Indoor Games That Incorporate Movement For Cold Days

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the author of this blog (Sarah specifically) does not like The Cold™. Another truth universally acknowledged is that kids and teens have a lot of ENERGY that they need to get out! While many traditional Club sites have an indoor Gym space, some Clubs such as those in school sites or smaller community centers may only have access to an outdoor play space. So how do you give youth a way to move while staying snug as a bug in a rug indoors? Here are some ideas.

Im So Cold GIF by All-Round Champion - Find & Share on GIPHY

Use Balloons or Nerf Balls for Silent Games

One hard part of playing indoors is that the noise level can get out of control. A way to play that keeps it manageable is to use balloons or nerf-style or soft balls. With balloons your group could play volleyball or tennis (using arms as “rackets”), with the point being to not let the balloon touch the ground. Use more than one to keep more students engaged at the same time. With a nerf ball, silent speed ball or silent soccer is an option, as long as you have adequate room to move. Be sure to have a judge for bad throws that are uncatchable. Of course, you don’t have to play these games silently, you could also only allow whispers, or just let it get loud. 🙂

Dance or Move Along With Videos

If you’ve got a projector or tv, there are tons of videos online that youth can move along to. On BGCA’s National Virtual Club, you can find yoga, dance, and physical challenge videos, all led by Club staff!

Another that youth may already be familiar with is GoNoodle, a free site that features tons of videos for indoor activities, like dances, workouts, and more. They even have Indoor Recess compilations and videos in Spanish which are incredible. Youth at my Club also enjoyed pulling up videos from the Just Dance video games on YouTube to dance along to as a group. Word of caution for Just Dance: be sure to screen the videos first for inappropriate lyrics or dance moves.

Set Up Stations for Youth Choice Fun

At my Club I ran the Education room, and some sessions instead of a whole group activity, I’d set up stations with board games, art activities, computers, or items for pretend play and let youth pick what they wanted to do. After a community builder, consider leading youth through a group dance or stretch towards the start of the session to get the wiggles out, then allowing 20-25 minutes or so for the choice time (making sure free time isn’t too long can help prevent youth from getting bored, and solve some behavior issues before they start).

Utilize Hallways for More Space

If you can safely commandeer a hallway for your activity time, you can use the extra length to set up circuits or relays. These free Wellness Way printables from WeAreTeachers is perfect for a long hallway space.

The third suggestion on this page, Hula Hoop Hop, is also best suited for a hallway.

All five of the game suggestions on this blog are solid, but Hula Hoop Tic-Tac-Toe could also work in a hallway with a smaller group. (Sit Down Tag isn’t a hallway game, but could work in a classroom as long as there’s enough space for the tagger to move safely.)

Stay warm!

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What are your favorite cold weather activities? How do you incorporate movement into activities without a gym space? Let us know! Comment below, on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, or email

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