Your home as a gymnasium – a toddler’s guide

We are Trouble and Not-Quite-So-Much-Trouble, and over the last couple of years we have been exploring, experimenting and discovering an increasing number of ways in which our home can be used as a gymnasium / indoor activity centre. Your parents probably try to convince you that you have more than enough toys to keep you amused, but toys really aren’t as good as everyone makes out. Furniture and other everyday items in your home, however, can provide hours of fun AND keep you fit.

We are very lucky because we’re twins, which means that fairly early on our parents lost the will to try and keep us under control. It also means we learn from each other and can help each other to reach things which our parents repeatedly tell us we shouldn’t be touching.

With our easy-to-follow guide, you too could be using your home as a gymnasium in no time:

  1. Establish the ground rules early on. If you make clear from the outset that you’re going to be an adventurous, active child, your parents will make provision for this. As soon as you’re able to climb up on the sofas, fling yourself off a couple of times and they might decide to put some duvets on the floor for you. These are your crashmats, and already you are on the way to creating your activity centre!
  2. Climbing can be practised all over the house – don’t limit yourself to sofas and stairs. Obviously anything with rungs will be easier for beginners – a good sturdy bookcase being a classic example. Kitchen drawers can also give you access to kitchen surfaces – useful if there are tasty snacks available. But with a bit of practice you will be able to master flat surfaces too – as long as you have something to grip on to (a kitchen worktop for example) you will be able to hoist yourself up no problem.
  3. Chairs are your friends – if you have just started walking/climbing then you are probably discovering this. Climbing onto chairs gives you to access a whole range of things which your parents think are out of your reach. And the best thing about chairs is that they can be moved so easily, giving you access to almost anything, anywhere.
  4. A sofa is an excellent piece of equipment if you’d like to develop  your vaulting skills. Take yourself around the back ofsomersaults your sofa, hoist yourself up using the technique outlined above, and then somersault over the top attempting to land in an upright position (this might take a bit of practice). Your parents will immediately try to stop you from doing this, so I recommend you team up with a sibling or get some of your buddies over – safety in numbers. They will soon realise that continuously diving behind sofas to remove children is a tiresome and thankless task, and will then be applauding your prowess.
  5. Depending on its design, you may find that you’re also able to use a sofa arm as a beam. If not, then a poorly sibling can be useful – take advantage of them being sprawled out on the sofa and try walking the length of him/her.  This is a really fantastic way to develop your balance.
  6. basinYes, this is a simple bathroom basin, but that’s no reason why its use should be limited to the washing of hands and brushing of teeth. Next time you’re in the bathroom, give swinging from the basin a go – this is particularly enjoyable when your parents are attempting to get you clean.
  7. Similarly, simple tasks like getting down from the table do not have to be as dull as they sound. Rather than getting straight down from your chair, try leaping from your own chair onto a nearby chair before then making the descent. There is no reason why simple activities such as this can’t be turned into mini obstacle courses.

We hope this gives you a few ideas to get you going, and we’d love to hear from you if you have any ideas for us to try out. Happy vaulting!

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