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Backyard obstacle course

Kids love obstacle courses. Warm weather and backyards are the perfect time and place for kid-friendly hurdles, feats of balance and hula-hoop jumps.

One of the greatest things about a homemade obstacle course (and what we here at love about them) is that you can use whatever items you have on hand. Don’t have what it takes to create some good obstacles? Head to your local site and get inspired.

Obstacle course ideas for toddlers and preschoolers

Have some toddlers and preschoolers to entertain? The little ones don’t care about the cost of your low-budget summer fun. They just want to have a good time and engage their imagination. Instead of telling them to crawl under the picnic table or follow the path of stones, take them on a safari through the jungle.

  • Lay down a narrow board for a balance beam
  • Create a tunnel using a cardboard box and crawl through “army style”
  • Walk the “tightrope” using a jump rope or garden hose
  • Make a line of hula-hoops and jump from hoop to hoop
  • Design a slalom course using just about anything (shoes, stones, buckets, toys, etc.) and zigzag your way through (on foot or on wheels)
  • Run through the sprinklers (check out our DIY sprinkler for the grand finale)

Obstacle course ideas for older kids

Get ready to challenge the bigger kids! Take out the stopwatch and time the event for a little extra excitement. The older kids are up for a challenge, so add some difficulty to the course. No need to buy expensive props, just work with what you have and do some repurposing.

  • Lay down a narrow board for a balance beam and have the kids balance a book or beanbag on their head
  • Put down a wooden ladder so the kids can hop through the rungs on one foot
  • Encourage teamwork: 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
  • Use the kiddy pool and fish for metal objects. Simply tie a magnet to a string and attach to a stick
  • Use the trees and some string to create a spider web and let the kids make their way through

No matter how you design your obstacle course or what items you use, this backyard project is sure to be a summer hit. So, dig through the garage and look in the shed for some ideas to get the kids moving and having fun.

Here are some obstacle course items we found on the local sites


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Freelance Writer, Mom to One and an avid believer in supporting local and living simply.

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