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Obstacle Courses

Even as an adult I love jumping from rock to rock at the beach, weaving in and around trees in a game of hide and seek…although I’m not so great at climbing through small spaces as I once was! I can clearly remember how much fun it was to do any sort of obstacle course as a child. Whether set up at pre school/school or clambering over some of the more structured ones at Kings Park in Perth where my sister, brother and I often played, they were always a great way to raise the heart rate and enjoy being active outdoors.

I have been setting up obstacle courses for my daughter since she could crawl. Young children once on the move love crawling through and around things & pulling themselves up to another view… And you don’t need to spend a lot of money on pre made toy activity sets etc when a sturdy chair with a light rug thrown over it or a low table with paper steamers to push past will do just as well and can be adjusted easily to suit the relevant age of the child. Babies will delight in anything sensory so it’s great if you can incorporate anything that makes a bit of sound or has texture e.g. grasping toys with bells inside that can be safely dangled from a chair or low table, crackling paper, soft fabric…it doesn’t necessarily need to be bright as so many toys seem to be, contrast (black/white) often works best for the really young.

Older children will enjoy helping construct an outdoor obstacle course themselves using all manner of things that can usually be found around the house. Some ideas follow:

  • Old towels or sturdy logs as stepping stones
  • Wooden or plastic hoops
  • Pipe off cuts left over from plumbing jobs (if you know someone who is building!)
  • Brooms to jump over
  • Sturdy chairs or easily moved tables to climb under – with light blankets to use as a cover
  • Bean bags or old plastic plant pots to weave around
  • Washing baskets to climb in and out of
  • Sheer scarves or paper streamers tied between two posts/trees to run through or attached to chairs/table to push past while crawling under
  • Skipping ropes to jump over or walk along as they sit on the ground – bit like a tightrope (but safer!)

I’ve found that my daughter and her friends ask me to set up obstacle courses for them again and again which I don’t mind…and they have come up with some pretty good ideas of their own. The photographs show just a couple of the more recent obstacle courses we have set up…I’ve found it tricky to take too many photographs over the years as children’s enthusiasm is infectious and I’ve just had to join in too! Obstacles are not generally associated with good times but this type is definitely the exception.