How to Create An Indoor Play Gym for a Toddler to Burn-off Energy

It’s been quite a winter here on the East Coast, with blizzard after blizzard trapping families indoors with stir-crazy kids looking for things to do.  And I know moms all over the place have tried tons of games and activities to keep their kids busy…ahem, I have been one of them! I even posted a few ideas of entertainment that have helped keep my little one active for quite awhile during these storms!

DIY play gym -- a FUN way to help toddlers burn off energy during the cold or winter months when stuck indoors!

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But still, with a toddler boy who can’t help but run around the house and find trouble at every corner, I’ve been trying to come up with more creative ideas to help him burn off all that pent up energy…and I think I finally found a solution when we can’t get out of the driveway. 

It’s clear: an indoor play area/gym… right here in our basement! It’s the perfect way to let the kids go wild and crazy in the comfort of your own home.  Besides a few gym essentials I’ve listed below, all you really need is some space like a guest room or basement to make it happen!

Here is what you need to create an indoor play gym:

1. Ball Pit

A ball pit can provide endless hours of entertainment over the course of a few days without much effort and you don’t even have to purchase a super expensive or fancy one.  An inflatable pool with plastic balls to fill it up works perfectly. We purchased one on Amazon when our little guy was about 8 months. He loved it so much then, I figure he will love it even more now that he is all about diving into little nooks to hide.

2. Slide

Most kids LOVE the exhilarating feeling of gliding down a slide…even if it is just a mini one. We have one such slide that was used every single day in the summer time so I just decided to wash it down and bring it indoors.  It wasn’t being put to any use out in the snow so makes for the perfect addition to an indoor gym!

3. Pop-up Tent & Tunnel

I gotta say these pop-up tents with attaching tunnels are so much fun for babies and toddlers to explore.  They can crawl around and let their imaginations run wild. To make it even more exciting, I like to add little “treasures” or toys at each angle to provide more of an incentive to complete.

4. Ride-on Toy

I had to throw this one on the list simply knowing how much my little boy enjoys cruising on ride-on toys of all sorts. From buggies to bikes, these are every little boys dream.  Just remember when in use, you may need to set aside some of the other items to make more room for cruising.  If you don’t have a ride-on toy readily available, a horse rocker can work just as well.

5. Bucket & Ball

Think about it. What kid (especially rambunctious boy like mine) doesn’t love throwing balls around? Why not build a mini basketball court or play area to make for a real gym effect! No need to go out and purchase a hoop/ball set. If you can find an empty cardboard box or bucket you already have your hoop.  I think a nice twist here is to grab a variety of balls of different textures and sizes and let your toddler further explore his tactile senses.

DIY play gym -- a FUN way to help toddlers burn off energy during the cold or winter months when stuck indoors!My guy is already having a blast and I think your kid will too if you give it a try!

Have any other ideas for keeping your kids entertained indoors? Let me know in the comments!

You may also enjoy:This fun winter sensory bin is an easy indoor activity, great for practicing fine-motor skills and fighting boredom when it's too cold to play outside.



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  1. Such clever ideas and frugal too! Visiting from the SITS Girls sharefest.

  2. Love this! My kids would lvoe it too. Totally pinning this!

    Visiting here from SITS Girls Sharefest. Nice to meet you!

  3. Oh oh oh oh oh….when I saw this I gasped! How AWESOME. What a mom you are! Hey, please come by my TWO blog hops. I need you to share this on BOTH of them.
    Today is my BOOST MY POST (or you can wait for next Saturday if you already added two but I think you only shared one) and then Tuesday night at 7pm EST my Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop goes live. MY READERS WILL LOVE THIS! Pinning now. 🙂

  4. These are especially great ideas during this loooong, cold winter!

  5. Cute idea…now if only I had more room;) Thanks for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I have pinned your post to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board.

  6. What a fun idea! My daughter (7 months) just started standing a couple weeks ago, so it won’t be long before I will need something like this for her! Pinning for future use! 🙂
    Amber @


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