The Best Indoor Toys and Games for Active Play

Burn off energy in no time with ball pits, fort building kits, and more

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Packing a rainy or cold day full of fun toys and activities will help kids release some energy in a way that is just as fun as being outdoors. That’s why it’s helpful to have a few indoor toys and games on hand that will let kids blow off some steam without destroying the house.

Reviewed & Approved

The NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Balance Stepping Stones are lightweight and made of a soft material for kids to work on their balance to create obstacle courses. For younger children, we recommend the Kiddey Ball Pit Play Tent.

Indoor toys are designed with where the toy will be used in mind, so check where the toy can be used and any age recommendations to ensure safety. We carefully considered design, value, ease of cleaning, material, any age recommendations, and toy safety when reviewing products.

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

Best Overall: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Balance Stepping Stones

4.7
National Geographic Balance Stepping Stones

Courtesy of Amazon

Who else recommends it? Insider also picked the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Balance Stepping Stones.

What do buyers say? 87% of 2,000+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

The National Geographic Balance Stepping Stones rank high on our list because kids can create obstacle courses, time how long it takes them to get across, or simply work on their balance. 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

Courtesy of Amazon

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, this tent will make kids 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

Courtesy of Amazon

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

Amazon

Creative kids as young as 5 years old can work together to build all kinds of imaginative things using this connection set. Fit the building sticks into the round ball connectors at various angles to build rocket ships, playhouses, tunnels, or whatever kids can dream up. These sets are available with either 85 or 120 pieces. 

Best for Big Kids: Exploding Kittens Throw Throw Burrito Game

Exploding Kittens Throw Throw Burrito Game

Courtesy of Amazon

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 & Count Hopscotch Rug

Melissa & Doug Hop & Count Hopscotch Rug

Courtesy of Amazon

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 Game

The Floor is Lava Interactive Game for Kids

 Courtesy of Amazon

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. 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

Courtesy of Amazon

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 and under 60 pounds. The horse is attached to the framing with large springs that allow 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 they feed the horse its play carrot. The horse 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

Air Hogs Gravitor with Trick Stick

Walmart

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 or below obstacles, and it can even master more than a dozen tricks. It's budget-friendly, durable, and 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 game (view on Amazon).

What to Look for in Indoor Toys and 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. 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 doing so on concrete 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

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.

Entertaining

Think about your child's interests. What do they love to do or play with? If they thrive on physical activity, check out the Melissa & Doug Hop and Count Hopscotch Game Rug (view on Amazon). Or, if they are super into imaginative play, try 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. While your child isn't likely to encounter a real lava flow (we hope), they can imagine what they might feel, see, and do in such a situation, without any real risk.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much active time do kids need each day?

    Getting enough physical activity is important for children's physical and mental development. Babies need 30 minutes of tummy time or other interactive play time each day. By age 3, kids should be getting a minimum of 3 hours of physical exercise each day (spread throughout the day), and by age 6 they need at least an hour.

  • How much exercise is too much?

    There's no upper limit to how much physical activity kids get each day. More is generally better, as long as children are getting enough food, water, and sleep. They should be offered 3 balanced meals and 2 snacks, although they may not always eat all of that. Water should be available to them throughout the day.

    Infants need 12 to 16 hours of sleep daily, toddlers need 11 to 14, and young children need 10 to 13 hours. Getting sufficient physical activity can improve kids' sleep (and adults').

  • Is outdoor play better than indoor play?

    Going outdoors offers fresh air and sunshine and if it is possible, your child will benefit from playing outside each day. But cold or wet weather, busy schedules, or illness in the family could mean outdoor play is limited or impossible. In these cases, indoor play can help meet kids' need for physical movement. This will help kids feel better, sleep better, and learn better.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Ashley Ziegler is a staff and freelance writer who covers lifestyle, home, parenting, and commerce 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.

5 Sources
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. 14 toys to help your toddler or preschooler burn off energy indoors, recommended by a developmental psychologist and kids' fitness experts. Insider. https://www.insider.com/guides/parenting/indoor-toys-for-toddlers

  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Making physical activity a way of life: AAP policy explained.

  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. Making sure you child is eating enough.

  4. Paruthi S, Brooks LJ, D’Ambrosio C, et al. Recommended amount of sleep for pediatric populations: A consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. J Clin Sleep Med. 12(06):785-786. doi:10.5664/jcsm.5866

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Benefits of physical activity.