This is going to be fun!
Obstacle courses can be a lot of fun, engaging the participants both physically and mentally, drawing them away from being stuck on the devices and getting them to interact in real life.
The best part about them?
You can build your own obstacle course at home, in the backyard or even in the living room using basic materials that you can get from any party store.
Image by susanne906 from Pixabay.
In fact, planning and building the obstacle course can itself become a fun activity that you’ll look forward to doing again.
Well then, here’s a 5-step DIY process to build an obstacle course at home.
A 5 step DIY process to build your obstacle course
Image by Prashant Sharma from Pixabay.
Here’s an overview: select a space, plan the course, gather your materials, lay out the course, and write out the instructions (as we shall see, it’s important to make the instructions fun and effective, which is why we’ve considered it as a separate step).
Find a space
The obstacles in your course will depend on the space you’re building it in, so selecting a suitable space is very important for a good obstacle course.
Key factors include the amount of space and the nature of the space.
Make sure the path doesn’t cross an area where you expect foot traffic to be high during the obstacle course, otherwise people could run into one another.
Start planning the course
When planning the course, keep the desired level of difficulty, the nature of the obstacles and safety in mind.
Visualize the obstacles in a sequence and see whether it works.
Ensure sufficient space between adjacent obstacles so they don’t interfere with each other.
Remember to consider who will be taking part
I think you’ll have grasped this yourself, but not all obstacle courses are the same. You'll need to plan keeping the participants and their age, their physical fitness and other capabilities in mind.
Courses for children, in particular, should avoid hard and dangerous obstacles.
Think about how to embed teamwork into the course
With a little planning, you can plan a course that requires teamwork from the participants.
Some ideas can be to require partners to have to throw and catch balls a number of times, a three-legged path and a human wheelbarrow section.
Some elements to include in the course
When planning the course, try to put these elements to the test.
Agility: Including cones that participants must zig zag through or a series of hanging hula hoops to hop across will test their ability to be quick while moving accurately past barriers.
Jumping: Frog jumps, pogo sticks and bouncy balls are great ways to include jumping tasks in the course and make it a lot of fun.
Balancing: Ask folks to stand on one leg, cross a narrow board (as a beam) and balancing a ball on their heads.
Gather the materials that you will need
With the planning done, make a list of the materials you need, and start gathering them. Everything from tape, markers and chalk to mark the path to balls, balloons, hula hoops, boards and so on should be available at any party goods store.
The benefits of inflatable materials
Inflatable materials are safer, as they aren’t hard, plus they add an element of fun to the course.
They’re the best option for kids’ obstacle courses in particular.
Lay out the course them following your plan
With the materials at hand, start laying them out according to your plan. Once you’re done, try the course yourself, or at least walk the length of it (if it’s for children, you may not be able to do all the tasks) to make sure it’s doable without risk of severe injuries.
Think about instructions
Participants must be able to understand what they have to do or the course might turn out a damp squib.
Make the instructions as specific as possible - for example ask participants to specifically crawl through a tunnel so some don’t end up trying to climb over it.
Some obstacle course ideas for kids
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay.
Obstacle courses are a great indoor activity that children love. That’s what makes building an obstacle course for children such a great idea to keep the children occupied.
Incorporate your child’s interests into the obstacle course. You can also include them in creating the course itself.
Balloon obstacle course
The basic idea of a balloon obstacle course is for the child to follow the course with a balloon in hand. Ideally, the course should be challenging, but not impossible for them to follow, while carrying balloons.
Combine elements like jumping, crawling and spinning to make the course fun.
Yarn obstacle course
Did you guess it already?
Yep, the yarn obstacle course involves wrapping a ball of yarn around various pieces of furniture and accessories along the path, to create something that looks like a laser maze.
And then challenge the kids to get from one end to the other without touching a single thread of yarn.
Pipe obstacle course
A great idea if you have detachable pipes lying around.
Attach the pipes in various ways to create tunnels, hurdles and other obstacles for the children to negotiate as they seek to cross the path.
Wanna make it harder?
Tie ribbons between two standing obstacles so the kids have to squeeze through them to finish the course.
Pool noodle obstacle course
A great obstacle course for the barkyard.
Get some pool noodles and use them to create barriers for the kids to crawl under or jump over, simply by placing them on lawn furniture.
Another idea: Tape off a path, and ask the children to hit a balloon along the path with a pool noodle from one end of the path to the other, without escaping the path.
Train obstacle course
Use tape to mark a path in the form of train tracks that the children have to follow.
Make the path go under obstacles (like a table) or over obstacles (like a pool noodle), and also add breaks in the path that the children have to jump over.
Spy obstacle course
Build this one in the garden, using furniture like tables, chairs, boards and buckets to create obstacles for the children to crawl through, jump over, avoid and so on.
The “spy” element will have to be incorporated in the form of a backstory and props that you need to create or get from a party store.
Should prove a hit with the children that are hooked on movies and cartoons about spies.
Sidewalk obstacle course
It can be as simple as using tape to mark off a path on the sidewalk and chalks of different colors to indicate certain activities that the children must perform, like jumping over, running, or pausing.
This can be a great way to get all the kids in the neighborhood involved.
Making your own obstacle course at home - a final word
Image by Chris Schweiger from Pixabay.
An obstacle course can be a great way to bring folks - from those at home to people from the entire neighborhood - together and get them to interact with one another.
Here’s the walkthrough of how to build your own obstacle course at home - select the space > plan the course > gather the materials > lay out the course > write out the instructions, making them as specific as possible.
And obstacle courses are especially enjoyed by kids, who can also learn essential skills like agility, alertness and teamwork from them.
Finally, you know what else is a fun activity, teaches people skills like quick thinking and teamwork, and is really, really easy to set up? An escape room in Chicago.
Featured image by 9436196 from Pixabay.