Modifiable Entertainment: Obstacle Courses

When my sister turned eleven, we had a big party with our family at my grandparents’ farm. The cousins span in age by 25 years so as my mom was planning the party, she was looking for activities that would engage everyone. A giant obstacle course including large hay bales was perfect. We had to crawl under them through a tunnel and then climb over them too! All of the cousins (and some adventurous aunts and uncles) were divided into age brackets so adults weren’t competing with children. The obstacle course was modified as needed, but entertained us all for quite awhile!

If you’re looking for a game to entertain your kids, an obstacle course is fun and active go-to activity. Easily modified, you can set up the obstacles outside or inside. You can modify the challenges based on age and skill-level. Having the kids compete against each other or against themselves to best their personal best. I know not everyone has access to hay bales, but everyone has access to great (and safe) objects to use as obstacles. Tasks to be completed can also be made into obstacles.

Here are some ideas:

  • Jump rope: Jump 10 times.

  • Oversized clothes: Put the shirt and pants on and then take them off. (Note: You could have the participants do part of the challenges in the oversized clothing.)

  • Hula Hoop: Climb through a hula hoop. Or if outside, hang it from a tree if or lay it on the ground so it must be picked up and laid back down

  • Large cardboard box: Army crawl through the box as if it were a tunnel.

  • Bench: Slither under the bench or climb over it.

  • Running: Run around the tree/up the stairs. (Note: Include running between the challenges and as part of the challenges. Find objects they need to run around)

  • Egg in the Spoon: Carry an egg in a spoon to the finish line without dropping the egg or holding it with your second hand.

  • Exercise Movements: Do 5 push-ups/sit-ups, 10 jumping jacks

  • Baseball bat: Put forehead on top of bat, bottom of bat is on ground and both hands holding top of bat just below where the forehead is. Spin a full circle around the bath or two circles if you really want the participant to me dizzy.

  • Glass of water: stand still and drink the entire glass of water, no spilling!

  • Pail and small ball: Have a line to stand on; toss the ball until it lands in the pail, If there are different ages participating, have a second line at a greater distance from pail.

Remember that you can include as many obstacles as you would like. However, the more steps you include the more confusing it might become. Consider drawing the obstacle course out for the participants so they understand what they need to do. It’s a good idea for an adult to try the course to know whether all the obstacles work the ways you’ve imagined.

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