Balanced Play: Indoor and Outdoor Games to Keep Kids Active and Healthy

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Lifestyle—It takes only a sentence to fully translate how I understand the concept of balanced play. That sentence is the following: “I am a single mom with two sons under the age of ten.” While it can be a challenge to find the space and time to take my sons outdoors (we live in an apartment), I make the effort to balance my children’s lives so they fully optimize their minds and bodies.

In an article in Early Childhood News[1], Jill Englebright Fox, Ph.D. states the importance of play for children. She quotes Fromberg and Gullo[2] in saying that play enhances language development, social competence, creativity, imagination, and thinking skills. I quite agree. I encourage my children to play both indoors and outdoors to achieve these things, and for them to have fun at it.

What is play? I loosely define it by a less confined set of rules, and more creativity in the use of time. I play with my children (or let them play by themselves or with others) to build their social skills, get them energized and sneakily bringing in a couple of lessons along the way.

That said, there are several games we play at home that you can try with your own children (ages 6-10, older or younger depending on your preference).

Indoor and Outdoor Play Time Activities

Indoor Games

  1. Pictionary: This game not only brings out my children’s artistic talent, it also teaches them analytical skills by solving puzzles. Additionally, playing Pictionary instills teamwork when we split into groups as our neighbors and relatives join in.
  2. Charades: A great technique to develop social skills and help children lose their stage fright and self consciousness, charades offer an effective way to mingle during parties or family nights.
  3. Chess and other board games: Retro board games such as Life or Monopoly are exciting ways to bond and learn different things. Play with your children for fun nights debating who the best at (insert game name here) is. My Chess Tutor provides expert tutoring services to chess players of different mastery levels.

If you have an indoor play room, be sure to schedule regular Soft Play Maintenance and Repair services. This way, you can rest assured that your kids have a safe space to play in.

Outdoor Games

  1. Hide-and-Seek: This classic game for kids will develop your children’s creativity and problem solving skills, while helping to keep them physically fit.
  2. Tag: Get your children’s blood pumping with the simple game of tag. This game will build social skills while also nurturing in your child a healthy competitive spirit.
  3. Jump Rope: Skipping is a great group activity for kids of different ages. It is lots of fun and helps children learn coordination and timing of jumping.

A balanced life of indoor and outdoor play is a great way to develop your children’s physical, mental and emotional skills. Try a combination of these activities to help your kids grow into smart and healthy adults.

How do you balance your child's indoor and outdoor play time? What fun indoor and outdoor games do you like to play with your family?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Pasha Lubeck is a passionate freelance interior designer. She is based in California and works part-time for Kichler Superstore. A hands-on mom, Pasha tries to give her two beautiful boys a good balance of indoor and outdoor play.

[1] Back-to-Basics: Play in Early Childhood. Jill Englebright Fox, Ph.D. Early Childhood News. 2008. <>

[2] Fromberg, D.P. & Gullo, D.F. (1992). Perspectives on children. In L.R. Williams & D.P. Fromberg (Eds.), Encyclopedia of early childhood education, (pp. 191-194). New York: Garland Publishing, Inc.

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