How to Keep a “Busy Body” Busy with Active Indoor Play Ideas

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How to Keep a “Busy Body” Busy with Active Indoor Play Ideas

March 23, 2022
posted by Amirra Condelee

     children playing on a treehouse themed playset

Does your little one seem to constantly have the wiggles? Do you often find yourself trying to bottle up some of their energy? Are they always bouncing off the walls? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then keep reading to learn how to keep a “busy body” busy!


One of the reasons why your child may be so active is because children learn through the exploration of senses. Did you know we actually have 8 senses? In addition to the five most common (sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing) we also have three additional senses: proprioception (the sense of self-movement), vestibular (the sense of balance & spatial awareness), and interoception (the sense relating to the physiological condition of the body). These senses give our bodies additional information about the world.


Children often love proprioceptive input which comes from movements like running, jumping, bouncing, pushing, and pulling. While most children enjoy these sensations to a certain extent, there are some kiddo’s who crave a lot more of it! If your child is one of them, here’s our round up of some of the best active indoor play activities.


       child in red wagon with side folded down in bench mode


Laundry Basket Push

This simple activity provides a big burst of sensory input which is perfect for a child who is constantly on the go.


You’ll need the following items:

  • Laundry basket
  • Heavy items (such as books)
  • Empty basket


First you’ll need to “hide” the heavy items around the room such as under the couch, behind pillows, or even partially hidden under a rug. Next, encourage your child to go on a scavenger hunt around the room to find all of the items hidden. They’ll use the laundry basket to collect the hidden items, so be sure to spread the items around so that they have lots of space to push their basket. As the basket becomes heavier, they’ll have to push even harder which is exactly what we want! The basket should have some weight to it, but your child should still be able to push it independently. Finally, when the basket is completely full, have your child transfer the items into another basket.

This is a great activity that works on upper body strengthening, provides proprioceptive input, encourages visual scanning, gross motor development, and following directions.


Magic Carpet Ride

This activity is perfect for your child if they love fast movement. It also works great if there’s a sibling to play along with.


You’ll need the following items:

  • Large blanket or large sheet


For this activity, you’ll have your child sit on the blanket/sheet and hold on while you pull them all around the house. If there’s a sibling or another child in the home, you can have them pull each other around. You can also have a smaller child sit in the lap of an older child. This activity is a great time to practice some pretend play skills by acting out different scenes. You could even play a game of I Spy in various rooms around the house.

This activity works on visual scanning, communication, language development, and pretend play skills.


Water Jug Race

Water play is commonly thought of as an outdoor activity but this activity brings water play inside. This works great with another person such as a parent, sibling, or peer.


You’ll need the following items:

  • 2 empty gallon jugs
  • Access to a sink or faucet
  • Funnel
  • Masking tape
  • An empty basket. 


This activity is a race and the race starts now! Using the funnel, your child will fill up their gallon jug with water as quickly as they can. Then, you’ll direct them to the “start” line indicated by masking tape on the floor (or you can use any object to mark the start line). You can use a simple phrase such as “ready set go!” or “1,2,3, start!” And have your child pick up their water jug, run across the room, and put it into the empty basket. You can either stop the race here, or if you’d like to add an additional step, you can have the child race to the bathroom and pour out the water into the sink or bathtub.

This activity encourages gross motor development, visual perceptual skills, communication, language development, and following directions.


Swinging Hammock

This fun activity combines the two senses related to movement: proprioception and vestibular. If your child enjoys spinning, bouncing, running, and jumping, then they’ll love this swinging activity that works best with two adults.


You’ll need the following items:

  • Large blanket or sheet
  • Bed or couch


First, you’ll have your child lay down in the middle of the blanket, then two adults will hold the ends of the blanket to pick your child up and begin swinging beside the bed or couch. Once you’ve spent a few seconds swinging, you can use a simple phrase such as “ready, set, go!” And on “go” you’ll swing your child to land on the bed or couch. A great way to encourage communication skills and language development is to say “ready, set…” and wait for your child to say “go!” before crashing.

Keep safety top of mind if you try this activity: be sure to not lift the child far off the ground and only play with parents or trusted adults.




Summer is just around the corner, but with temperatures rising in some places, it can be tricky to find ways to keep your child occupied in the house. While being in the great outdoors is usually preferred, there is still tons of fun, and lots of sensory input, to be had indoors.

Now that you’ve got our active indoor play ideas round up, you’re ready to go!