Help your toddlers and preschoolers beat boredom with their own DIY obstacle course in the backyard. Many of these items can be found cheaply at the dollar store or Amazon or can be created from other objects. Obstacle courses are a great way to challenge your gross motor skills. We use this activity at the end of our 2-year-old sessions, and sometimes in our older sessions as well. Even toddlers under two may want to tackle parts of the course! This was one of my favorite activities when we ran Playtime sessions for 12-23-month-old toddlers.
First, decide on the kinds of obstacles you’d like your course to have and how you can create them. I’ve listed some options below:
These are only a few options to get you started. There are so many other options out there. If working with older children, let them help design the course! Depending on the age of the children using the course, you might choose only to put a few obstacles out first. A simple course might have a tunnel, a carpet strip balance beam, and hoops to jump through before kicking a ball into a goal to finish. Next, demonstrate running the course and let them explore. It’s okay if they choose to repeat parts of the course over and over. Encourage them to try other elements, but allow them to explore freely.
Once your child has had some time with a small obstacle course, add more pieces and increase the complexity of the course. If the child demonstrates interest in changing the course, let them add more obstacles to the course or move around other pieces to change the setup of the obstacle course. Talk to them as they change the parts, narrating what they are doing, and then have them do the course again with their new changes.
I like this website for ideas for adding obstacle courses to your backyard. Did you create your own DIY obstacle course after reading this blog? If so, submit your images to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how much fun your Tiny Trooper had!
Rachel Moravec is the coach for Fort Bragg and the Technology Specialist for Tiny Troops Soccer. She brings her experience with children and working in the education sector to Tiny Troops Soccer. She’s always up for learning something new, and also enjoys helping her Tiny Troopers to grow and learn!