Obstacle Courses

Obstacle Course

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What You'll Need:

  • A large outdoor or indoor space where kids can run, climb, crawl and do the physical activities that are required of a obstacle course
  • Cones
  • Tires
  • Barrels
  • Stakes
  • Rope or string
  • Wood Beams
  • Pool Noodles
  • Large empty boxes
  • Sprinklers/hoses
  • Slide
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Small Trampoline
  • A ladder placed on the ground
  • Buckets and bean bags
  • Other materials as suggested in the obstacle course variations listed below.

Before the Party:

Set up your obstacle course with enough room for the kids to move through safely. The easiest way to set it up, if you have the room is in a straight line across the yard or in a large circle. You can also set it up in stations but consider marking each one with a number so the kids know where to go next.

At the Party:

Send the guests one at a time through the obstacle course. They should move through the course as fast as they can! When everyone has had a turn, be ready to start again, because the kids will probably want to run the course several times! Older children may want you to time them as they run through the course.

Summertime Obstacle Course

Summertime Obstacle Course
Before the Party:

Collect a variety of large items to use for the obstacle course such as bean bags, tires, empty boxes and large toys. Avoid metal items or anything with rough edges so guests will not be hurt if they fall.

A piece of lumber set on the ground can become a balance beam, and short bushes in your yard can be used as hurdles to jump over. Create a tunnel for the children to crawl through by cutting holes on two sides of a large cardboard box. Lay a yoga mat on the ground and have the guests somersault from one end to the other. Another fun obstacle is to throw a ball through a hula hoop that you have hung from a tree branch.

Include some water obstacles such as jumping through a sprinkler, hopping through a wading pool, or running with a bucket of water. For even more fun, you can tie a rope to a strong tree branch with a wading pool full of water on the ground below to create a vine over a river. Set a toy crocodile or tiger on the edge of the wading pool, and have the children swing over the water.

Lay out the obstacles in your yard with some empty space between each one. Try to include items to step on, jump over, and run around. The course can be laid out in a straight line or curved, if that is a better fit in the available space. If you like, make a 'Start" and 'Finish" sign for your obstacle course.

Backyard Adventure Obstacle Course

Backyard Adventure

The Backyardigans are a group of anthropomorphic animals that encourage youngsters to use their imaginations by creating unusual scenarios that lead to solving a problem. This lends itself perfectly to an obstacle course adventure. Whether you are having a Backyardigans theme party or simply creating an imaginative adventure through an obstacle course it can be enjoyed by kids of all ages. You can adjust the level of difficult for the age group either by making the obstacle very simple or assisting them through more difficult activities.

For this obstacle course you will be utilizing several items placed throughout the yard for kits to jump over, crawl under and weave through.

Before the Party:

Set up an obstacle course in your backyard. Include obstacles like:
  • A line of wooden stakes your guests have to zig zag through.
  • A tarp secured 2 feet off the ground that your guests must crawl under.
  • Circles on the grass your guests much jump in, one by one. (White spray paint or hula hoops work well for this.)
  • A limbo pole your guests must limbo under.

When it is time to begin, organize the kids in a line and have them go in groups of two. This is not a timed course so make it more about the adventure that you create.

Sports Training Obstacle Course

Training Obstacle Course

Any kid that has participated in sports, especially football, knows the importance of having strength and good footwork. Creating an obstacle course that enables you to build these strengths is essential in improving your game. Furthermore, its a whole lot of fun. To build a good sports training course you'll need to focus on jumping, weaving, throwing and pushing, among other skills.

To add an element of difficulty to this course you can time the kids. The one with the best time wins a prize.

Before the Party:

Decide how you want to set up your obstacle course. We suggest the following course but you can improvise based on the materials you have to work with.

  • 10 tires set slightly staggered, side by side for the kids to alternately step through. If you don't have tires, anything circular will do.
  • Stakes in the ground with rope strung across them to create an obstacle that you need to crawl under. Set up another one a few feet ahead that you have to jump over. Do this alternately two times each.
  • Hang a hula hoop from a branch. Swing it from side to side. When the child approaches it, they will need to throw a football through it before they move to the next part of the course.
  • Place cones or stake in the ground about 5 feet apart and zig-zag through them.
  • Finish with a sprint to the finish line.

You can time the kids individually or separate them into two teams and the overall team with the best time wins.

Adventure Obstacle Course

Adventure Obstacle Course

Join Dora and Diego for an obstacle course adventure. You can create an obstacle course with a map and in order to get from the starting line to the finish line the kids will need to follow the instruction on the map. This is a lot of fun and really ties in with the Dora the Explorer party theme. You'll want to simulate the experience of going over the river, through the woods, over the mountain, through a tunnel, under a bridge and so on. Make sure you clearly name the items in your obstacle course on your map so it is easy to understand.

