A Homemade Obstacle Course Can Provide Hours of Fun for High-Energy Kids
After a long winter indoors, your kids probably have plenty of extra energy to burn. Coming up with activities to keep them busy and encouraging them to put down their video games can pose a challenge, but daily physical activity is important. A homemade obstacle course can be easily created and adjusted to switch up playtime. This fun, low-cost project can provide hours of entertainment for kids.
Use What You Already Have
Many items for an obstacle course may already be sitting in your basement or garage. Jump ropes, hula hoops, foam noodles and balls can be given new life when used as the foundation for an obstacle course. Small tricycles can also be incorporated to lengthen the course and encourage kids to work on pedaling skills. You can also tailor the activities based on your kids' current interests. If they like princesses or heroes, create a themed obstacle course and challenge them to save Rapunzel or Cinderella by completing various activities. Superhero-type activities can also encourage kids to stretch their imagination while they play.
Add Special Components
If you'd like to add new components to your course, keep your kids' age and physical skills in mind. If the course is too easy they may become bored. A simple wood beam, raised a few inches off the ground, can be used to help balance skills. Fabric, crawl-through tunnels like those made by Playhut encourage kids to move in different ways. The overall length of the obstacle course should also be considered. FamilyEducation recommends aiming for 10 stations in your homemade obstacle course.
Incorporate Age-Appropriate Fitness
Consider age-appropriate activities for your homemade obstacle course. For younger kids, balance, agility and coordination can be developed by using a set of fun-filled physical activities. Endurance can be enhanced by making the course slightly longer or adding challenges as kids master initial skills. Kids can work on jumping higher or gaining flexibility with different physical activities. The American Council on Exercise notes how older kids can achieve their daily quota of exercise using a cone obstacle course incorporating more demanding exercises.
Change It Up
One great attribute of a backyard obstacle course is that it's easy to change up activities when kids get bored. Even flipping the order will make the course seem new and different. You can also incorporate imaginative play by creating stories to go along with each step or station. Having the kids complete exercise challenges such a simple yoga pose or a certain number of jumping jacks before advancing to the next step is another way to easily switch up the activities.
Obstacles courses should be supervised by adults. Give thought to safety as you design the course and make sure kids understand the instructions for each station before participating. Allowing kids to have some input into the components of the course activities can help get them interested in participating and improve their fitness skills.