Obstacle Course

Obstacle Course

Location: indoor or outdoor

Possible Materials: cones, chairs, blocks, painters tape, jump rope, balance beam, hula hoops, large cardboard boxes, tunnel, etc.

This is an activity that you can repeat frequently by making variations in the materials you use and how you set it up. If you have "real" gross motor materials (a tunnel, stepping stones, a balance beam) you can use those, but feel free to mix in other materials you have lying around the house. For example:

  • a jump rope laid across two chairs can become an obstacle for kids to crawl under
  • a large cardboard box can become a tunnel
  • hula hoops laid flat on the floor can be "islands" the kids need to jump between
  • painters tape stuck to the floor can become a "balance beam".

Think about choosing obstacles that force kids to do a variety of movements, like:

  • hopping on one foot
  • leaping from one foot to the next
  • balancing
  • crawling
  • climbing

Also think about the texture of the materials you choose. Children will approach hard materials and soft materials differently.

Once you've set up your obstacle course demonstrate how to navigate it. Children may get excited and want to run right through it, but remind them to slow down and complete each step the way it is intended. You may also need to referee the turn-taking and making sure kids leave enough space between them so they are not tripping over each other.

Possible extensions:

  • Time kids as they go through the obstacle course. How fast can they do it without messing up any of the obstacles?
  • Allow children to build their own obstacle course. You might be surprised by what they come up with!
  • Narrate what is happening to reinforce the use of positional language -- "Jane is on top of the balance beam and Niko is inside the tunnel"

What We're Learning:

  • gross motor development (ie: balancing, crossing the midline, etc.)
  • instruction following
  • self-regulation
  • pre-math skills like positional language