As soon as our kiddos walk through the door, they are usually met with an obstacle course of some sort. Obstacle courses not only challenge performance, but provide a great opportunity for your child to gain gross and fine motor skills!
The best part: you are free to let your creative juices flow. Use mats, shapes, ladders, tunnels, ropes, swings, trampolines, benches, etc... the possibilities are endless!
So what does your child accomplish in an obstacle course?
Planning, problem solving, sequencing steps, and memorization. Ask your child to create his or her own course to really get those problem-solving skills working! Not to mention all the creativity and imagination involved.
Why just walk when you can animal walk? Improve motor planning skills by animorphing into a crab, bear, bunny, or inchworm to get from one location to the next -- or grab a partner and do some wheelbarrow walking (a great weight-bearing activity)!
A tale of two sensory input systems: Vestibular and Proprioceptive.
Vestibular input is all about balance and matching what you do with your body to what you see with your eyes. Bouncing on an exercise ball or swinging are both great ways to kick-start this system.
Proprioceptive input helps your body know where it is and what it's doing in space. Deep pressure helps, and heavy work is the way to go (pushing, pulling, lifting, etc.)
Engage the core and upper extremities.
Bilateral coordination: Use one hand after another on the monkey bars, or play catch with a ball.
Gravity, where? Balancing on top of unstable surfaces allows your child to adjust to gravitational challenges.
Keep calm and do some yoga poses: this increases body awareness and endurance.How many of these activities can you pick out in the pictures below? Remember, these are just a few of the endless possibilities in developing obstacle courses for functional and fun purposes!
Let's see what you can do! Snap a picture of your own obstacle course and share it with us!