14 Obstacle Course Ideas for Preschoolers

14 Obstacle Course Ideas for Preschoolers

Obstacle Course for Preschoolers
Obstacle Course for Preschoolers

So, what is an obstacle course? It has something to do with a series of challenging physical and mental obstacles. It is where a group or an individual has to go through each hurdle– balancing, climbing, crawling, jumping, running, as well as swimming, while a timer is running.

Obstacle courses have different levels of extremity. They also consist of various types of activities. The objective of obstacle course racing is to put a person’s agility, endurance, speed, and sometimes, mental skillfulness, to the test.

Obstacle courses are for people of all ages – adults, teens, and even preschoolers.  Yes, obstacle courses may seem tougher for kids; but in fact, when both you and your kid take part in an obstacle course racing, both of you will have fun working out, strategizing, and spending quality time together.

Obstacle Course Racing

Have you ever seen individuals or teams trying to crawl under barbed wires, climb walls, lift something heavy, run over several tires, or do a sack race? Yes? Then you might already have an idea with regard what obstacle course racing is, as well as how challenging and tiring it can make you feel after doing it.

What you might not have already known yet is that obstacle course racing is also regarded as a sport. In fact, it is a type of sport that will dare you to beat other players as you try to win over a set of mental and physical obstacles. The varying trials that you and other participants have to triumph over will put you to the test – your endurance, determination, strength, as well as your strategy-making skills.

But as tough as it may sound, did you know that obstacle course racing is also for the young ones? Yes, even for preschoolers!

When you and your kid join and cooperate in an obstacle course racing, you both will need to overcome and win over certain mental and physical challenges. Most of the time, obstacles include sliding, running, pushing and pulling, jumping or jumping, as well as climbing. Seems like a full-body workout, right? But the difference is that it doubles as a fun and active way of spending quality time with your child.

So in essence, obstacle courses are designed for the purpose of challenging yet providing fun to its players. Think of it this way – it’s like a fun way of going through obstacles, such as mud pits and monkey bars, and at the same time, beating other players.

When you, together with your kid, take part in an obstacle course racing, both of you will have to get out of your comfort zone and push yourselves to the limit. Of course, aside from strategizing, teamwork is the key!

So, when you and your child think of joining obstacle courses, you both better prepare to be dirty and get mud all over your body.

Let the obstacle race begin!

Obstacle Courses are also for Preschoolers

Girl in an Adventurous Obstacle Course
Girl in an Adventurous Obstacle Course

How old is your child? Well, it doesn’t make a difference anyway. That is because children share one thing in common— they almost have the same level of energy.

But then again, teenagers these days are not as active anymore. They are actually more active in social media than they are in physical activities. They spend most of their days, especially their free time, using their tablets or phones. But nobody wants their child to have a sedentary lifestyle, right? And that includes you, of course.

The good thing is that there are many obstacle course ideas for kids of all ages, even preschoolers. Wait, I think I know what you might be thinking. It’s not bad for kids, and it’s not tough for younger ones, like preschoolers. In fact, participating in an obstacle course is a fun way for them to be more physically and mentally active.

But that is not it. When preschoolers join obstacle courses, their physical and mental ability can also improve. In addition to that, participating in obstacle courses can also teach teens how they should work in a team.

So what else are you waiting for? Get your kids outdoors! Allow them to have a cool time while they face challenges in obstacle courses.

Related article: Eight Awesome Obstacle Courses Ideas for Teens

Obstacle Course Ideas for Preschoolers

Me and My Shadow

You or other adults can start the activity by introducing several techniques, like crawling, hopping, jumping, stomping, as well as stretching. Then the kids can imitate the shadow by doing the said movements as well.

Actions, like jumping and hopping can help strengthen the kids’ bones. In addition, aerobic exercises, which include skipping and running can also help let oxygen into their muscles as well as pump blood faster to all their vital organs. The result? They would have an improved cardiovascular system.

What is more interesting about this obstacle course is that by copying animal movements, the kids will be able to associate the movement to a particular animal. Not only that – kids will also enhance and improve their skills in coordination and balancing.

