The first obstacle courses helped prepare American soldiers for war. While the military still uses it for training, obstacle courses for kids are, naturally, far milder, but still great to build physical fitness, promote creative thinking, and boost teamwork. They entail climbing, crawling, balancing, hanging, and jumping, demanding the full use of the body, and provide an engaging workout. Below are some inspiration and ideas if you want to build an obstacle course for kids.
#1 Spy Training Obstacle Course
This spy-themed DIY obstacle course for kids may involve deciphering letters written with secret ink, finding hidden objects, solving puzzles, or using walkie-talkies to communicate with team members. The only prerequisite is that the activities should have an “espionage” flair.
#2 Laser Maze
Laser maze is a great indoor idea if you have a long hallway where you can string painter’s tape, crêpe paper, string, or twine across to imitate laser beams. The idea is for the kids to race each other over and under the “lasers” without touching them. You can increase the difficulty by making them move backward.
#3 Tape Shape Fun
This is one of those easy obstacle courses to make at home, so long as you have space and tape. Get the kids to create a variety of shapes with low-tack tape. Allow them to jump, walk or run to each shape or target as you call it out.
You can also put a spin on the game by asking them to skip, animal crawl, or hop. For older kids, you can try the game with numbers or letters instead of basic shapes. Other fun games to play with tape include physical knots and crosses, hopscotch, or four square.
#4 Activity Obstacle Course for Kids
How to make your own obstacle course at home? For toddlers and young kids, you can use large stuffed animals, pillows and mattresses, chairs, and anything safe you can find. The laundry basket can turn into a makeshift basketball hoop, for instance. Home-made obstacle courses are great for crawlers who need to feed their curiosity and find an outlet for their newfound energy.
#5 Learning Obstacle Course
With this easy obstacle course, you just need to stick notes everywhere with letters, numbers, or math problems and make the kids answer or solve the questions. The kid or team to answer the most correctly wins. Placing the notes in unexpected places adds an element of hide-and-seek, making the game more challenging.
#6 Obstacle Course with Quick Tasks
Quick task obstacle courses are great if you need to get your children out of a lethargic slump. The gist of it is to designate small areas for individual tasks, for example, spinning around, doing five-star jumps, hula-hooping, etc. The first kid to complete all the tasks wins.
#7 Mud Run
As the name suggests, this obstacle course gets kids dirty, so it’s best to attempt it when the weather is good. If you have a large yard, you can build an obstacle course race with hay bales, tires, nets, and wood for kids to climb over and army crawl through. Your creativity is the only limit.
#8 Sidewalk Chalk Obstacle Course
Creating this obstacle course really only requires a piece of chalk. Draw an obstacle course on the driveway or sidewalk. You can apply the same principle as Shape Tape Fun or even create a racetrack for go-karts, scooters, and bicycles, which the kids will love. Other ideas include adding hopscotch, dance move challenges, and rope games. If there’s a large enough group, you can create a relay race too.
#9 Indoor Obstacle Course Ideas
The Floor is Lava is a great obstacle course for kids at home that requires minimal set-up effort. Players pretend that the floor is made of lava and have to move from one obstacle to another, i.e., furniture, cushions, mattresses, etc. If they touch the floor, they’re disqualified. You can ramp up the difficulty by insisting that players may not remain still. You can also set up obstacles to make the game more interesting too.
#10 Sensory Walk
A sensory walk is a kid-friendly obstacle course idea that’s less rowdy and requires some player guesswork. Kids are blindfolded and have to guess what textures, tastes, or smells they’re experiencing. It may be walking through water beads, finding objects in bowls of jelly, or trying to guess what they are tasting or smelling.
#11 Water Obstacle Course
Water obstacle courses are a fun way to cool down on a hot day. Backyard obstacle courses for kids can be set up for cheap with everyday objects or toys you already own. Set your course depending on the child’s age and let your imagination go wild. Here are some ideas to try:
- Kiddie pool with a slide
- Water balloons
- Pool noodles
#12 Animal Sounds Obstacle Course
Do you have an animal lover? Do you have stuffed animals? Then you have everything you need to set up a homemade obstacle course for kids. Set up a course around the house and make up different rules depending on whether the animal makes a sound or not. For example, the child can hop when passing a bunny or roar near a lion.
#13 Backyard Obstacle Course
This classic never fails to deliver hours of fun. Set an obstacle course outside using everyday objects such as chairs, benches, buckets, ropes, and hula hoops and increase the difficulty level depending on the age of the children. If you have enough participants, you can try races and relays in teams.
#14 Bike Obstacle Course
If your children are confident enough to ride their bikes and you have enough space in your backyard, you can set up an obstacle course outside to spice things up. You may use wood planks the child will need to ride on, blocks for sharp turns, or draw with chalk for a specific course to follow.
If your child loves obstacle courses (what child doesn’t?), then you should bring them to our kids’ activity centers and gyms in Libertyville and Arlington Heights. Our military-inspired obstacle course, classes, and camps offer loads of fun physical activity that strengthens the body and mind. Contact us today!