These days, it’s quite common to find people who are renting accommodations, instead of buying houses, long into their thirties (and sometimes beyond). With the high cost of living in big cities, houses selling for above-asking prices, and the need to stay flexible since job security isn’t quite what it used to be, many couples are opting to live in apartment or condo buildings, even after they start their families. There are many benefits to renting, but tons of space isn’t one of them. So we’re here to help you out with 10 activities you can do with your energetic child in a smaller home or even when you’re stuck inside on a rainy day.
10. Create a craft bin/station
A craft station is a great addition to your apartment and is guaranteed to keep your child busy and creating at any age. For older kids, pick up some craft books from your local library that they can follow along with for more complex creations! It’s an inexpensive activity since you can pick everything you need (and more!) for a top-notch craft area from your local dollar store or superstore!
9. Build a fort
Fort-building was one my all time favorite pastimes as a child. My best friend and I would make a fort out of every spare blanket and sheet in the house, and then sit in it playing games, eating snacks, or reading books for hours. It’s just plain fun for kids, but it also helps develop problem-solving skills and creativity! They can use bedding or (particularly if you’ve just moved) even cardboard boxes! Move some furniture around, let them find the supplies they’ll need around the apartment, and let them go at it! You won’t hear a peep from them for hours … except maybe some giggles!
8. Invite your child to work out with you
Even if you normally don’t work out at home, invite your child to burn some energy with you! Kids love to mimic their parents. You can challenge each other to traditional workout moves and do crunches, squats, planks, burpees, wall sits, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, lunges and running on the spot. Consider purchasing a mini trampoline for them to jump on, which is guaranteed to help tire them out and work on gross motor skills too. Alternatively, put on some music and dance it out! I’m a huge fan of The Fitness Marshall who releases dance workouts for free! Choose some songs that your kid knows and sweat it out together, judgment free! Plus, exercising together regularly may help foster a healthy relationship with exercise and their bodies from an early age!
7. Create an obstacle course
It’s easy to make an obstacle course that’s age and ability appropriate in your living room or all around your apartment! Use pillows, furniture, tunnels, ropes, balls, painter’s tape, and anything else you’ve got laying around to create obstacles they will make them jump, duck, roll, limbo and run. Challenge them to compete against eachother or themselves! This will build gross motor skills, balance, and confidence in themselves and their abilities. Plus, they’re garunteed to sleep well that night after moving their bodies so much.
6. Balloon games
There are an astonishing number of games kids can play with balloons. Games include “Don’t Let the Balloon Touch the Floor”; balloon soccer, volleyball, or hockey; balloon pinatas; balloon waddle races; balloon stomp and so many more (that you can find with a quick search). So grab a pack of balloons from the dollar store and blow some up the next time your kiddo needs to burn some energy!
5. Play an active board or video game
Playing an active game that doesn’t require alot of space is a game-changer in an apartment or condo. With a little search online, there are tons of active board games for all ages! But some of our favorites are: Richard Scarry Airport Game (3+), Memo Yoga Card Game (3+), Angelina Ballerina Dance With Me Game (3+), Jake and the Never Land Pirates Never Land Challenge (3+), Cranium Hullabaloo (4+), Cat in the Hat I Can Do That! (4+), Sturdy Birdy (5+), and Twister (6+). If you have a Wii console, consider getting some games that encourage lots of movement to burn off some of that energy, like Just Dance!
4. Find a quiet time toy they like
There are many quiet time toys that are great to play with in an apartment or condo. Toys like Lego, K’Nex, and Playmobile are all examples of great imagination-building toys that can be purchased in kits and make for hours of indoor play time. You don’t need to buy a ton at once! Make a date of it and go to the toy shop together to pick out their first kit!
3. Cook or bake together
No matter how small your apartment is, I can almost guarantee that it’s got a kitchen! Find some kid-friendly (and age appropriate) recipes online or go to your local library to take out some cookbooks. Not only will they learn life skills that will serve them as they get older, they’ll hopefully develop a lifelong passion for making and trying new foods! Fingers crossed – say goodbye to your picky eater!
2. Let them help
So often kids want to help their mom or dad out with stuff around the home because they always want to be just like them! It often seems easier to say “no” so that the insert chore here doesn’t take even longer to do. However, putting your willing helper to work will give them something to do and a sense of satisfaction. And perhaps when they’re a little older, it’ll actually be helpful! Either way, it’s a great lesson for them to learn – that everyone contributes in a family!
1. Sign up for community programs
This is last on our list because it’s a bit of a cheat since it’s not technically indoors! Did you know that most cities have inexpensive community programs including swim lessons, fitness programs, sports leagues, and workshops about every activity under the sun! Consider signing your child up for an activity or two (or three or four during the summer break)? They’ll get to meet new friends, learn a new or hone an existing skill, explore their interests, and burn off some energy! So many people don’t know about these programs, but they’re so accessible and a great opportunity to get your child out of the apartment without breaking the bank. Most often you can find information on your city’s website or pick up a quarterly magazine-type copy from any public places (like libraries, pools, or city hall).