Some items you will need to create your course:
  • Boxes large enough to crawl through that have been taped together make a great tunnel to crawl through
  • A limbo stick that is high enough to be a bridge to go under and another that simulates a fallen tree trunk to jump over.
  • A wooden picnic table can be a mountain to climb over
  • A 2 foot wide by 6 foot long area marked on the ground can represent a river to cross. A blue yoga mat would work great. You can also have the kids run through a kiddie pool if you done mind them getting wet
  • Use a water hose to create an archway of water to cross under, telling kids that this is a waterfall

The final destination on your obstacle course should be the destination on the map. For example, the kids can follow the map through the obstacle course to find their way to the birthday cake.

Karate Obstacle Course

Karate Obstacle Course

The kids at your karate themed birthday party will love an obstacle course where they can put their kicking, punching and blocking skills to the test. This course can test, speed, agility, flexibility and technique but mostly its just for having fun.

Some items you will need to create your course:
  • Cones or tall thin boxes that you can do roundhouse kicks over
  • Styrofoam boards painted to look like wood planks for karate chopping
  • Objects hung from trees at varying heights to kick and punch.
  • A beam to walk across for balance
  • Various items to jump over and zig-zag through.
At the Party:
  1. Explain to the children that speed and agility are important skills to develop in martial arts.
  2. This activity will let them practice these skills.
  3. Then send the guests one at a time through the obstacle course.
  4. They should move through the course as fast as they can!
  5. When everyone has had a turn, be ready to start again, because the kids will probably want to run the course several times!
  6. Older children may want you to time them as they go through the course.

Basic Training Obstacle Course

Army Obstacle Course
Before the Party:

Set up a "Basic Training" obstacle course that your guests must navigate. Use the obstacle suggestions below, or come up with your own!

  1. Rope Climb - Securely tie a rope to a tree, swing set, or other stable anchor. Tie knots in the rope every 12 to 18 inches. Tie a bell or other noise maker to the top. Your guests must climb to the top of the rope and ring the bell before climbing back down and heading to the next obstacle.
  2. The Crawl - You will need eight 5-gallon buckets and four poles or long boards. Attach a 5-gallon bucket to each end of a pole or board and set them out in a row at three-foot intervals. Your guests must crawl under all of them on their bellies to move to the next obstacle.
  3. Hoop Run - Set out 6 inflatable pool rings or hula hoops in a line on the ground, two by two. Your guests must hop one foot in one hoop, then the other foot in the next hoop, and so on down the line.
  4. Step Up - You will need 8 stakes and 4 pieces of string. Set two stakes in the ground, about 4 feet apart, and tie a string between them that rests 6 inches off the ground. About 18 inches away, set up the next set of stakes in the same way. Continue until there is a series of hurdles set up in a row. Your guests must hop over the strings on their way to the next obstacle.
  5. Covert Movements - Gather large cardboard boxes (appliance boxes work well), and set them up randomly in a space around 10'x30'. Your guests must move between the boxes without touching them on their way to the next obstacle.

At the Party:

You can operate this activity in one of two ways. You could send all your guests out at once, so they can work together to get every person across the finish line, or you could send each guest out one-by-one, record how long it takes them to finish the course, and award a prize to first place.

Robot Obstacle Course

Robot Obstacle Course
Before the Party:

Create an obstacle course for a robot party or a Transformers party. The object will be to complete the course by navigating through a series of obstacles in order to reach the Central Processing Unit (finish line). You can add an extra element of difficulty by including "Fatal Errors" that will require the robot to go back to start.

Here are some examples of obstacles you can easily set up in your yard:

  • Crack the Code:This can be something like assembling a 5 piece puzzle or solving some sort of clue. For example, placing a ball under one of three cups then rearranging them and having the child guess where the ball is. If they guess correctly, they move on.

  • The Circuit Board:Tires place side by side can become a circuit board that you need to hop through to get to the next step.

  • Don't Trip the Wire:Rope strung from poles and tree trunks in a zig zag pattern become a maze of wires. Tell the kids that they are made of metal and if they touch the wires they'll cause a short circuit. If a child touches the rope they need to begin again.

  • Recharge the Batteries: This will require bean bags and a bucket. They must get 5 bean bags in the bucket before being fully recharged and moving to the next obstacle

  • Download:How long will download take? It depends on how fast you run. This is the dash for the finish line.
At the Party

The kids can go through one at a time until everyone has had a turn. If they choose, they can try several times to see if they can beat their score. At the end, everyone gets a prize.

Spy Games Obstacle Course

Phineas and Ferb Spy Game Obstacle

There are tons of secret agents on TV and in cartoons. Phineas and Ferb's pet platypus, Perry is more than he appears and is actually a super secret spy! Your Phineas and Ferb or spy guests will love acting like spies in our spy party game!

What You'll Need:
  • Red ribbon, string or yarn
  • Tape
  • A hallway
  • A stopwatch

Before the Party:

In an unused part of your party area, tape red string across the hallway. Cross some strings diagonally and place some horizontally. The hallway should resemble a laser grid from a spy movie.

At the Party:
  • Let one player at a time try to navigate from one end of the hallway to the other without touching any of the red strings.
  • If guests touch a string, shout "BEEP! BEEP! INTRUDER!" Send the guest back to the start to try again. Guests who make it all the way through without touching a string can be awarded a prize.
  • For more nimble players, use a stopwatch to time their course record.

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