Are you looking for a creative and fun way to get your kids off the couch and outside? Try setting up an easy-to-make obstacle course in your own back yard. You don’t need anything fancy, just everyday things from around the house. Part of the fun can even be making and designing the obstacles.
Pull out all the stops – use your lawn furniture cushions for hurdles, or flower pots for pylons. Get a stopwatch to time the event and record the times. Take stock of what you have around your house and get creative. Let the kids help with the choosing and set-up of the activities. This article will give you some ideas and will give you a head start to creating a winning obstacle course.
Balance beams don’t have to be elevated off of the ground. Just lay a board on the ground and presto – you have a balance beam. Your child’s imagination will take care of the rest. Take a garden hose or skipping rope and use that for a ‘tightrope’.
Take a board or broomstick and lay it across two chairs; the kids can crawl under or do the ‘limbo’ through. Perhaps you have a box lying around that you can use as a tunnel. Do an army crawl over an old blanket.
Take some sidewalk chalk and sketch out a hopscotch course. Hula hoops can be placed on the ground in the same way. Jumping jacks can be sprinkled throughout the course as well. Pool noodles make great jumping bars that can be put on top of boxes. Tie balloons up in a tree (tippy-toe level) that have to be touched or hit down.
Ride a bike (or any wheeled toy you have) through a course marked by chalk, hose, or extension cord.
Set up a bean bag toss by having the contestants throw the bean bags into a box or hula hoop. Better yet, bring out the cornhole boards (if you have them). Make paper plate rings that can be thrown onto bottles.
Fill up a wading pool and get your kids to walk or crawl through. This could be a refreshing finale to your course. Use water balloons to target certain items. Fire up the sprinkler and incorporate it into one of the events for some added excitement.
Set up a slalom using anything you can find – hats, pans, shoes, pillows – and have the contestants zigzag back and forth between all of the obstacles. Incorporate walking backwards and heel to toe walking.
Anyone Can Do It
If your back yard is too small or you don’t want your prize winning Begonias destroyed by flying water balloons, take your tots to the park and set up your course there. Pack some hula-hoops, water balloons, pylons, and skipping ropes and don’t forget to use what the park has available – like slides, swings, and ladders. Invite others to join in your course.
Homemade obstacle courses are the perfect way to get the kids moving, and it won’t cost you a dime. Have you tried making an obstacle course before? Do you have any creative course ideas?
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Jessica is a freelance writer who usually pens articles for parents. She recently shared her thoughts about unhealthy competition and the joys of parenting a tween.