Want to make a great obstacle course without a lot of equipment? The key is to using versatile equipment and an outdoor space with natural obstacles like trees, rocks, and… naturally occurring picnic tables.
Light-weight equipment is also great when you’re the only one over 4 feet setting up the course. After lugging equipment during the first day of Miles of Smiles I grew to appreciate hula hoops. They are light, instantly fun, and versatile. Anyway, now that you know I am a hula-hoop nerd, we can proceed to a few more pointers about making a truly grand outdoor course.
This course was created for kids ages two to five, but it was so impressive that some older siblings jumped in. (They also could have been bored, but I choose to believe that my course simply rocked.)
I had 7 obstacles arranged in a oval on the park lawn.
- Obstacle 1: Tunnel Crawl (I had two collapsible tunnels to climb through. These are light-weight and easy to store.)
- Obstacle 2: Mat Jump (You could use carpet squares, yoga mats, or other exercise mats.)
- Obstacle 3: Hula Hoop Jumps (Reminiscent of the football training exercise using tires, but for tinier tots.)
- Obstacle 4: Hula Hoop Leap (I used heavy twine to tie each side of a hula hoop to two adjacent tree trunks to suspend it about 8 inches from the lawn.)
- Obstacle 5: Hula Hoop Leap Revisited (I attached three hula hoops together for this obstacle, the fun was they got to choose which hoop to jump through.)
- Obstacle 6: Picnic Table Climb (Yup, they just climbed up one side and down the other.)
- Obstacle 7: Hula Hoop Toss (I had a bucket of soft dodge balls for them to chuck through the hula hoop.)
Obstacle courses are a favorite for all ability levels because the obstacles are easily modified for older or more coordinated kids. They can do certain obstacles with one arm or one foot. They can even enjoy racing against themselves if a friend or adult is willing to use a stopwatch. Another great twist is when they get to the end of the course – have them do it backwards and finish at the starting line.
What equipment have you used for an outdoor obstacle course? How’d it go?
Need other ideas for fun physical activity? Try Move it With Dice.