yourself on the back and toss those couch cushions on the floor to create an obstacle course. Start in the bedroom with a little jumping on the bed, run into the living room and skip around the cushions, add a somersault and start imitating your favorite animal by crawling and barking around Dad’s favorite chair, then slithering and hissing over the loveseat, add a couple of bunny hops over to the stereo and take a brief intermission for some crazy, all-out dancing. Dance until you’re ready to drop, then repeat the course backwards . . . as in walking, crawling, and hopping backwards!