I’m Obsessed with These Fun, Affordable Indoor Exercise Kits (My Kids Are Too!)
While 2021 has quite a bit of hope on the horizon (vaccines! reopenings!) the present reality for my family is still the cautious lockdown and quarantine we observed for most of 2020. That plus the extra-gray Ohio weather is tough for my kids’ exercise and energy. They get outside as much as possible, but I also entered 2021 determined to create more active play opportunities for them indoors. I live in a house, but we don’t have a dedicated play space like a basement or play room where they could have a trampoline or other active toys.
I looked around for some fresh ideas for indoor play and found a new-to-me resource: outlets that sell school and gymnastics equipment. No, I’m not in the market for preschool-sized ball pits or gymnastics tumbling tracks, but these more institutional outlets aimed towards teachers and daycare owners had some unexpected products that also make sense for families—even families in small spaces. (We have an IKEA FRIHETEN storage sofa in the family room, and my goal was to make anything new fit and tuck away neatly in the storage area.)
Browsing one of these sites, Flaghouse, which focuses on sports, teaching, and special needs equipment, I found that they have leaned into the shift towards at-home learning with some really fun and brilliant at-home learning kits. (I also have to shout out their customer service; instantly available and amazingly helpful when one of our purchases got lost in the pre-Christmas mail.) I was drawn towards a big kit that included many things you might find in a preschool or kindergarten classroom: a hopscotch mat, alphabet beanbags, movement scarves, and more. I especially loved the big foam fitness dice: throw them to get an assignment (hop on one foot!). Instead of prescriptive toys, this was an open-ended free movement set that let us create a lot of fun ways to move, jump, and play indoors.
I bought this for my girls for Christmas, along with two other gymnastics class favorites my daughter had loved back at the gym:
This big parachute was a huge favorite for her at the gym. This one is inexpensive and has handles little hands can grab. We use it to toss their dolls (or the movement scarves) in the air.
These squeaky sound steps are a little more of an investment but hugely fun. The “squeaking” is actually a humorous little squawk that doesn’t get annoying. We create mini obstacle courses for them where they need to get across the kitchen floor by hopping on these.
The best part of all this equipment? Unlike a trampoline or a slide, it all folds up and stacks up very compactly, and I can tuck it away in the sofa storage, exactly where I wanted it to go.