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17 best indoor toys for kids that will keep them active

They’ll be on the move — and out of your hair.
17 great toys to keep your kids active indoors
TODAY illustration / Amazon/HearthSong

Every parent knows there’s a certain blissful serenity when their kids occupy themselves for hours on end. And things get truly magical if children don’t fight with their siblings or make a mess. But as temperatures remain frigid outside, tempers rise inside when kids are cooped up with energy to burn.

The good news is, there are a whole slew of sanity-saving indoor toys that’ll get your kids moving, climbing, jumping and laughing throughout the long winter. And they may even give you time to enjoy a cup of coffee…by yourself.

Best active indoor toys for kids

1. HearthSong Pick Up and Go Portable Table Tennis

This easy-to-assemble ping pong table has a small footprint for indoors, and it’s easy to transport and store. It's perfect for working on hand-eye coordination and having family-friendly battles on cold or rainy days. The only challenge: Its small surface area requires a little patience learning how hard to hit the ball.

2. Indoor Magnetic Dart Board

Add some healthy competition without adding holes to your walls and furniture. This highly-rated board comes with safe-for-kids darts that have strong magnets instead of sharp points. Plus, their mesh tails are virtually indestructible.

3. FBSport Folding Balance Beam

Your kid doesn’t have to be a gymnast to love this. Its construction is soft but firm, so they can safely work on their balance or practice things like cartwheels, jumps and kicks. It’s even a fun potential addition to any obstacle course, and it folds up for easy storage.

4. Kinderfeets Waldorf Original Balance Board

Made of heavy-duty beechwood, this top-rated board for younger kids supports weight up to 485 pounds. Parents love that it’s truly multi-purpose and can be used as a stool, rocker, seesaw, bridge, car ramp and more. It also helps kids develop their balance and improve body awareness.

5. Indoor Snowballs

These faux snowballs seem so simple, but they create hours of fun for kids and adults alike. They’re firm enough that you can really get some speed and good accuracy, but soft enough that they won’t cause injury or damage to items in your home. The best part? You won’t have to deal with kids peeling off layers of snow-covered gear and messing up your mudroom floor.

6. Gym1 Deluxe Indoor Playground

This is definitely a commitment in the sense that you need to temporarily sacrifice a door opening in your home, but it comes at a big payoff. You’ll get a core doorway unit and a swing, ladder, rope, trapeze and rings to keep kids occupied. It’s intended to fit standard doorway openings with trim, but reviewers mention you need to be sure your molding is securely nailed in, and some recommend removing the door entirely.

7. Franklin Sports Football Target Toss

They’ll love practicing perfect spirals with this target, ideal for football addicts and those who just want to improve their throwing accuracy. It comes with three mini footballs and stands at about 4 ½ feet tall, so it’s perfect for child-size hands and heights.

8. Wooden Swedish Ladder Wall Set

It’s a splurge, but this set can be mounted to any wall and offers several cool features to help develop kids’ muscles and body awareness. It includes a Swedish wall, rope ladder, removable pull-up bars, monkey bars, gymnastic rings, swing, trapeze and ab bench. It can accommodate up to 290 pounds and while it takes some time to assemble, reviewers say it’s well worth the wait.

9. Melissa and Doug Hopscotch Rug

You can’t draw with chalk on a snow-covered driveway, so this is a priceless indoor alternative. It’s great for balance and body awareness, comes with two bean bags and it’s machine washable.

10. Monkey Bars Climbing Tower

Kids can climb, hang and swing and balance — the perfect antidote when they get stir crazy. Countless reviewers rave about this tower’s use in a playroom as well as outside. Constructed from interlocking plastic tubes and connected by self-locking springs, its wide base means it won’t tip over. Full disclosure: Some users say it can be a time-consuming setup.

11. OgoDisk Mini Disc Set

This set comes with two light trampoline-esque discs and a soft rubber koosh ball, so kids can develop hand-eye coordination bouncing the ball to themselves or back and forth. Each disk can also be thrown like a frisbee.

12. Dodge Tag

Even watching movies can get old, so when boredom sets in, get your kids involved in a spirited game of dodge tag. In this two-player game, each child gets a mesh vest and the goal is throw and stick one of the soft balls against your opponent’s chest target. This also works as a constructive outlet for “sibling rivalries.”

13. Ring Toss Yard Game

It’s a yard game that doesn’t need to be used in the yard. Kids can work on fine and gross motor skills, and learn a whole lot about team spirit.

14. Fat Brain Toys Sturdy Birdy

This wildly popular game helps kids work on their balance, counting, focus and strength — and believe it or not, it’s really fun for parents to play, too. How it works: You roll the dice to determine where on your body you have to balance one of the “seed bags,” and for how long you have to hold a specific pose. Whoever masters all 12 poses first wins.

15. SKLZ Pro Mini Basketball Hoop

Help kids burn off pent-up energy with this top-rated hoop, which glows in the dark and comes with a 5” mini hoop ball. It’s easily mounted over a door, and the back is padded with foam to minimize door damage. Some reviewers even opted to mount the hoop directly to their wall, or to use a foam ball in place of the plastic one provided.

16. Hide N Slide Tunnel and Ball Pit

Parents of younger kids, take note: This tunnel/put combo could be a sanity-saver, and it comes at an affordable price. It’s got a ball pit, see-through tunnels for crawling and a target wall for throwing. So basically, endless hours of active fun for little ones.

17. Juggling for the Complete Klutz

Want to get your kid away from a device? This is good old-fashioned (and screen-free) fun. Recommended for children 8 years old and up, this set comes with three square juggling bean bags to get kids up and moving. And if you’re a parent who never quite learned to juggle successfully, take heart: This comes with an extensive book of instructions for various tricks, so your child is covered.

Editor's note: This item is temporarily backordered, but this set on Amazon is a good alternative.

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