Obstacle courses provide exercise for children of all ages. From indoor courses to water courses, turn a variety of ordinary items into new activities for your children. Use obstacle courses for bored children or as a game at a birthday party. Time children with a stopwatch to see who can run the course most quickly, or make two identical courses so they can race side by side.
Make an indoor course by having children climb under tables and over pillows, slither through a tunnel made of couch cushions and step on a series of papers taped to the floor. Add challenges like having the children hold an empty paper towel rolls in each hand or wearing an oversize hat while running the course. For silly challenges, have the children stop at a checkpoint and sing a song or try to juggle three balls.
Use a few supplies to create a basic outdoor obstacle course for children to complete. Have the children jump in and out of hula hoops lying on the ground, crawl under lawn chairs, balance across a narrow board, ride a bike or tricycle, jump over or crawl under rope tied between trees and do a handstand. Other items to use to create an outdoor course include exercise balls, cones and jump ropes. The children can toss the exercise balls, run around the cones and jump rope 10 times during the course.
On a hot summer day, create a water obstacle course to cool children down. Place several plastic swimming pools around the yard and have children wade through each pool. Place pennies in some pools and have the children collect five pennies before moving on to the next obstacle. Other ideas for a water course include having the children balance a water balloon on their head, going down a slip-and-slide, running through water sprinklers, tossing water balloons into a bucket and submerging themselves in the pools.
Create a messy obstacle course for children who don't mind getting dirty. Fill plastic swimming pools with powdered milk, water and cereal. Have the children crawl through the messy bowl of cereal. Alternatively, fill the plastic pools with gelatin, cooked noodles, water and ice, or pudding. The children must crawl through the pools on their hands and knees. Other ideas for a messy course include a pudding slide, shaving cream balloon pop, cracking a raw egg on their head and running with buckets of water over their head.