18 - 48 Months+

3 fun ways to get the wiggles out

Young child marching with a woman outside

When we’re stuck indoors, it’s hard to find new and creative ways to release energy—especially when we’re little. Kids need to run, jump, exercise, and work out the wiggles regularly.


1. “Fruit salad”

Two children running outside

This works best outdoors, but you can also clear a space indoors that’s at least big enough to run around in circles in. There are a lot of ways to play this game; here are a couple:

  • Assign every player a fruit (or people can choose), and everyone playing—even if it’s just two people!—line up side to side at the boundary of your play area. You can be apples, and two children can be bananas and grapes, for example.
  • Choose someone to be the caller, and they say the name of a fruit—the person with that fruit name has to run across the grass or indoor space to the other end. If you’re in a really small space, people can run around for a few moments and return to the line.
  • When the caller says “fruit salad,” everyone runs! You all get mixed up together into a “salad,” then everyone chooses a new fruit.
  • For a simpler version, designate two lines across from one another, and people take turns calling out foods. If you like the food, run to the opposite line!

2. Zombie tag

When space is limited, tag games can be hard to come by—which is why “zombie tag” works so well. Your children don’t need to know what a zombie is; all they need to is hold out their arms in front of them and walk slowly 🚶🏿‍♂️

  • Designate a space for your game of tag. It can be small!
  • Someone starts as the zombie, and everyone else is a human. When you say “start!” the zombie tries to tag everyone—but the catch is, no one is allowed to run.*
  • When someone is tagged, they become a zombie too, and they try to tag any remaining humans.
  • Encourage zombies to call out “braaiiiins” as they slowly walk around looking for humans to tag.

*If you do have the space for it, designate a smallish area and allow all non-zombies to run. Once they’re tagged, though, they have to start walking with arms out front!

3. Run to colors

Child running to touch a purple piece of paper during a game of color tag

By age three, many children are starting to be able to match primary colors, and they probably love to move their body—this is an activity that lets them do both. Giving your child opportunities to be active while they learn is a form of kinesthetic learning, which links mind and body and is beneficial in a wide variety of ways.

Here’s how:

  • Start with three pieces of paper—red, green, and blue—and tape them up around a room (use a low-tack tape like painter’s or washi).
  • Name a color and ask your child to run and tag it with their hand; if they run to a random color, point to the correct color and try it again .
  • If they have a lot of energy, tape the papers on opposite ends of a long hallway, or in different rooms—you can also mix it up with hopping, crawling, or walking on tiptoes.
  • See if your child can follow a two-step direction: “first run to red, then to blue.”
  • Try adding more colors, then invite your child to direct you in the game.


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Posted in: 18 - 48 Months+, Playtime and Activities, Playtime & Activities

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