minimalist playroom with ninja rings, a swing and spinning monkey bar.

Inside: Surviving long, cold winters with lots of indoor time with kids isn’t easy. Creating a movement-centered minimalist playroom will inspire your kids to get up off the couch and MOVE – without needing to leave the house.

The winter of 2022-2023 sucked.

My father-in-law passed away abruptly, which led to my mother-in-law moving away a month later. It felt like double the feelings of grief and loss.

Up until then, they lived right around the corner, making it an easy “get out of the house” destination for kids who were bouncing off the walls come February. 

That winter, we tried our best to get out to museums and the library and yes, yes, outside. But when the temperatures dropped below freezing for months on end and the roads were horrible for our aging minivan, leaving the house at all became a serious struggle.  

Half of us wrestled with seasonal depression that winter. It even made me – a self-proclaimed lover of winter – dread winter’s coming this year. 

So as winter approached, we knew we needed to come up with better solutions to get through it. 

One of our solutions? Creating a minimalist playroom that inspires our kids to get up and MOVE all winter long – without needing to leave the house. 

7 Minimalist Playroom Ideas to Get Kids Moving

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Where we live, winter lasts from early November through the end of March. 

Even when you leave the house 3-4 days a week, five months is a LONG time to be stuck inside with five kids. 

Could we go outside? Yes. And when it snows, they do go outside voluntarily for hours. 

But even as an adult, I have to FORCE myself to run outside three days a week throughout the winter. I’m not planning park meet-ups in sub-32 degree temperatures, sorry. 

My husband is the genius behind this playroom. He is the king of fun around here. 

(If it was up to me alone, we’d survive winter on puzzles, board games and screens.)

We do have an additional “homeschool” type room connected to the playroom that stores a few additional toys like LEGO and Marble Runs. 

But the kids prefer to spend most of their time in the “new” playroom. They spend hours in this room after the makeover!

You Might Also Like: 5 Reasons NOT to Do the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge

To attach all of the bars and swings to the studs in ceilings and walls, we used THESE hooks.

We also looked up several videos before feeling confident about using only two bolts in a stud for the sensory swing (American studs aren’t wide enough for all four) – it can hold up to 190 lbs.

1. Swings

We bought THIS sensory swing a few Christmases ago, but only when we moved it to a central location in the playroom (not the former doorway) did we really see its full potential.

Now, the kids play on it ALL the time.

They swing, spin, swing-spin and every other combination you can think of. I watch them and honestly wonder how they don’t puke after all that spinning!

We also adding THIS hammock for Christmas, and they love using it as an additional “swing”. We added a simple strap nearby so they can swing themselves. 

ninja rings and monkey bars hanging in playroom.

2. Ninja Rings

THESE rainbow ninja rings are amazing, and my boys love swinging on these over and over again. We needed two sets for our playroom.

You will definitely need something like THIS tape to wrap the rings and avoid major blisters. We also wrapped the monkey bars with it. 

3. Monkey Bars

The monkey bars are on either side of the ninja rings and can be used alone or combined with the ninja rings.

4. Spinning Bar

THIS pseudo-monkey bar hangs on a single rope, which allows kids hang on it and spin.

We set it up in a place where they can easily push off the wall. 

a collection of indoor balls, including a beach ball, soccer ball, exercise ball and small bouncy ball.

5. Balls

We have several different types of balls in our playroom, all of which get used regularly and inspire movement and play. 

We have THIS huge exercise ball (we got the Large size) that the kids use to… 

  • balance on while crossing the monkey bars,
  • bounce on, OR 
  • to play various games of their own making.

We bought THIS flying orb ball for Christmas that is pretty fun to throw back and forth. It’s still going a month later, so that’s saving something.

Finally, we have a simple beach ball, which is pretty harmless to themselves and the walls (there are no windows in this room).

small indoor trampoline with support bar for kids in playroom.

6. Trampoline

We’ve had THIS indoor trampoline for two years, and it still gets used today.

Eventually, I’m sure they’ll outgrow it, but if you still have kids in the younger set (7 and under), it’s great!

(They also use it as a support beam for forts.)

7. Balance Board

We bought a balance board (similar) for Christmas years ago. 

You can use it several ways, but they mostly use it for jumping off of, or balancing like a see-saw. Occasionally, my youngest will lay on it while watching something on the iPad.

balance board in minimalist playroom, with stuffed animal basket and squishmallows nearby.

Playroom Extras That Actually Get Used

I recently did a massive declutter and put a lot of toys into storage. 

