Toddlers have a ton of energy, particularly toddler boys. Once toddlers become mobile, they go from walking to running seemingly overnight and then they don’t stop. Helping them channel their energy through positive outlets they love is critical for developing their gross motor and social skills (while minimizing the risk of breaking one of your windows). Providing the best indoor toys for active toddlers will promote necessary skill development while they have fun playing with what will quickly become some of their favorite toys.
How much daily physical activity should my toddler be getting?
As a parent researching the best indoor toys for active toddlers, most likely you’re just looking for a handful of new options for your already very active one-year-old or two-year-old toddler. As you grow your indoor todder toys collection, think about his/her ideal daily physical activity schedule.
- At least 30 minutes of structured physical activity. Kids need a minimum of half an hour per day of adult-led physical activity, such as calisthenics (i.e., push-ups, jumping jacks), a dance party, and games like Red Rover and Simon Says.
- At least one hour of unstructured physical activity. Kids need a minimum of one hour per day for self-led physical activity, such as playing at the playground or running around the backyard.
- No longer than 60 minutes of inactive time at a stretch, with the exception of sleeping. Having low-key activity periods during the day, especially before naptime and bedtime, is good. Children learn to unwind and prepare for rest with favorite books and TV. It’s important to limit inactive stretches to one hour. [Source]
I do have a few overlapping toys on this indoor toddler toys list and my outdoor toys for high energy toddlers post. It’s definitely a positive to have toys that work well both indoors and outdoors! Your high-energy toddler will be able to enjoy many of their favorite active toys all year round.
The Best Indoor Toys for Active Toddlers
Little Tikes 3′ Trampoline
Is your toddler obsessed with every backyard trampoline on your daily walks around the neighborhood? I know it’s not just my toddler son. He looks forward to the trampoline more than any other activity in his weekly gymnastics class and loves jumping on a little trampoline at home, too. The Little Tikes 3′ Trampoline is awesome for indoor toddler play because it’s small and easily portable.
Little Tikes EasyScore Basketball Set
I don’t know if a Little Tikes basketball set is necessarily every toddler’s favorite indoor toy. I’m sure that for some it’s absolutely a favorite. I also know that a mini basketball hoop makes for a fun activity to do with toddlers. As a parent of young children, it’s important to find activities that don’t drive you absolutely crazy, especially for the cold winter months with lots of indoor time. The Little Tikes hoop is perfect.
BRITENWAY Suction Cup Basketball Set
A suction cup basketball set is another awesome indoor toy perfect for toddlers (and adults) who just can’t enough of basketball. Most suction cup toys are designed for the bath. A bathtub basketball toy is a great idea, but you shouldn’t feel limited to this option. You can use suction cups pretty much anywhere that they’ll stick successfully.
iPlay Foam Bowling Set
After months of playing with balls outside, a plush or foam bowling set is a fun toy to mix up the routine and get kids burning off some energy indoors. I love the iPlay Foam Bowling Set because it’s lightweight, safe for indoor use, and the perfect size for toddlers and preschoolers.
I also love the Melissa & Doug plush monster bowling game, which features weighted bowling pins with silly striped monsters in bright colors.
Milliard Soft Foam Toddler Stairs and Ramp Climber Gym
Create your own indoor gymnastics setup, designed just for toddlers and preschoolers, with the Milliard soft foam toddler stairs and ramp climber gym. Gymnastic climbers provide hours of fun for climbing, jumping, running, rolling, and somersaulting. The stairs and ramp pieces are separate and can be used in combination with any other foam gymastics components, such as the Milliard soft foam toddler tunnel and ECR4Kids SoftZone tiny twisting foam corner climber.
Milliard Kid’s Stepping Balance Buckets
Stepping balance buckets are an awesome gross motor development toy on their own that kids just see as a fun game to avoid the lava, monster-filled pond, alligator-filled lake, etc. Balance buckets also make an ideal component for a larger obstacle course/stations setup in your basement or rec room on rainy days.
Green Toys Wagon
The Green Toys wagon is a small wagon just the right size for toddlers to pull around the house themselves. While toddlers and preschoolers have a blast riding around in a large wagon, they also really enjoy pulling a small wagon independently. My toddler son loads up all sorts of toys and stuffed animals in his wagon and pulls it around the house.
