We are so ready for spring and getting back to our daily outdoor play routine. While my kids play independently pretty well outside, sometimes an activity or a little direction helps to get them moving. We often set up DIY outdoor obstacle course play for the kids using our existing lawn furniture and their outside toys. The course never looks the same and they are always up for racing around, climbing, jumping, and competing. Today I’m sharing how we set up outdoor obstacle course play as part of the Outdoor Play Challenge. Check out the rest of the Outdoor Play Challenge at Building Blocks and Acorns and grab a free printable play calendar with a whole month of fantastic outdoor play ideas.
It is so easy to turn your lawn in to an obstacle course for your kids. If you have yard furniture or they have outdoor toys, you can incorporate them in to your course. If not, trees, bushes, sidewalks, and rocks can become challenge elements. Get creative and change it up every time.
If we are playing in the front yard, our stump play table and climbing element are always involved. This particular time we pulled in our mini Adirondack chairs, a plastic slide, and used the tree and stones as well. I set up the course in a circle so it could easily be done over and over again. You can see below that the Pearl Girl was really only interested in the slide.
Set up your elements, explain the course, and then do a practice run where you run through with your kids. We started at the base of the tree, down in a runner’s start position, and counted off the start. We ran around the big tree once, climbed the log, jumped off, climbed the stump table, jumped off, ran to the dinosaur rocker and rocked 3 times (I skipped that one), hopped from stone to stone to the red chairs and climbed over each one, then went down the slide to finish a lap. Phew, I’m tired just typing that.
Think about what you have in your yard that could be used. If you live in a place without a yard, you could do an obstacle course at the park or playground. Outdoor obstacle course play is all about challenging kids to get moving and to use the objects around them in a new way. Gross motor skill development, exercise, and fun are all benefits of this type of play.
Siblings close in age can race each other, or kids can race parents, or a stopwatch. The Bear loves for me to time him on the course. My iPhone has a stopwatch, or sometimes I just count out loud as he runs the course. He is SUPER competitive. I tried to video the kids racing the course, but of the one time I recorded was the lap he decided to push his sister out of the way to “win”. That one won’t be making the cut.
Hopefully we’ll have more sunny days soon to get outside and play. If the weather is still intolerable where you live, you can read about our indoor obstacle course play ideas here.
Follow Becca Eby ~ Bare Feet on the Dashboard’s board Play Time on Pinterest.
The Outdoor Play Challenge at Building Blocks and Acorns has ideas for kids of all ages to get your crew playing outside and having a blast. Check it out and grab the free printable calendar. How do you get your kids engaged in outdoor play?