Preschooler Obstacle Course

The objective of letting preschoolers join in an obstacle course for them to improve their gross motor skills as well as their general coordination skills.

In this obstacle course, there must be stepping stones, a balancing bench or rope, a tunnel (that you can make out of big brown boxes), cones, a set of hula hoops, as well as bean bags.

Kids must be able to balance these while they walk in between cones.

Target Rolling

This obstacle course idea will improve the kids’ eye and hand coordination. Through this activity, they will also improve their balance and manipulative skills, as well as their fine and gross motor skills.

In this activity, the kids should roll and aim the ball to hit their target. Their target could be anything from balls, blocks, bottles, hoops, or even skittles.

Pass the Ball

This game can improve the kids’ agility, balance, coordination, muscular strength, teamwork, as well as their speed.

In this obstacle course, kids will be put in lines. A target will also be placed in front of them, which is around six meters far from their starting point. And then, the first kid in line will be handling an object, which they need to pass to all the other kids in line. The kids can pass that object in three ways:

  • Under their legs
  • Over their head
  • To their left or right side

The kid at the end of line should make his way to the start of the line to pass the object back down the line again. This will allow the line to slowly move forward. The first group or line of children to reach the target wins.

Target Throwing

This physical activity can improve the kids’ agility, evaluation skills, gross motor skills, as well as their eye and hand coordination.

There will be a target, which the kids must throw different objects to. The target must be placed at around three to six meters far from their throwing point. When the target is father from the kids, it will be more challenging for them. Yet, they can improve their skills more.

Rabbit Hole

This obstacle course idea will certainly improve the kids’ agility, balance, muscular strength, as well as spatial awareness.

You will have to put markers on the ground. Those markers will correspond to each of the kids’ rabbit holes. And then each child will be given a carrot, which they should balance on any of their body parts when the farmer tries to catch them.

Grand Ole’ Duke of York

Their muscles, bone strength, coordination skills, rhythmic movement, as well as their spatial awareness will improve through this obstacle course.

This one is very simple, though. You must play music, and then the kids should march around to the music’s beat. They must be able to coordinate their dance moves to the beat of the music. 

Backyard Obstacle Course

This obstacle course idea is very easy to execute if you have some house buckets and garden planters. By using those, you and your child can construct the most effortless and hassle-free obstacle course.

Pipe Obstacle Course

In this particular obstacle course, you can connect pipes and place them outdoors. Then you can form two opposing groups. The first team to have all its members finish crossing the interconnected pipes will be the winner.

Shape Obstacle Course

This indoor obstacle course can help your child in memorizing different shapes in a fun and cool way.

First, there must be various shapes of blocks. Then kids will have to shoot each shape to their corresponding hole. The first child to finish shooting all the shapes wins. 

Train Obstacle Course

In this obstacle course, each participant will have to pass through different obstacles inside the train’s wagon.

The obstacles include passing through strips of garter or rubber, large interconnected pipes, ball pit, and many others.

If your house is big enough, you can do this indoors. On the other hand, you may also do this outdoors if your lawn is big enough for an inflatable train.

Obligatory Morning Obstacle Course

During the weekends, kids are up for fun adventures. Test them with physically-challenging activities such as monkey bars, tire obstacle course, and wall climb.

You can divide the kids into small groups of three. Then, each participant will be assigned to a specific obstacle course. When the first player finishes his assigned obstacle course, he has to tap the second player, and the second player also taps the last. The group to finish first wins.

Indoor Obstacle Course

Who says you can only do obstacle courses outdoors? You and your child can also have an obstacle course at home.

When your kid’s stuff is all over the house, you can make him get all of them and put them in a storage box. If he is able to do so within your set time, you can give him a reward.

This obstacle course idea is like hitting two birds with one stone – you kid can learn how to organize and return his things to where they belong while having fun. This can also develop into a fun habit.

Spy Scavenger Obstacle Course

For this obstacle course, you will need different colors of balls and maze tape. You will have to place the balls under the maze tapes or attached to them.

