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!
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.
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 Kickball through, hula hoops to jump through, a Tunnel to crawl through, more cones to jump over and a 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!
I quickly showed him how to do it and he and his sister went through it.
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.
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.
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.
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.