The 9 Best Indoor Toys & Games for Active Play in 2021

They'll wear themselves out

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

For parents of energetic kids, there is nothing more defeating than a forecast full of rain or cold temperatures because that means there won’t be any outdoor play. That’s why it’s helpful to have a few indoor toys and games on hand that will let them blow off some steam without destroying the house in the meantime. Packing a rainy day full of fun toys and activities will help them release some energy in a way that is just as fun as being outdoors.

Whether they’re big kids, toddlers, or somewhere in between, here are some of the best active toys and games they can play inside.

Our Top Picks
Kids can create obstacle courses, time how long it takes them, or simply improve their balance with these stepping stones.
Kids as young as two years old can hop in and out of this tent for imaginative play, or even turn it into a ball pit.
It's ideal for developing hand-eye coordination, getting out some energy, and just general target practice.
Creative kids can gather their siblings or their buddies to work together to build all kinds of imaginative creations.
Older kids can spend their day tossing toy burritos at their opponents, having fun while learning problem solving.
Ideal for parents in need of some quiet, little ones can stay entertained by playing hopscotch with this colorful rug.
Your kid will definitely be burning their energy with this classic game, which comes with colored felt squares.
This splurge-worthy pick features sound effects that are triggered by bouncing speed, walking, trotting, or galloping.
The toy senses altitude, allowing it to hover above to below obstacles and can even master more than a dozen tricks.

Best Overall: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Balance Stepping Stones

National Geographic Balance Stepping Stones

Kids can create obstacle courses, time how long it takes them to get across, or simply work on their balance with these stepping stones. They’re made from a lightweight soft material for kids 3 years old and up and come in packs of either five or ten. Each stone is designed at an angle so kids have to pay close attention when they’re stepping on them, and they can be played with indoors as well as outside.

Best for Toddlers: Kiddey Ball Pit Play Tent

Kiddey Ball Pit Play Tent

For some imaginative indoor play, kids as young as 2 years old can hop in and out of this 37 x 39 x 37-inch tent. Equipped with two see-through mesh windows and a front entry ‘door’ that can be rolled and tied up to stay open, they will feel like they have a cool clubhouse. While the tent doesn’t come with a set of plastic balls, you can purchase some and turn it into a ball pit for even more active play.

Best Sports Toy: Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Dilly Dally Tootle Turtle Target Game

Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Dilly Dally Tootle Turtle Target Game

Great for developing hand-eye coordination, getting out some energy, and just general target practice, this game has kids between 3 and 6 years old toss bean bags at a velcro board covered with numbers. Perfect to encourage your little ones to play together, the game can be played by one or two kids. If you choose to keep score, you can also use the toy as an opportunity to teach some basic math (either highest or lowest score wins).

Best for Multiple Kids: Obuby Connect N Build Kids Fort Building Kit

Obuby Connect N Build Kids Fort Building Kit

Creative kids as young as 5 years old can work together to build all kinds of imaginative things using this connection set. There are several balls that are covered in holes where building sticks fit into at various angles to then continue to connect with other pieces to build rocket ships, playhouses, tunnels, or whatever they can dream up. These sets are available with either 85 or 120 pieces. 

Best for Big Kids: Exploding Kittens LLC Throw Throw Burrito

Exploding Kittens LLC Throw Throw Burrito

Who doesn’t want to spend their day tossing toy burritos at each other in a dodgeball-like manner? The game has kids trying to collect cards while also trying to dodge burritos being thrown at them by their opponents. It involves strategy, problem-solving, and most of all, energy! This 2 to 6 player game is best for kids 7 years old and up. 

Best Quiet Toy: Melissa & Doug Hop and Count Hopscotch Game Rug

Melissa & Doug Hop and Count Hopscotch Game Rug

One good way to burn off some energy? Hopscotch! This rug has the classic game colorfully laid out and numbered 1 to 10. It has a non-slip back so it can be safely played with on uncarpeted floors and it also comes with beanbags to play the classic game. The rug measures 78.5 x 26.5 inches, is machine washable, and best for kids between 3 and 7 years old. 

