Creating an obstacle course for kids keeps them busy for hours and provides an array of benefits including fun, development and exercise. Kids can learn new skills by helping you construct the courses, and then they can race through them, trying to beat their best time. Fashion the following creative DIY obstacle courses indoors and outdoors to delight your little ones.
Indoor DIY Obstacle Courses for Kids
When making a DIY indoor obstacle course, be sure to create something that's safe, simple to set-up, and easy to clean up. If you lack outdoor space to roam, or weather doesn't permit outdoor activities, you can still create a fun and challenging indoor course that will wow your kids.
DIY Laser Maze Course
Using painter's tape or streamers and a long hallway space, create a pseudo laser maze for kids to crawl through. Depending on your children's ages, you can make this maze complex or simple. For more complex mazes, add more tape or steamers. For young children, keep the amount of material used in the maze to a minimum. Can your kids complete this delicate maze without breaking the streamers or the tape? They might be surprised to learn that navigating their way through the maze is more challenging than it appears.
Balance Based Obstacle Course
Set up objects sourced from your home that will test your children's balance. Use throw pillows, couch cushions, painter's tape, etc. to create wide planks to crawl across and thin lines to test their balance on. Include a section where kids have to balance on an object for a certain amount of time using only one foot. The key to this course is to complete it without ever falling off the object they are balancing on or traveling across. If kids easily make it through the course, add a layer of difficulty, and see if they can make it through with their hands tied behind their back.
Follow the Line Obstacle Course
Use masking tape or painter's tape to make a trail of lines throughout your home. Can kids follow the maze of lines without ever veering off? For an added challenge, see if kids can walk the tape line with a bean bag atop their heads. They will have to slow down if they have any hope of getting through this maze without the bean bag tumbling off.
The Floor Is Lava Obstacle Course
The Floor is Lava is a fun activity for children to participate in on days where outside play isn't ideal. Take the concept of hopping about without ever touching the floor's surface to a new level by fashioning an obstacle course. Set up cushions and turned over buckets on the living room or basement floor. Bring in extra chairs or other items that children can safely balance on. Tell kids they have to get from one side of the room to the other without touching the floor because, in this game, the floor is lava!
Toss the Ball Course
Soft balls of different sizes can be the focal point of an indoor DIY obstacle course. Set up various challenges in a room that allows kids to use their tossing skills. They may have to toss the balls into various-sized buckets, hit a target on the wall, roll them into a circle taped to the floor, or knock down pins with them. The goal of this course is to perfect each tossing, rolling, or throwing challenge before moving on to the next course element.
Toddler Obstacle Course Ideas
When making an obstacle course for toddlers, you'll want to keep the tasks simple. Choose one task that focuses on gross or fine motor skills and create the course around that simple task. Ideas for an easy DIY toddler obstacle course are:
- Pouring water from a bowl into a cup using a measuring cup
- Crawling under chairs lined up in a row
- Two foot hopping over a line of stuffed animals
- Pushing a toy car along a line of tape on the floor
Outdoor DIY Obstacle Courses for Kids
Moving your course outside opens up multiple possibilities for creating innovative challenges for kids. Use the natural space to encourage your little ones to jump, run, throw and crawl through the course elements you create.
Wild Water Obstacle Course
An obstacle course that gets kids drenched is always going to be a winning activity. When the weather turns warm, use squirt guns and douse your kids as they run through sections of the course. Set up a sprinkler and have kids perfect a task like jumping rope or hula hooping as they get sprayed. Toss water balloons at a target, and don't forget to set up a Slip 'N Slide to finish off this wet and wild obstacle course.
Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course
Older kids can emulate the popular Ninja Warrior television show right in their own backyard. This course is suitable for older kids with bigger muscles, since completing it takes a good amount of brawn and brains. Be sure to monitor your children as they run through this course, so no injuries occur.
Pool Noodle Obstacle Course
Pool noodles are inexpensive and incredibly versatile obstacle course elements to incorporate in your design. If you buy enough of them, you can fashion a pool noodle obstacle course wholly constructed out of noodles! Have kids crawl through them, hop over them, use them in ring toss, walk on them and weave through them.
Outdoor Toy Course
Chances are you have tons of outdoor toys sitting around in the garage and the shed. Put them all to good use and make an obstacle course based on familiar outside toys. Include a section where kids ride on bikes or push toys through a sidewalk chalk track on the driveway. Have a pogo stick or hula hoop section of the course and challenge kids to a certain number of pogo hops or a time limit to keep the hula hoop up. Use jump ropes, do a basketball toss, and finish the course off with monkey bars or a slide on a playscape in the backyard.
Go Glow in the Dark
Truth be told, everything is a little more fun at night. Use glow sticks to light up a backyard course after the sun goes down. Create glow stick circles for kids to hop in, light up a bucket by putting a few glow sticks in it and paint a bouncy ball with glow in the dark paint. See if kids have as good an aim in the pitch black. Line the steps and the slide with glow sticks to guide kids' way through this part of the maze. Get creative, stay safe and give the kiddos something new to try after dark.
Nature Obstacle Course
You can create a fantastic obstacle course out in the woods, mainly using what you can find in nature. To complete this course: include a section where kids have to walk across a fallen tree trunk. Hop about on cut cross-sections of wood. Swing from a vine or a rope that is fastened high in a sturdy tree. Do a rock toss where kids must gently toss small stones into a circle traced into the earth. One component of a nature obstacle course might be to gather five leaves, all with different shapes. As children run through this maze, be sure to keep a watchful eye on them, so they don't tumble off of a high balance apparatus or trip on sticks or tree roots on the ground.
DIY Obstacle Courses are Simple Yet Thrilling
There are so many great aspects of creating a DIY obstacle course. Kids can get in on the planning and creation process, utilizing their imagination and building skills. Work as a team to create something unique and fun for everyone to enjoy. Courses are easy to tailor to your children's ages and developmental stages. Simplify ideas for younger tots, or create extension components for kids who need more of a challenge. Be sure to snap pictures of your courses and write down course elements, so you can be sure to recreate the fun at a later date.