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Build & Play Obstacle Course

2013-06-10 by Allison MacDonald

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This build and play obstacle course activity is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Allison McDonald.

“Everyday play is what childhood should be about.” -Allison

Getting outside and having fun with your kids is not always as easy as it sounds. We aren’t quite done the school year and my son is starting to burn out. When he gets home from school he usually needs some downtime to recharge but sometimes that downtime turns into a whole bunch of screen time instead. To stop that in its tracks I set up an obstacle course so when he got home it was ready and waiting!

Build & Play Obstacle Course * Going through an obstacle course can help kids develop coordination, problem solving and gross motor skills, learn to think strategically and get rid of extra energy!

Gross motor play like this obstacle course isn’t just about getting rid of extra energy or getting some fresh air. While children go through an obstacle course they are developing coordination, problem solving, and even learning to think strategically.

Build & Play Obstacle Course * Going through an obstacle course can help kids develop coordination, problem solving and gross motor skills, learn to think strategically and get rid of extra energy!

I had a blast setting this up while my littlest one napped. I used Activity Cones for the starting line and a mini soccer goal to kick the Bollie Kickball through, hula hoops to jump through, a Happy Giddy Tunnel to crawl through, more cones to jump over and the Tootle Turtle Target Game to practice their aim.

When I picked my son up from the bus I hinted at having something set up… and he broke into a run for our front yard!

Build & Play Obstacle Course * Going through an obstacle course can help kids develop coordination, problem solving and gross motor skills, learn to think strategically and get rid of extra energy!

I quickly showed him how to do it and he and his sister went through it.

Build & Play Obstacle Course * Going through an obstacle course can help kids develop coordination, problem solving and gross motor skills, learn to think strategically and get rid of extra energy!

Now with small groups or single kids, sometimes obstacle courses can fall a little flat with the lack of competition. Here are two fixes for that.

1. Time the kids if they are at drastically different levels like my 6.5 year old and 2 year old.

2. Give the kids a chance to take your course apart and build their own for you to run through.

Build & Play Obstacle Course * Going through an obstacle course can help kids develop coordination, problem solving and gross motor skills, learn to think strategically and get rid of extra energy!

This is what my kids loved. They each took turns. Then I had to try to get through their creations. I loved this part of my son’s where we had to kick the ball through the tunnel! Very cool.

Build & Play Obstacle Course * Going through an obstacle course can help kids develop coordination, problem solving and gross motor skills, learn to think strategically and get rid of extra energy!

My daughter was totally into it too. She is not even 3 and some of her directions were hard to follow but seeing her thinking out her plan and creating something original was exciting.

Build & Play Obstacle Course * Going through an obstacle course can help kids develop coordination, problem solving and gross motor skills, learn to think strategically and get rid of extra energy!

When you open up structured play like an obstacle course to your children’s creativity awesome things happen. Days like these are the ones I hope my kids remember. Simple fun together.

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Allison MacDonald

Allison McDonald is founder and editor of No Time For Flash Cards. She has been teaching children in various capacities since 1993, so she has done her share of crafts, songs and circle times! Her son’s birth brought her home, and her love of teaching and helping other parents sparked the idea for No Time for Flash Cards. Early childhood education is her passion . . . her heart belongs to the little guys! Get to know Allie and see her creative kids’ crafts and educational activities on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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