Indoor or Outdoor Obstacle Course

This obstacle course activity will spark students’ interest because of how fun it is as well as practice balance and gross motor skills. You can change this up throughout the year to focus on different sports like American football, baseball, hockey, or just fun non-sports specific materials as well!

Students enhance gross motor skills through fun and active obstacles.

Who doesn’t LOVE an obstacle course? You see adults doing them all the time that include running, climbing, jumping, etc. There are SO many things you can do for an obstacle course that requires minimal preparation and zero dollars. You just have to be creative and think about what children would enjoy doing. Kids love to run, jump, and climb, so incorporating these gross motor skills will not only be fun for the children, but it will also help you incorporate these skills needed to meet standards for your lesson plans.

This particular activity is centered on Olympics, but you can do generic obstacle courses using various objects you already have in your classroom or gross motor closet or playground. We sometimes like to set up an obstacle course using the outside playground equipment and just add a few other elements like bean bag tosses and tunnels to climb through using pool noodles. There are no limits to what you can do with a fun obstacle course, and the children will not even realize how much they are strengthening their gross motor skills!

Be sure to model exactly what the expectations are to avoid injuries by showing the children exactly how to make their way through the course. If you have a lot of children playing at once, you can have a small group of 2-3 children start at various points of the course to avoid too much waiting. Ideally, this would be an activity done as a center or small group.

Materials

For each obstacle course you will need:

Pool noodles

Orange cones

Soccer ball and goal (or some kind of boundary to be goal)

Hula hoops or 12” rings

Balance beam or long piece of wood (4x4 beam or similar)

Bean bags

Basketball and hoop (or bucket if hoop is not available)

Learning Outcomes

Domain

Physical

Skills

Waiting turns

Indicators:

Balance on a balance beam. Climb through small spaces. Wait in line and respect other children’s turns. Stay in order of course from start to finish

Instructions

Step 1:

Use your outdoor space or indoor space to transform into obstacle course in any order you prefer.

Step 2:

Have a “starting line” using orange cones outside.

Step 3:

Have hula hoops or large rings set up two by two so that children have to run with one foot in each hoop. (track& field)

Step 4:

Then have pool noodles resting on chairs or elevated using ground stakes to be hurdles that kids have to jump over. (track& field)

Step 5:

Next, have bean bags that a child has spin and then toss as far as they can (like shot put) ahead of them into the area where there are cones (track & field)

Step 6:

Next, have a basketball that a child has to make 2 shots into hoop (or bucket provided) (basketball)

Step 7:

Then, the child must dribble the soccer ball (football) around the cones and make a shot into the goal. (football)

Step 8:

Lastly, the child must walk across the balance beam to the end and cross the finish line. (gymnastics)

Step 9:

You can make gold, silver, and bronze medals for each child to wear at the end using ribbon and cardstock. You can even have a little ceremony with music and your country’s anthem played!

Playful Questions

What makes you balance on one foot?

How come some people run faster than others?

How far can you jump?

What would you like to add to this obstacle course?

How could we make it harder?