Obstacle courses are such fun for kids, and a great way to get them off the couch and active. Ask them to run around the garden a few times, and you’ll get no response, but challenge them to an obstacle course, and they are ready and waiting at the start line before you’ve finished the sentence! Get them involved in helping you build it too – get active with these fun obstacle course ideas for kids.
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Kids of all ages (and plenty of adults too!) seem to love obstacle courses. Maybe it’s the variety of obstacles, or the fun of slithering on the ground under nets, or walking tightropes, or getting wet, or just the thrill of running against the clock – either way, they’re generally a winner with kids, and you are guaranteed much laughter, from you and them!
Kids also love creating obstacle courses, so challenge them to use their imagination with objects, garden toys etc. that you have lying around at home, to come up with exciting new challenges. Remember, the only limit is their imagination – anything goes!
Check out this Obstacle Course video for further ideas.
What to Do
Do take into consideration mixed ages, and consider using an item in an easier way for younger kids, and in a more challenging way for older kids.
We’ve got a few ideas here, for objects to consider, and options for using them. You can use any variety/combination of these and as many/little as you like.
Once your course is assembled, get an older kid to demonstrate each obstacle’s requirements, and then it’s just a matter of sitting back with your stopwatch, and enjoying the fun.
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- Bounce a ball on a racket x times.
- Bounce a basketball for x times.
- Dribble a ball either kicking/bouncing from A to B.
- Toss/kick a ball into a net/target.
- Do a ball toss/beanbag into baskets/boxes.
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- Lay a ladder on the ground, and run through it, lifting knees up, without hitting the rungs.
- You could also hop through each space on one foot.
- If you don’t have a ladder, just lay out sticks in a row for kids to hop over.
- Lay rope in a curved snaky shape and have the kids walk the ‘tightrope) without falling off.
- Lay 2 pieces rope in a parallel line and have the kids jump the ‘river’.
- If you have a sturdy tree, you could hang a rope from it and get them to swing on it for a few seconds. Alternatively, just hang something like a rope/ribbon up high and get kids to jump up to touch it.
- With rope/string, make a ‘laser’ course that the kids must cross.
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Old Clothes/Wellie Boots
You could get the kids to dress-up in old clothes, wellies at a starting point, and then take them off in the reverse order at the next station/point.
- Lay hoops on the ground in a row/pattern, and kids must hop/step/jump from one to next etc.
- Lay a hoop on the ground and have kids jump in and out of it 10x – you could also use inflatable pool rings or tyres for this activity.
- Hula hoop for a certain time / amount e.g. 10 seconds, or 10x.
- Hold hoop in 2 hands and get kids to skip with it.
- Roll the hoop from one place to another.
Walk The Plank
- If you have a plank of wood, place it on the grass for younger kids and get them to ‘walk the plank’.
- For older kids, support it on raised solid surfaces (like blocks) and get the kids to walk the beam. Or leave it on the ground and get the kids to ‘walk the plank’ blindfolded/backwards/hopping on one foot etc. to make it more challenging.
- Rest one end of the plan up on a higher surface and get the kids to walk up frontwards, and down backwards, or balance a beanbag on their head while walking up and down.
- If you have a kids crawl-though tunnel, this make a perfect obstacle. In the absence of that, you could use tyres, pool noodles, a large cardboard box, an old blanket, or a large cargo net is fun and a lot trickier.
- You could also limbo under a piece of wood laid across the backs of 2 chairs.
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- Pool Noodles are perfect for many obstacles – you could assemble them like a tunnel and have the kids crawl through, or balance them on boxes and limbo under them/jump over them like hurdles.
- Learn, Play Imagine has lots more great ideas for use on their pool noodle backyard obstacle course article.
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- Use a water pistol to knock over some objects.
- Fill up a paddling pool and have the kids fish for 3 items with a fishing net – you can make this as difficult as you like depending on ages.
- If you’ve a sprinkler, try run past without getting wet.
- Have a water relay if running the course in competing pairs – move water from one bucket to the next using a plastic bottle with holes in it, or a sponge, and all water must be gone from starting buckets before can move on to next obstacle.
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- Balance an egg/potato on a spoon and weave your way through cones/obstacles.
- Do x jumping jacks on the spot.
- Do x push-ups on the spot.
- Do x tumbles/cartwheels/squats or any combination of them.
Over to you! Let us know your favourite obstacle course ideas for kids in comments below.