It might feel like we’ve reached that point in the pandemic when we’ve simply run out of ideas for how to switch things up and conjure some fresh joy inside our four walls. But if you haven’t built your own indoor ball pit yet, you’ve still got at least one trick up your sleeve.
I got this idea from Shari Medini of Adore Them Parenting (and co-author of the upcoming book Parenting While Working From Home). She wrote to me with this idea for parents of little kids: “Create an indoor ball pit by using an inflatable kid pool and whatever balls you have lying around the house. Toddlers especially love throwing the balls in and out and crawling through them.”
This idea really spoke to me because I was one of those parents who went on a major mission in late spring to find the biggest inflatable pool that my hilly yard could handle. I pulled it out, cleaned it up, and inflated it in my living room.
Yes, it looked bigger indoors than it ever did outside. But I was committed at this point, and although my son is 10 years old and decidedly not a toddler, he was all too happy to ditch his math work for a while to go in search of every soft ball we had in the house. In order to fill it up enough to jump into it, we also added some stuffed animals, a bean bag chair, and a giant Philadelphia Eagles pillow from the 1990s. (Half the fun was scavenging through the house for soft things.)
Then, he jumped. Many times. He pretended to get swallowed up and buried alive. He threw stuffed animals at me. And then, he relaxed for a bit.
If I had younger kids and I was going to fully commit to the ball pit lifestyle, I would probably splurge on a set of real ball pit balls. And then, if I had the room, I might also add a small toddler slide so they could whoosh right into them.
Also, I haven’t done this, but it feels quite tempting to try filling it with a bunch of blown-up balloons—not for jumping on, of course, but for general lounging and batting around. Like the world’s weirdest, driest bubble bath.
If your inflatable pool is this large, you could also line it with blankets and pillows and cover the top with a sheet for a fort-like feel. Honestly, the possibilities are endless here.