As a parent of 2 boys, I know how important it is for them (and us) to be able to experience as many positive activities as possible as they grow and develop. Now, when it comes to physical development for children, obstacle courses are among one of the best activities for your child to participate in.
Top 5 Reasons Obstacle Course based activities are ideal for your child’s development:
- Physical Growth
Running over and through obstacles is not the easiest thing to do, actually it is the hardest way to move around ;) However, it is the movement through obstacle courses that requires elevated cardiovascular output, utilization, and training of large muscle groups, and the engagement of the deepest part of a child’s body-brain connection, that will grow a child’s physical strength and “abilities” in months not years. This has been proven to us for several years now.
- Physical Test
No, not a pass/fail test as adults would think of, but how a child looks at completing obstacles, specifically the larger obstacles, as a test. When a child learns that they can complete an obstacle task they feel empowered, in the same way that an athlete might feel for winning a game, race, or match. A child will feel accomplished for “passing the test” of their physical abilities when they complete an obstacle course. This is hugely important for fueling the desire for further development in the child, provides a child the ability to “gauge” their own physical strength on a realistic scale, and can be essential for their self-esteem.
- Memorization and Adaptability (Resilience)
Running through an obstacle course requires some aspect of memorization and the ability to adapt to complete tasks successfully and safely. First, memorization is needed for not only where to go, but how to negotiate a prescribed obstacle correctly and safely when arriving at it. Second, adaptability, conditions always arrive in life in which we must adapt to continue. In the military this was referred to as “Semper Gumby” (always flexible) or “If you don’t bend, you will break” to drive the point home that the ability to adapt is needed for success. So, sometimes a child may choose another option for completing a task (if the task is too challenging initially), or may choose to move around another student, or may choose to help another student that needs encouragement, and when provided a general task, they may choose how to complete it. This type of problem solving in “real-time” is what makes a great thinker, a good leader, but most importantly increases a child’s resilience. “Find a way, there is almost always a way”.
- Strengthens Body-Brain Connection
I am speaking specifically of the 3 relating terms of motor planning, motor control, and motor coordination. Motor planning is what sequence of steps to take to complete a task, motor control which is the ability to use fine and/or gross muscle control to complete a specific task, and motor coordination is the ability to use multiple muscle groups to accomplish a coordinated task. Obstacle course activities completed not once, but continued over time are among the best strengthening tools to increase these 3 terms relating to body-brain connection in your child.
- The Best “Kids Active Fun”
Kids grow up going to the “park” and playing on the cool equipment. This is great when they are younger and lighter. But as they grow into pre-pubescent times and beyond, the desire to play on the playground gives way to the dreaded “screen monster”. Try as we might, the screens will be a large part of our children’s lives, as it is for our lives now. So any chance to get them out and moving is great! One of the best compliments we always receive from our students is, “I am tired, probably will be a little sore, but man, that was really fun.” Giving a child a positive and challenging physical outlet is essential for maintaining a balance of physical and mental development. Plus, we as parents always feel less guilty for our children being on the screens, if they have already completed some sort of physical activity that day. That definitely helps us in our household ;)
Getting children running through the obstacle courses quickly and safely, doing exercises to support that, working to complete team-building challenges together, and having them assist each other in the process is what in our humble opinion makes Hot Ground Gym® a great place for kids to develop with.
Founder and Co-Owner of HGG