The following is by contributor Amy Anderson of Let’s Explore.
I am always looking for fun, creative ways to get moving with my kids. Since my girls were toddlers we have been making our own backyard obstacle courses. Our whole family can participate in gathering items, setting up the course, and testing our skills in a friendly family competition.
One of the greatest things about a homemade obstacle course is that you can use whatever items you have on hand. A stuffed animal slalom course? Sure! Hurdles made from rolled-up beach towels? Absolutely! As my girls get older, their creativity inspires more elaborate obstacle courses each time.
Some kids like the addition of a stopwatch to keep track of their course times. Other kids would rather just go through the course for fun. Either way, you’ll be adding some fun family fitness to your day!
Here are some of the many activities we have incorporated into our courses over the years. Think of this list as a create-your-own obstacle course menu – pick and choose the activities that match your child’s skill level and the materials you have on hand. Better yet, let your child be involved in choosing the activities and setting up the course.
- Lay down a board for a balance beam
- Walk the “tightrope” using a jump rope or garden hose
- Stand on one foot for a count of five (or ten)
- Crawl under a table or bench
- Go through a pop-up tunnel
- Lay a broomstick across two chairs and crawl under
- Crawl through a large box (top and bottom removed)
- “Army crawl” across a blanket or sheet
- Hop across a hopscotch board drawn with chalk
- Make a line of hula hoops and jump from hoop to hoop
- Stand on a marked spot and do jumping jacks
- Jump over soft pool noodle hurdles (prop the noodles below knee-height on two overturned buckets or boxes)
Pull & Ride
- Pull a wagon along a twisty garden hose or sidewalk chalk path
- Take a lap on a tricycle or scooter
Reach & Toss
- Reach and touch balloons hanging from a tree branch (at your child’s tippytoe height)
- Throw beanbags into a laundry basket or bucket
- Toss paper plate rings (cut out the center) onto a water bottle for a homemade ring toss
- Shoot a basketball
- Walk through a wading pool
- Toss a water balloon at a target (fence, tree, bucket, etc.)
- Run through the sprinkler (This is a great course finale!)
Walk & Weave
- Set-up plastic cones for a classic weaving drill
- Walk backwards ten steps
- Zig-zag through a slalom course of hats, shoes, or whatever else you can find
- Walk heel-to-toe in a straight line
Next time you go to the park, pack a few hula hoops, cones, jump ropes, and beanbags for obstacle course making on-the-go. Add in jungle gym features such as slides, ladders, and rock walls for even more variety in your course. A great activity for a group of friends to do together – or for making new friends at the park!
Have you made an indoor or outdoor obstacle course with your kids? What are their favorite obstacle activities?