Grade school kids, ages 6 and older, are up for a challenge, so you can raise the difficulty level of the backyard obstacle course. This doesn't mean you have to go out and buy expensive props or build your own climbing wall. Here are some simple but fun obstacle ideas designed around common household objects.
- Have them walk across a balance beam while balancing a book or bean bag on their head.
- Balance an egg on a spoon and weave through a series of cones or lawn chairs.
- Walk across a balance beam backward or hopping on one foot.
Hopping and Jumping
- Lay a wooden ladder on the ground and have kids bunny hop through the rungs or hop on one foot.
- Place a series of hula hoops on the ground several feet from each other. Have the kids jump, leap or hop from one hoop to the next.
- Jump rope while counting to 20.
Strength and Fitness
- Have kids stop and do 10 pushups or 10 situps.
- Incorporate a series of monkey bars or have kids do three pull-ups.
- Have them do cartwheels or forward rolls across a long distance.
- Teach them how to do "high knee"-style running in place, and do it for a count of 30.
- Make a sponge bucket brigade. Fill one bucket with water and give each kid a large sponge. Have them work together to soak up the water from the bucket and squeeze it out in another bucket.
- Play "stepping stones." Give a group of three kids four pieces of paper. Have them cross the backyard by only stepping on the pieces of the paper. They have to work together to pass the free piece of paper to the front.
- Make a "mummy" obstacle by having one kid wrap a friend from head to toe in toilet paper.
- If you have a small wading pool, you can have the kids "fish" for metal objects with magnets on a string or bob for apples.
- Using a hose, have kids "shoot" down a series of objects from a fence.
- If you have a rotating sprinkler, have them practice their timing by running past the sprinkler without getting wet.
Even though you can make a perfectly fun backyard obstacle course from cheap and plentiful household items, there are some people who just can't resist constructing something big. For those folks, we have the next page: building permanent obstacles in your backyard.