Let rats loose on the stairs? It seems like a bad idea, but as long as they are supervised, it is a great way for them to get out their energy and get over their fear of the "basement hawks"* Here are some videos of them (the first is NOT recommended, Scabbers and Link were VERY cooperative.)
Scabbers and Link
Fredrick and Snickers
*Btw the basement hawks are a rare species of invisible hawk that apparantly lives in our basement.