Obstacle courses are a great way to entertain kids. They encourage thinking, problem-solving and most obstacle courses require lots of physical movement which is so hard to achieve these days. Here’s how to create an outdoor obstacle course for kids.
Here you will find our ideas and tips on how to organize the best obstacle courses for kids that will keep them occupied and having fun for hours. These obstacle courses are easy to set up and a lot of the equipment we use is either low cost or items you probably already have in the home. Here’s how to create an outdoor obstacle course for kids, for a more challenging playtime!
First, find things to use
The age of your child/children will decide how simple or elaborate your obstacle course is going to be. Young children will quickly lose interest in an obstacle course if it is way beyond their capabilities and they won’t get the most out of the course. We find starting really simple and making it more challenging as your child plays the best way to set up an obstacle course.
For older children let them help to design and set up the course with you. Search for items around the house and have your child help too, looking for everyday things to use to set up the obstacle course is a fantastic starting point for imaginative and creative play.
Suggested items for an obstacle course
Around the house
- Cardboard boxes
- Old newspapers
- Clean food containers
- Old sheets or tarpaulin
- Old pillows or cushions
- Clothing pegs
- Pots, pans, plastic bowls
- Old tyres (If you can get your hands on these they are a great addition)
- Stones or pebbles
- Twigs/sticks or larger logs
Items you could buy
- Bean bags
- Hoola hoops
- Water balloons
Recommend products on Amazon to create an outdoor obstacle course
These are all just our suggestions, as long as you don’t use anything that can be damaged or that is sharp/ potentially dangerous the list is endless!
Games to add to your obstacle course
Make your obstacle course even more fun and exciting by adding in small games and making competitions. You can get lots of ideas just by thinking about what you played as a child, what games did you enjoy the most? Asking friends, family or looking online for inspiration can be helpful as well. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Find an old box or crate, and fill it up with dressing up bits and old clothing. Play games like, who can put as many clothes on as possible quickest or who can look the most like a pirate.
- Chalk is really useful, let their imagination run wild and draw all sorts of elements to your obstacle course! You could draw hopscotch, or circles on the floor and see who can roll marbles into the circles.
- Build a den, who can build the best den? You could use sheets and chairs etc or natural materials.
- Make mud pies, this one explains its self. Children love playing in the mud and getting dirty so this is a really fun addition to an obstacle course.
- Make a tree swing and see who can go the highest!
- Use rope for skipping games like who can skip the most without hitting the rope.
Sometimes kids love it when you join in with them! So don’t be afraid to take part too. The most important thing you can do is make sure play is part of children’s everyday life.
Army themed outdoor obstacle course
Themes are a great way to spark imaginative play with children, they will take on a character and totally immerse themself in another world.
A fun idea for an obstacle course is an army theme. Face paints are a great simple way to help get children into character but you could also get camo clothing cheaply, if you don’t already have some, to fashion into costumes.
Set up your obstacle course like boot camp training a few ideas for the course are to get children to trudge or crawl through mud or under netting, crawl through tunnels, run through tyres and jump over obstacles.
Pirate themed obstacle course
Ahoy there, matey! Who doesn’t love a pirate theme? This is another great way to get children involved with creating a character and acting out a story.
Fun activities you could include with this obstacle course theme are, getting children to design their own pirate flags if you have a sand table you could hide ‘treasure’ items in the sand and have kids dig for treasure, or make treasure maps that match your obstacle course to follow together.
Set up your obstacle course like a ‘treasure map’ designated areas such as stormy seas, or smelly swamps work well with this one. You could use planks of wood to recreate walking the plank and use water balloons as imaginary cannonballs to soak your shipmates as they play.
Dinosaur themed outdoor obstacle course for kids
Another theme we love is a dinosaur theme. You can have lots of fun with this one, a great start is to have children help you think of a dinosaur story to follow. One that we enjoy is being chased by a T.Rex through a thick forest!
Have your children be super quiet and careful at the start of this obstacle course, they could creep over obstacles with bean bags on their heads, if they fall off they will wake an angry T.Rex and have to carry on through the course as quickly as possible.
Have children crawl through tunnels, steal dinosaur eggs and make dens to hide out and escape the T.Rex’s jaws!
There are lots of great obstacle course kits online you can buy and use over and over again. Here are a few of our favourites from Amazon.
We hope we have inspired you to create your own obstacle courses for kids. As long as you use lots of imagination you can’t go wrong! Let us know in the comments if you have any more ideas.