Best for Pretend Play: Endless Games The Floor is Lava

Endless Games The Floor is Lava

Remember pretending the floor was lava when you were a kid? Now that concept is an actual game for kids 5 years old and up. The game comes with colored felt squares that are tossed all over the floor and players spin a wheel to determine which color square they have to jump to next, without touching the lava (floor) surrounding them. All that jumping and lava avoidance will definitely burn off some of your kid’s energy. 

Best Splurge: Radio Flyer Blaze Interactive Riding Horse

Radio Flyer Blaze Interactive Riding Horse

If you’re at the point where you would pay just about anything to help your kid get their energy out, splurge on this riding horse. The horse is made for kids between 2 and 6 years old under 60 pounds. The horse is attached to the framing with large springs that allows the rider to bounce as fast or slow as they want. Your little one will love the sound effects that are triggered by bouncing speed, walking, trotting, or galloping, or when it’s being ‘fed’ the play carrot. It also comes with a comb so kids can feel like they’re really taking care of it. 

Best Single Player: Air Hogs Gravitor with Trick Stick

Watch your kiddo have a blast defying gravity with the Air Hogs Gravitor! Children, ages 4 and up, can use their hands to make the gravitor fly like magic with no remote. The toy senses altitude, allowing it to hover above to below obstacles and can even master more than a dozen tricks. It's budget-friendly, durable, and is rechargeable via a USB cord.

Final Verdict

The truth is, if you have an energetic kid, any toy that will help tire them out is a good one, so any of these will do. But, if you’re looking for the best of the best, you can’t go wrong with the National Geographic Balance Stepping Stones (view on Amazon), or the Throw Throw Burrito (view on Amazon).

What to Look for When Buying Indoor Toys & Games for Active Play

Indoor Specific

As you're shopping for indoor toys and games for active play, you'll need to make sure the toy is designed specifically for indoor use. This has a lot to do with safety and how much longer the toy may last by only being used indoors. Typically, you might see a label on a toy's packaging that states it's made for indoor use only.

Indoor toys are designed with where the toy will be used in mind. For example, some toys involve jumping or throwing, and adding concrete below those two actions could lead to serious injury. There's a reason the toy is labeled for indoor use only as outdoor use may cause safety issues. Also, using an indoor toy outside could cause the toy to become damaged from the weather or lost more quickly.

Age-Appropriate

Just like looking for indoor-specific toys, look for age-appropriate toys and games as well due to safety and development reasons. Many parents and caregivers may not pay attention to the age recommendations of toys, but this should be a priority. Age recommendations are set by the manufacturer of the toy for safety, like when there are smaller pieces that could be choking hazards for babies and toddlers.

When you buy age-appropriate gifts, your child has the opportunity to develop at a pace that's appropriate for their age. A toy that is too advanced may overwhelm them while a toy that's too young for them will likely not spark their interest.

Entertainment Value

As parents and caregivers, it's easy to need a break from parenting, so we turn to toys, books, games, and more to keep our children's interests. Whether it's a break we need or we're working from home, you want those toys and games to have great entertainment value. Keep in mind before buying that the toys or games should be indoor-specific and age-appropriate.

Once you've considered those factors, think about your child's interests. What do they love to do or play with? For example, to get your kiddo moving for physical activity, check out the Melissa & Doug Hop and Count Hopscotch Game Rug (view on Amazon). Or, if you're wanting to tap into their imaginative play, there's the Endless Games The Floor is Lava! (view on Amazon). Imaginary play helps children build social and emotional skills as they imitate and describe realistic events and feelings.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Ashley Ziegler is a staff and freelance writer who covers lifestyle, home, parenting, and commerce content for a variety of platforms. She’s a mom to 1-year-old and 4-year-old daughters and an aunt to 3 nieces and 2 nephews ranging from 5 to 11 years old. In addition to regularly scouring the internet to find the best things for herself, Ashley spends multiple hours a week researching, comparing, and writing about products specifically for kids and families.

Was this page helpful?
1 Source
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Toy buying tips for babies & young children: aap report explained. HealthyChildren.org.