Sometimes the weather doesn’t allow children to easily play outside. And most children need some form of gross motor play to help them stay manageable. My favorite way to help my children get this gross motor play, indoors, is through an indoor, gross motor obstacle course.
This obstacle course was simple to put together and a favorite of my preschooler and her friend, and later, my Kindergartner and his friend. My toddler liked to take the pieces of the course and make off with them. (That became Mommy’s obstacle course.) We spent nearly an hour, in the morning, running through this course over and over. Each run averaged about 95 seconds (yes, we did time them ALL.) When my Kindergartner came home, we spent another hour running it again. After all that running, the kids were decidedly calmer. Yippy for when an idea works.
The great thing about this activity is that you can use whatever you have on hand. If you want to set it up as I did, this is what you’ll need:
Three balls of various sizes
Three or four kitchen chairs
A hipity hop ball or hobby horse
And a pop up tube
This is what to do make the course.
First, designate a crawling area. This is where the pop up tube will go. If you don’t have a tube, you can just tell the children to crawl for a certain length of the course. We used our floor rug when the baby wandered off with our tube.
Next, place the box with the balls in it within three feet of the crawling obstacle. Then place the other empty box about four feet away (the distance may be increased depending on the age of the children who will be completing the course.) The object of this obstacle is to roll the balls into the box, and then take the balls back out and place them in the first box.
For the next obstacle, set up four kitchen chairs in a zig-zag across the room. Have the children tip toe as they slalom around the chairs, but only in one direction. Have the hipity hop ball or hobby horse by the last chair, and have the children bounce back through the chairs.
Then have them bunny hop back to the crawling obstacle, and finish by crawling through that obstacle.
But all of those instructions are just for how my obstacle course was made. You can make yours anyway you’d like. And I’d love to see videos or photos of how you made yours.
For safety reasons, I had the children go through the course one at a time. My Kindergartner wanted me to time him, and once that started, they all wanted to know their times. It was interesting though, they never compared their times to each other’s time. But they did compare each of their personal times.
My children, and a few neighborhood friends, had a great time running this course. I loved the way it encouraged the children to use their bodies, but didn’t cause chaos in my house. It was a great way for my kids to get some movement, and practice some gross motor skills, while staying comfortable inside.
Don’t forget to show me pictures or videos of your own indoor gross motor obstacle courses. I’d love to try a few out with my kiddos. Post them in Facebook or here, where ever you are comfortable. I’ll feature some in a post.