Have you ever had one of those days when you have to wonder if your toddler guzzled the rest of the coffee when you weren't looking? You're still half asleep and they're bouncing off the walls, fully capable of running a marathon's worth of mileage around the living room.
We've been there and it's exhausting.
Best case scenario you toss them into the backyard for some outdoor play. But when it's cold or rainy, sometimes indoors is the only option. Thankfully there are tons of active toys for toddlers that get them moving and using that energy for something safer than scaling the refrigerator. From toys that bounce to Montessori-approved climbing structures, we've rounded up some of the best ways to entertain the wild ones no matter how much space you have—and hopefully, they left you some coffee to enjoy a bit of peace while they play.
Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, ring toss games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when older kids get in on the action. With their low-profile and rope rings, they're a great option for safe indoor play.
Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand tons of use and makes a super fun addition to obstacle courses and races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.
Ok, so your first question might be what is it? However, a better question is what isn't it? Designed in Sweden, Bilibo is an open-ended toy that can be used for all kinds of games and solo play. From balancing and jumping on top of it to rolling and spinning around inside of it, it's a great way to develop strength and coordination. At quieter times it's a fun place to sit and read or incorporate into imaginative play.
Pikler triangles are a staple in Montessori classrooms and have subsequently gained popularity at home as well. Developed as a tool to help improve motor development skills, to forge independent activity, and to allow freedom of movement, they're endlessly entertaining for toddlers and bigger kids alike. This foldable version comes with detachable ramp that features rungs to climb on one side and a flat surface for sliding on the other.
Simple, open-ended toys are always on the top of our list. These colorful stepping stones are an engaging addition to indoor play, challenging kiddos to jump from one to the next. The non-slip rubber edge helps them stay put on pretty much any surface, but we especially love them for obstacle courses!
This indoor climbing structure is designed to begin use as young as six months and can be configured to grow with your child from there. Nine foam pieces can be arranged into stairs, a tunnel, and a slide, allowing your child to practice motor and balance skills and burn off all that extra energy. The pieces are easy to clean and Green Guard (gold) certified.
Since 1973, kids have been getting their wiggles out (and their dizziness on) with the Playskool Sit n' Spin. (Honestly, I'm a little queasy just thinking about it.) It's designed for little ones ages 18 months to six years and even though they're sitting down, it does take some muscle to get it going. The faster they can turn the wheel, the faster they'll go!
Ok, so you might not want to leave this one out all the time, but desperate times call for desperate measures, right? This six foot long touch sensitive keyboard mat lets kids make music with their hops, jumps and stomps. With eight different sounds and ten built-in songs, it might not always be music to your ears, but hey, they're having fun right?
You know that toddler who seems to be perpetually bouncing off the walls? (So, um, every toddler?) Rody is the perfect way to harness that energy in a fun and safe way. Not only does it promote balance and a fun workout for little wiggle worms, and bouncing is totally encouraged.
Go big or go home, right? This five-piece tunnel and ball pit provides hours of crawling, jumping and ball-tossing fun for kids age 1-6. Each piece collapses for easy storage, but be advised that the balls are sold separately!
Balance boards are one of the most simple toys with an endless amount of use. They can help your child develop their equilibrium while making for a fun exercise routine, then flip it over and it becomes a ramp for cars or even a small slide. It can even become a prop for imaginative play. This balance board is made of curved plywood and can support up to 480 (!) pounds.
For little monkeys who just can't get enough time at the playground, this souped up Pikler triangle brings the playground to the playroom. With sturdy wooden rungs and more challenging rope steps, they can climb until their hearts content and when they're ready for a break, take a swing underneath.
This trampoline is perfect for kids to burn off a little energy without having to purchase a massive one for the backyard. At 3-foot tall, it won't take up too much space, and the handlebar helps them bounce away... safely. Plus, it has nearly 21,000 top reviews.