KiddeyChildren’s Dual Play Tent with Tunnel
A play tent set with a crawl tunnel is one of the best purchases you can make for a household with toddlers or preschoolers and pets. My toddler son and three cats sit in and climb through our play tent set all the time, and it’s always a big hit when other toddler and preschool age children visit. I think that a three-piece set, which is what I’ve linked here, is plenty for household use with toddlers. But you can purchase tent sets up to seven pieces if you’d like a larger set up.
If you’re looking for another tunnel to add to your play tent set or want a stand-alone tunnel, I love the Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Happy Giddy Crawl-Through Tunnel. It does have a door at one end, serving as the bug’s head. Some kids love being able to hide behind the door, and other kids freak out about it. If you prefer a tunnel without a door, go for the Sunny Days Play Tunnel.
KiddeyBall Pit Play Tent
The only thing better than a play tent is a play tent filled with balls. The KiddeyBall pit play tent features the same pop-up tent model as the set linked above, complete with a tie-back front door. Toddlers are guaranteed to spend hours of fun in their own personal ball pit. As a parent, you get a peace of mind knowing you can clean the tent and balls as needed to keep the area sanitized.
If you purchase a larger tent set, you can also get the balls separately. The Click ‘N Play crush-proof plastic balls are colorful and extremely well rated.
Playskool Sit ‘n Spin
Yes, you can buy an old school sit ‘n spin for your toddler, just like you had and loved back in the day. The sit ‘n spin hasn’t changed at all because why would you try to improve such a classic toy?
Little Tikes Rocking Horse
The Little Tikes rocking horse is another timeless kids’ toy that even the most tech-savvy little ones are sure to enjoy. The Little Tikes model features a seat design that prevents kids from falling forward or backward, making it a great choice for toddlers as young as one-year-old. The rocking horse is also available in magenta.
Flybar My First Foam Pogo Jumper
A pogo jumper is a fun toy at any age. The Flybar My First Foam pogo jumper is ideal for toddlers because it’s designed with safety in mind. Intended for ages three and up, it’s a perfect toy to help older toddlers work on their balance while having a blast.
Gonge Riverstones are a popular toy for preschools and day care centers. If you have multiple toddler children or frequently invite over active toddlers to play with your little one, it may be worth investing in your own set of riverstones. Similar to the balance buckets, kids will enjoy the challenge of jumping from one stone to the next, especially with a little imagination.
WisToys Toddler Pull Back Cars
If you doubt the activity level for pull back cars, you haven’t seen vehicle-obsessed toddlers in action with their cars, trucks, and trains. While there are numerous pull back car toys, I chose the WisToys cars set because they’re large enough to be toddler-friendly. The set will fit in seamlessly with numerous popular toddler-sized vehicle toys for hours of active, imaginative play.
Moluk Bilibo Blue
The Moluk Bilibo Blue is deceptively simple item. Perfect for fidgeters, it allows young kids to stay comfortable while they’re sitting on the floor. It also encourages all sort of creative games. You can sit on it, stand and balance on it, or flip it over and balance on it.
Fisher-Price Think & Learn Smart Cycle
Before you laugh at the idea of an exercise bike for toddlers:
- Getting to ride an exercise bike in front of the TV is hugely motivating for me, so how can I blame kids who feel similarly?
- Sometimes it’s raining hard or below zero degrees, and your toddler son or daughter is still begging to ride bikes.
If you live in a cold climate, are looking for a way to keep your child occupied while you work out, and/or are trying to keep you bike-happy kid from flipping out when the weather is bad, I think the Fisher-Price Think & Learn Smart Cycle is a great option.
LeapFrog Learn and Groove Musical Mat
For toddlers who are musicially inclined and still have a ton of energy, the LeapFrog Learn and Groove Musical Mat is perfect. Kids get to work on gross motor skills, numbers/counting, instrument names and sounds, rhythm, and general musicial appreciation. The toy is large enough for two young children or a kid and an adult.
What are your favorite indoor toys for active toddlers?
I’d love to hear about how you keep your young high energy kids entertained indoors! Feel free to leave links to favorite products in the comments.
When you’re ready to move outside again for warmer weather, check out my best outdoor toddler toys post!
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