You should assign a color to each participant. The balls that they collect must match their assigned color. The fastest kid to collect all the balls wins this game.

Benefits of Obstacle Courses for Preschoolers

  • Develop their muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance
  • Build and promote their self-esteem and confidence
  • Increase their stability
  • Help build strong muscles, heart, and bones
  • Develop their locomotor skills (walking, running, hopping, and climbing)
  • Enhance their mental health and problem solving skills
  • Develop their manipulative skills (grasping, pinching, and squeezing)
  • Further improvement of their manipulative, locomotor, and balance skills
  • Enrich their social skills
  • Develop their spatial and bodily awareness

Physical Activities that Enhance Gross Motor Skills

When the sun is out and the weather is neither hot nor cold, the perfect thing for your kid to do is to play outdoors.  

It really doesn’t matter whether he plays baseball, rides a bike, or just explores around because there is importance in everything that a kid experiences outdoors – and that includes the development of his gross motor skills.

But do we really have to encourage preschoolers to be physically active while they are still very young? Doesn’t it seem like these little balls of energy no longer need any extra encouragement to move their little bodies?

The answer is a resounding yes. Why? Because even if the obesity rate for children has already dropped, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, parents still need to help preschoolers live a healthy life, even at a very young age. That is why parents, guardians, and other caregivers need to make sure that even preschoolers get plenty of active play times each day.

Listed below are 10 daily outdoor activities that can help in promoting your child’s gross motor skills.

Exploring

Little Girl Exploring Nature
Little Girl Exploring Nature

Your kid can learn about so many things when you allow him to explore the world around him. When you give him the freedom to run around, lie on the grass, or pick some flowers, he will be able to discover and learn so much.

Walking and climbing on hills

When you let your child walk up and down the hills, as well as over other uneven surfaces, you help him build his endurance and strength. You can do this by walking with your child on a park with hills, on a trail in the woods, or along the shores. When you expose your child to different landscapes, he will not only have a good time strolling but also learning and gaining more strength.

Coloring the sidewalk using chalk

When your child practices coloring on the sidewalk, of course, he needs to squat down. This strengthens his trunk and legs. It also trains him on how to properly hold the chalk, which improves his skills in grasping.

When you let your child do things that promote movement, you help him improve his endurance.

Playing with “open-ended” toys

So what are open-ended toys? These are hula hoops and jump ropes. Your child can use open-ended toys in many different ways to practice and improve his imagination. That is because toys like those require children to stay in motion. They also encourage kids to execute bigger movements using their trunk and arms.   

Riding a bike

Riding a bike will help your kid have an improved coordination, endurance, and complete strengthening. The more you let your child engage in activities that promote endurance, the stronger he will be for other physical activities.

Water Play

During hot weather, kids will love to do water activities, which are not only fun but also help develop children’s gross motor skills.

What you can do is you can fill water buckets and let your child carry them around. You can let him water plants or help fill up a small inflatable pool. Doing fun water activities will strengthen your child’s little hands.

Playing different ball games

Letting your child play soccer or any other ball game will help him develop his hand-feet and hand-eye coordination.

Aside from that, when you allow your kid to play in a group, he will also improve his social skills. You see, when kids play games with other children, they learn the idea of good sportsmanship.

Doing outdoor painting activities

Making a mess inside the house sounds like a horrible idea, right? So why not make it outside?

Place a big sheet of craft paper or painting tarpaulin on the ground. Then, you can fill paint pans with different colors. Make sure, however, that you only use safe and washable finger paint.

Tell your kid to paint as big shapes as he can by using his hands, feet, legs, and body to fill the big canvass with as much paint as he can. This painting activity will encourage your child to use his muscles and move his entire body in a lot of ways.

Engaging in yard work

Got any yard work to do? Why not let your child help you with it? Let him lend a hand with your maintenance projects around your yard. Of course, you must only let him do the things that a preschooler can.

What are those? Let him help you with gardening by pulling weeds. Aside from that, you can also let him rank fallen leaves, as well as collect sticks around your yard. Whenever your child has to bend down and pick something up, he is not only working on his balance but also firming up his legs.

