Obstacle courses can be easily added to environments both small and large. The following is an example of a smaller setting.
My goal was to incorporate fun exercises that work the Core Muscles groups. Strong core muscles provide a stable base for all activities fine motor and even early writing.
A balance beam activity can be easily added to your setting. If you have older children and want to increase the difficulty level a bit, feel free to raise the beam off the floor by placing wide flat outdoor stones underneath on the ends or nailing on a base that would raise your platform a bit. Make it fun! Here we added a secured blue plastic table cloth to represent water. Over the bridge…
Through the tunnel … strengthens arm, leg, and back muscles. We are working from the core or trunk of the child to those outer muscle groups.
Children love this part of the obstacle course the most. To encourage the children to continue through the course, we tell them they need to move on after catching 3 fish. Our fishing rods are paint sticks with 45″ shoe laces duct taped in place. Ceramic block magnets are added on the end. The fish are the lids of frozen juice containers. Stickers of fish are place onto the juice container lid. Both gross, fine, and eye/hand coordinated skills insure lots of fish being caught.
It wouldn’t be a true adventure without the opportunity to explore a cave. We added a fun primate inside to add to the excitement. Could it be a Bigfoot do you suppose?
Finally, we climb the Mountain! Add a pair of binoculars and ask children what they see at the top of the mountain promoting their language development. Again, at this part of our obstacle course; core muscle development, the coordination of arm and leg muscles, and balance all come into play here.
Strengthening core muscle groups will provide a stable base for all the activities your children are engage in. I hope you and they find these ideas to be great fun.
Pamela J. Stefanich, CDA
Family Child Care Professional