Creating an Obstacle Course with Household Items
When you think of obstacle courses, your mind probably goes to something along the lines of American Ninja Warrior. The obstacle courses I’m thinking of are a little more low-tech.
Obstacle courses can be beneficial for children and adults with a variety of occupational therapy goals, including:
- Motor skills: Obstacle courses can help to improve gross motor skills, such as balance, coordination, and strength. They can also help to improve fine motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination and dexterity.
- Sensory processing: Obstacle courses can provide a variety of sensory input, which can help to improve sensory processing skills. For example, an obstacle course might include crawling through a tunnel, balancing on a beam, or jumping over a hurdle. These activities can provide proprioceptive input, vestibular input, and tactile input.
- Attention and focus: Obstacle courses can help to improve attention and focus. Navigating an obstacle course requires children to focus on the task at hand and to ignore distractions. This can be helpful for children who have difficulty paying attention or who are easily distracted.
- Problem-solving: Obstacle courses can help to improve problem-solving skills. Children need to use their problem-solving skills to figure out how to navigate the course and to overcome challenges. This can be helpful for children who have difficulty solving problems or who are hesitant to take risks.
- Social skills: Obstacle courses can be a fun and engaging way for children to socialize with others. They can work together to complete the course, or they can compete against each other. This can help to improve social skills such as cooperation, communication, and teamwork.
Before you start creating your obstacle course, here are a few tips:
- Consider the child’s individual needs and goals. What skills are you hoping to target? What challenges does the child face?
- Make the course adjustable. This will allow you to challenge the child as they progress.
- Use a variety of materials. This will provide a variety of sensory input and help to keep the child engaged.
- Incorporate teamwork. This can help to promote social skills and cooperation.
- Make it fun! The child should enjoy the obstacle course and be motivated to complete it.
Now that that’s covered, here are some ideas for obstacle courses using things around the house:
- Crawl tunnel: Use a few chairs or blankets to create a tunnel for kids to crawl through.
- Balance beam: Use a piece of wood or a yoga mat to create a balance beam for kids to walk or hop across.
- Hula hoop challenge: Set up a row of hula hoops for kids to jump through.
- Beanbag toss: Line up some laundry baskets or buckets for kids to toss beanbags or stuffed animals into.
- Sack race: Fill a pillowcase or sleeping bag with some pillows or blankets and have kids race each other while wearing it.
- Obstacle course, “Ninja Warrior”-style: Use a variety of household items to create an obstacle course for kids to navigate. Some ideas include crawling under chairs, jumping over pillows, and balancing on a broomstick.
Creating an indoor obstacle course is a great way for kids to get some exercise, have fun, and improve their coordination and balance. With a little creativity, you can easily turn your living room into a fun and challenging obstacle course for kids of all ages.