Camp @ Home – Epic Outdoor Obstacle Course for Kids

Outdoor Activity for Ages 6+

With the popularity of obstacle course television shows such as “American Ninja Warrior” and “Ultimate Beastmaster”, creating your own at-home, makeshift jungle gym is becoming more and more common. Children absolutely love it, and parents love seeing their kids outside, active and challenged.
For most of us, building an entire obstacle course isn’t always feasible and, not to mention, not everyone’s idea of beautiful backyard scenery. Luckily, we’ve brainstormed some quick and easy ways to create a low-prep obstacle course using everyday household items that you probably have lying around the house. All you’ll need is a backyard or front yard with plenty of space, a stopwatch (your phone will do), a little time and some creativity. Let’s get started!

What You’ll Need:

  • Jump Rope
  • Hula Hoops
  • Yarn + Wooden Sticks
  • Pool Noodles
  • Plastics Cups + Ping Pong Balls
  • Egg + Spoon
  • Large, Heavy Books
  • Old Camp Clothes

Getting Started:

  1. Start by clearing space in your backyard to give your child(ren) ample space to run around, then assemble your materials together.
  2. Mark a distinct ‘Start’ and ‘Finish’ line. You can either paint the words ‘Start’ and ‘Finish’ on cardboard and tape the cardboard to a stick, or draw distinct lines on the grass to visually represent the beginning and end of the course. You can use removable spray paint to do this.
  3. Map out the backyard space that you have to work with. Take into consideration the space required to complete each obstacle and the distance between each activity. It helps to have a mix of activities, so that two similar obstacles do not follow one after the other.
  4. Now is the exciting part: putting the obstacle course together! From the list of items we have included above, here are some unique ideas on how to utilize these households items:
    • Jump Rope:
      • Challenge your kids to do a specific number of skips with the jump rope. You can also lay out your jump ropes in a squiggly pattern on the grass and have your kids walk on it, following the pattern you have laid out.
    • Hula Hoops
      • Challenge your kids to hop in and out of the hula hoops or “skip rope” with the hula hoop from point A to point B.
    • Yarn and Wooden Sticks
      • Plant two lines of wooden sticks into the ground parallel to one another approximately 1 to 2 metres apart. Wrap yarn around the wooden sticks just high enough for your child(ren) to crawl under.  You can also set this up to have your child(ren) jump over the yarn.
    • Pool Noodles
      • If you have extra pool noodles lying around, create tunnels for your child(ren) to crawl through. Simply insert two pencils on either ends of the pool noodle with the pencil end facing out. Place the two ends roughly 2-3 feet apart, sticking the pencil into the ground to create an archway. Line several pool noodles together to create a pathway for kids to crawl through.
    • Plastics Cups and Ping Pong Balls
      • Set up a table with multiple plastic cups placed on the table. Add some water to the cups for those particularly windy days. Create a line from which your child must throw from. Challenge your kid to get a specific number of ping pong balls into the cups from the designated throw line.
    • Spoon + Egg
      • Have your kids get from point A to point B holding a large spoon carrying a single egg. Boil the egg first to avoid messy clean-ups. If the egg drops, they must return to point A and try again. To make it extra challenging, have them make multiple trips and transfer a specific number of eggs from point A to point B.
    • Large, Heavy Books
      • Get a heavy book (textbooks work best) and have your kids place it on top of their heads. See if they can make three slow spins without dropping the book before moving on.
    • Old Camp Clothes
      • Make this obstacle course even more camp-nostalgic by gathering a pile of camp clothes and gear. Instruct your kids to put on five pieces of camp clothing first before running to the finish line!
This is by no means a comprehensive list of ideas. Look around your home and see what items around the house can be transformed and incorporated into your epic obstacle course. Get creative!
5.  Run through the obstacle course instructions with your child. Ensure they understand how to perform each obstacle safely. Then, bring them to the start line and have your stopwatch ready. Write down how long it took for each child to complete the course on a whiteboard or record each child’s personal best.

Extra Challenges

Once your child has completed the course successfully, feel free to make the course even more challenging by encouraging them to perform the entire obstacle course hopping on one leg or running backwards. If you have multiple children, the obstacle course can be completed as a relay race.
The beauty of this game is that anything goes as long as the balloon stays afloat! The more creativity you put into keeping your balloon up, the more fun it will be for you and your family.
We want to see your DIY obstacle courses and how much fun your children have completing it! Share your pictures and videos with us by tagging us on Facebook at @CircleSquareRanchAustin and Instagram at @csrsprucewoods or sending us a direct message!
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