But then again, as he picks up sticks, remind him to be extra careful.

Visiting a playground

Little Boy in a Playground
Little Boy in a Playground

Another effective way to engage multiple gross motor skills is by taking your kid to a playground. When your child climbs and hangs on different playground equipment, his muscles are strengthened all at once.

Swinging, in particular, improves his balance and gives sensory stimulation. Other playground equipment will also improve his spatial awareness.

Doing structured physical activities

You can let your child play with anything for at least 60 minutes per day, cumulatively. You can let him play with balls for 15 minutes, ride a bike for 20 minutes, or swim for 25 minutes.

Clocked sedentary time

Your child’s time of being inactive must not be more than one hour, except for when they are sleeping, of course.

Does that mean they can no longer sit still for more than an hour? Nope. Actually, they can sit still while they read books, draw, or even watch TV. However, their sedentary time must only be limited. They can sit and watch TV for an hour. After that, you should encourage them to do something physical, like playing outdoors. The idea here is not to let them be inactive for hours.

What does Physical Activity Mean for Preschoolers

Some activities that restrict movement, such as sitting on the stroller for hours, playing computer games, and watching TV, are not good for a child’s development. While they are young, you must give your preschooler many opportunities to move around and play with other kids.

Kids are likely to be more active whenever they are outdoors instead of when they are inside the house. For children, particularly preschoolers, physical activity means being outdoors and doing physical activities, like playing sports or participating in obstacle courses.

Yes, there are some physical activities that kids can do indoors. However, those are mostly light-intensity ones. Therefore, it is still better to encourage children to go outdoors and be active. Sounds healthy and at the same time fun.

Why Preschoolers Need to be Active

Ropes Obstacle Course
Ropes Obstacle Course

Did you notice that kids are more enthusiastic to try new physical activities throughout their early childhood?

However, the growing use of technology in classrooms, which emphasizes mental activities more, have also led to the decline of children’s physical activities.

Physically-challenging activities support healthy growth and development. They help form a vigorous body with stronger muscles and bones. In addition, physical activities build up children’s cardiovascular fitness. They also help develop better concentration and motor skills.

Physical activities must be included into preschoolers’ daily activities for the purpose of creating a foundation of activities and movements, which they can benefit from. Kids who have higher levels of physical activity throughout their childhood will probably be more active even when they have already matured. When they have a physically-active lifestyle, they will have better health and overall well-being.

In fact, engaging in physical activities from a young age has different health benefits. Aside from helping them develop physically, physical activities can also help preschoolers develop emotionally, mentally, and socially.

When a child is more physically active, he creates healthy habits, which will be beneficial in the long run. Aside from the numerous health benefits, encouraging preschoolers to be physically active will also improve his self-esteem and will help him have healthier cognitive, emotional, and social skills, as well as develop his concentration and coordination from a young age.

The Bottom Line

When kids lack physical activities, they might have several health problems. Some of those health issues could be:

  • Bad cholesterol
  • Bone health problems
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Extra body fat
  • High blood pressure
  • Weight gain or obesity

But the good news is that the health benefits of being physically active are greater than the negatives. Kids who participate in physical activities are likely to have fewer chronic health problems. That means they are less prone to illnesses, specifically depression, diabetes, heart diseases, and mental illnesses.

If your preschooler is not participating in any physical activity as of the moment, then you must make sure that he starts to take part in one. When children learn to have an active lifestyle by exercising and by participating in other physical activities, like obstacle courses, they will lead a better life now as well as in the future.

Related Questions:

  • Aside from the obstacle course ideas mentioned above, what are other obstacle course ideas for my preschooler?
    • Animal sounds obstacle course
    • Sidewalk obstacle course
    • Balloon obstacle course
    • Yarn obstacle course
    • Pool noodle obstacle course
    • String obstacle course
  • How early can my child engage in physical activities, such as taking swimming lessons?

As stated by The American Association of Pediatrics, kids can safely take swimming lessons as early as one year old.

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