Set up an obstacle course - Post 4/5 of the “Get Your Kids Moving” Series
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It’s been more than one month since social distancing began, and Florida just announced that schools will officially be closed for the duration of the school year. That means that there is more than 1 month of kids being home 24/7, and that is if summer camps are able to open.
You may be running out of ideas for how to get your kids moving while at home. As occupational therapists, we love obstacle courses. Obstacle courses can be changed each time you do them, kids usually love doing them, and it allows us to focus on many skills in one activity. The obstacle course can be changed depending on what a child needs that day.
Obstacle courses are especially great during social distancing because they can be done anywhere with whatever you have available. The video I shared on our Facebook page yesterday used only chalk to complete a movement course on the sidewalk.
So how do you create an obstacle course?
Look for a safe spot (no tile, stable surfaces, etc.) either outside or inside.
Choose what skills you want to focus on. Are you trying to teach your kid to jump? Increase their upper extremity strength? Just get some of their energy out? Your obstacle course will look different depending on what you choose.
Decide how many steps you want the obstacle course to be. For me, this usually depends on how the child is able to follow directions, whether they get easily distracted, and their memory. For younger children I usually do 2 step obstacle courses because they may get confused or distracted. For older children, I will do 4-5 step obstacle courses.
Pick the items you want to use for obstacle course. These are some of my favorite and why i use them:
Puzzles – to measure how many times I want them to do the obstacle course. I’ll choose a 5-piece puzzle if I want them to do it 5 times.
Big dice – to roll how many times to do an action. For example, jumping jacks, jump in place, or scissor jumps.
Floor dots – To help kids know where to go for each step of the obstacle course. If you don’t have these at home, you can also tape down construction paper, use stuffed animals as a marking spot, or use cones.
Bean bags – to work on throwing and upper body coordination.
5. Put the steps in order. For older children, you can include them in planning the obstacle course!
I want your feedback! Are these tips working for you? I are am still working on generating more content, and would like to know what you want to see. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, call or text 561-223-1620, or direct message through any of the social media outlets to share your ideas. You can also connect with me through the form on the website.
Hope you are all staying healthy,
OT 4 ME
PO Box 273965
Boca Raton, FL 33427