Obstacle courses for toddlers involve walking, climbing, running, and crawling through a maze to reach the final point. They are designed for children to improve their bilateral coordination and gross and fine motor skills. These also help them build stamina and boost their logical and creative skills (1). Besides, most children enjoy and have the utmost fun while crossing the courses one after the other and gain a great sense of adventure and achievement. We bring a list of obstacle courses in this post, you may use any of them and motivate your children to cross through them and reap multiple benefits.
How To Introduce And Teach An Obstacle Course To Toddlers
All you need to create obstacle courses for preschoolers and toddlers are creativity and making the best use of stuff lying in the house. When you are creating an obstacle course, you must ensure the safety of children to avoid any risk of getting injured while playing these games. Here are some tips and tricks you may follow to introduce an obstacle course to your little one.
- You may get bollards or orange traffic cones to designate an area for the obstacle course.
- Use equipment such as pool noodles, hula-hoops, tables, chairs to set up the obstacle course. Before you begin, you may also explain the process of using each of these items.
- While setting up the obstacle course, you may incorporate jumping, crawling, climbing, walking, and running activities to make it challenging for the child.
- Explain the importance of safety to your child. Let them be cautious while playing. Therefore, set up the obstacle course in a risk-free manner.
- Having a reward at the end of the activity can keep them motivated during the entire course.
18 Obstacle Courses For Toddlers And Preschoolers
Indoor Obstacle Course Ideas For Toddlers And Preschoolers
When the weather is bad, or you want to stay indoors, try indoor obstacle courses for toddlers that are fun and engaging.
- Laundry basket push game: For this game, you need a laundry basket, a few books, and some favorite toys. You can draw an obstacle course on the floor using a chalk piece or sticky tape. To play, place a few heavy books at the bottom of the laundry basket. Now, ask your toddler to pick out some favorite toys and then push the basket alongside the obstacle course.
- Balloon paddle ball: Balloons can get anyone excited. Isn’t it? Grab some popsicle sticks and glue them to paper plates to play this game, forming paddles. Then, blow up a balloon. Using the paddles, row the balloon around the house. The furniture around the home can double up as the obstacle course.
- Tossing a ring: Grab some bollards and place them at random places in the house, barring glass furniture or crockery. Now, children have to use a ring to hit the bollard.
- Indoor hopscotch: Draw hopscotch on the floor using a chalk piece. Let your child jump and hop around from one square to another. You may also use a tiny ball to hit the squares. This will increase the challenges or hurdles in the game.
- Water bottle bowling: Place nine water bottles in a triangle pattern as found in a bowling alley. Now using a lightweight ball, ask the kids to hit these bottles. Encourage them to hit all the bottles in one strike.
- Balloon volleyball: You can turn a balloon into a volleyball and set up a court at the dining table. Stand across the table facing each other. Now hit the balloon and play catch. To make it furthermore enjoyable, keep track of the score.
- Walk in the line: You need house tape and a few stuffed toys for this game. First, map the tape around the house. Then, place toys at random spots in the mapped area. Now, the kids have to walk inside the mapped lines and collect all the toys on the way. Set up a timer to double the fun.
- Across the room: How many different ways can you find to get from one side of the room to another? You can walk, run, crab walk, bear crawl. Ask your kids to get creative and find a unique method to cross the room.
- Ninja box kick-down: Stack some boxes on top of one another. You may use shoe boxes, mailing boxes, cartons, etc. The task is for the kids to kick these boxes down. It would be fun to watch how many boxes they are able to kick in one go.
- Animal sounds obstacle course: Create an obstacle course with pillows, soft toys, and other harmless objects. Each child has to draw an animal card before starting the course. Ask them to complete the course by imitating the animal’s body language and sounds.
- Laser maze: You will need red strings or steamers, scissors, and tape. Cut the string or steamers and stick it diagonally, horizontally, and in crisscross patterns across the hallway, making an obstacle course. Children need to make their way to the other side without making contact with the strings.
Outdoor Obstacle Course Ideas For Toddlers And Preschoolers
Head out to a garden or play in the backyard. These outdoor obstacle courses are sure to get your little one excited.
- Skipping: This activity helps build motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Ask your child to jump the skipping rope and reach from one spot to another. This activity will test their endurance.
- Treasure hunt: Who doesn’t enjoy a treasure hunt. Hide some toys or most cherished belongings of your kids at various spots in the backyard. Now ask them to begin the treasure hunt. You may also give some hints to help them in this game of exploration and discovery.