My youngest will be five in a few weeks, and her strongest interests are art, LEGO, board games and playing in the playroom with her big brothers.

I moved Duplo blocks and a bin of dress-up into storage. Barbies stick around, but normally get used in the bathtub and at the pool in the summer. 

We have a few other toys stored in the “homeschool room”. But for the most part, what’s currently in the playroom is it. 

Here are the extras that stayed…


Build a “computer” or a tower to the ceiling. Make “sandwiches” and drinks and sell them. 

In my opinion, this is the most versatile toy since LEGO. They will likely stick around in our home for another few years.

We have a couple of THESE sets and a few add-on sets.

Pretend Play Accessories

From binoculars to masks to wands to crowns, we keep a small collection of items for pretend play. 

Stuffed Animals

I used to strictly limit stuffed animals. My fourth child was never really into them, so it wasn’t that hard to limit. 

Then my youngest came along, and she is all about the stuffed animals. She even drew her younger brother into the stuffed animals fan club.

Now we have quite the collection. But they get so played with all the time, so I’ve embraced the stuffed animal collection. 

Sheets for Forts

What’s a playroom without the ability to create forts?! The other day, inspired by new Bluey episodes, they created the most epic fort I’ve ever seen. 

They attached sheets to the monkey rings with twine for a ceiling, brought down mattresses and couch cushions, plus throw pillows.

So if you have extra top sheets you’re going to get rid of, hang onto them for fort-building instead. Keeping twine and clothespins around helps, too!


While the rest of the dress-up sits in the closet, playsilks live on. 

Mostly my almost 5-year-old plays with them, so they’re on their way out. But again, they are just so versatile! 

Related: The Best Minimalist Toys for Hours of Happy Play


Stools and ottomans help with all the jumping and swinging and launching, especially for kids who can’t quite reach them. 

Formidable Swords

We got these for Christmas one year, and they use them all the time!

Formidable swords come in three parts, which you can mix and match and replace separately as needed. 

Playroom Decor I Love (Not Sure About the Kids!)

I really need to love the rooms in my house to want to be in them. Thankfully, you don’t need to spend a million dollars to create rooms you love.

Educational Posters

I bought THIS leaf poster on Etsy, and combined it with a poster hanger

We also have THIS Northeast American bird poster with the same dimensions upstairs that I will likely swap with the leaf poster when I need a change. 

We have THIS world map that the kids reference frequently. 

I also created an alphabet banner a couple years ago to help my younger two learn their letters. 

Related: DIY Felt Alphabet Banner for Homeschool Room or Playroom

Soft Lighting

I used THIS set of twinkle lights that we use in multiple other rooms and strung it back and forth across a wall using pushpins to hold it. 

Larger lamps did NOT survive in this room and soft lighting is super important to me. Plus, the twinkle lights double as easy decor.

We sometimes move a small lamp into the room as needed. I also want to eventually add a IKEA sphere lamp underneath the corner shelf.


And finally, except for our windowless TV room that no real plant could survive, rooms without plants don’t feel finished to me. 

I bought THIS Jade Pothos plant (Pothos are my favorite!) and THIS macrame hanger on Etsy. The planter came from Dollar Tree for $1.25.

Pretty Storage

THIS metal cabinet from Home Depot sits away from the chaos and holds dress-up accessories and walkie-talkies.

sensory swing in playroom with ninja rings and alphabet banner in background.

Hopefully These Minimalist Playroom Ideas Make Surviving Long Winters Inside with Kids a Little Bit Easier

If we had a bigger space, I’m sure we would add a small indoor bouncy house, a slide, a climbing wall and more. We did the best we could with the space and funds we had.

Surviving winter doors with kids isn’t easy, but hopefully these ideas help!

Here’s to loving winter again…and spring coming soon.

Read Next: 35 Indoor Activities for Kids (When You’re Stuck at Home)


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  1. Love this. We are in Jersey and it’s so cold too we have an old mattress that they bounce on and mini ping pong table fort etc. love your ideas and blog. Will u be doing anymore wardrobe and grocery tips? Have a good day

    1. Author

      I’d love to hear more about what you’re looking for! I will definitely write more about wardrobe/decluttering in the future. As for groceries, I was considering doing a post about our grocery budget, specifically what we buy each month, possibly broken down into four posts (1 per week) with receipts and meals, etc. Would that be helpful? Let me know!

      1. Hey that would be great. I love the grocery and budget tips. They have helped so much! Trying to create a budget with prices and meal plans is so helpful. I love the wardrobe ones because I’m a tee shirt and jeans girl myself. The stacking points has helped me stay on budget. Thank you!

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