- Climb: Take your child to a park or a playground. Now, let them climb up the slide, tree, or play with other equipment. This can help strengthen their legs and arms and build stamina.
- Muddy play: Let’s get messy. Your child can enjoy squishing, sculpting, patting, and making unique objects with this sensory activity.
- Tunnels: If you have recently purchased a large home appliance and have its packaging or cardboard box at home, make a tunnel out of it. Place it in the backyard and let your child go inside the tunnel and play. They can also take turns to come in, go out, or just pass through the tunnel.Quick tipAlternatively, you may create a tunnel indoors or outdoors by draping a sturdy blanket over the chairs.
- Red light green light: In this activity, the children have to freeze at the red light and start moving when the light is green. It can help in improving your child’s coordination and fine motor skills.
- Sidewalk chalk: Get some colorful chalks to play some fun games such as hopscotch, bullseye, and tic tac toe. These games are not only fun but also help children develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Benefits Of Obstacle Courses For Toddlers
Obstacle courses are similar to tests that offer multiple learning outcomes (2). Hélène Serfontein Ferreira, a mother of two, shares how she and her family have become experts at building indoor obstacle courses and the many benefits of engaging in obstacle courses. She says, “Sometimes, my kids take turns devising an obstacle course. The person building it decides the rules. Now and again, I build the mother of all obstacle courses. We time ourselves with the phone timer setting. Each child tries to beat their personal best. Then we do it backward – trying to see who can reverse the steps without mistakes. These are boredom busters for rainy days (i).”
Here are some benefits of obstacle courses for toddlers:
- Creativity: When they engage in an obstacle course, it arouses the curiosity and imagination of children, and they devise creative strategies to make their playtime fun and filled with entertainment.
- Strength and balance: Outdoor obstacle courses can help your child improve their strength, stamina, and agility. It also makes them physically active and up their energy levels.
- Problem-solving: Children can enhance their problem-solving skills through obstacle courses as they have to find a way out and complete the assigned task. This enables them to think out of the box and boost their problem-solving skills.
- Motor Skills: While children jump, crawl, climb or engage in various activities, they develop their gross and fine motor skills. These games promote their physical development.
- Coordination: Obstacle courses can help a child build hand-eye and bilateral coordination. When they have to move various body parts at the same time and apply their minds to finish the goal in these exercises, it improves their coordination skills to a large extent. At the same time, the activities promote socialization and teamwork as kids communicate more with each other.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are there any age restrictions for toddlers participating in obstacle courses?
There are no general age restrictions for toddlers participating in obstacle courses. The obstacle course selected should be safe and age-appropriate.
2. Are there any special considerations for designing an obstacle course for toddlers with disabilities?
Utmost care and consideration must be taken while designing obstacle courses for toddlers with special needs. Their specific needs and limitations should be considered, ensuring that the obstacles are safe to perform individually or with assistance.
3. What types of rewards can toddlers receive for completing an obstacle course?
Toddlers can be rewarded with age-appropriate and meaningful rewards such as books, healthy snacks, small toys, and stickers accompanied by verbal praise. These rewards will increase their confidence in their abilities and boost their self-esteem.
4. How can parents modify an obstacle course to fit the skills and abilities of toddlers?
Obstacle courses can be modified to make them age-appropriate and safer for toddlers. Take their abilities and skills into consideration while modifying the course. Parents can alter the materials’ dimensions, reduce the duration, and levels of difficulties, provide additional support, and increase the safety of the courses designed.
Engaging your little one in obstacle courses for toddlers will benefit them in many ways. You can easily arrange obstacle course games for your child at home. Such games help them develop their ability to think out of the box and also aid in developing their physical, cognitive, and social skills. However, you should ensure that you protect them from getting hurt while interacting with these objects. So set up an indoor or outdoor obstacle course for your little one, and they will enjoy it to their fullest.
- Indoor hopscotch and outdoor treasure hunt are examples of obstacle courses that can be arranged easily.
- Remember to consider all precautions to encourage strength and balance improvement safely.
- Reward the toddlers on completion of the course to motivate them.
Let’s get your toddlers and preschoolers moving with an indoor obstacle course! Here are some fun and exciting activities to keep them active and entertained.
Personal Experience: Source
- Gross Motor Skills: Birth To 5 Years.
- Obstacle Courses Help Students Develop Skills Needed to Learn.