Summer Birthday Party Ideas: Obstacle Course

An obstacle course is one of my all-time favorite kids’ summer birthday party ideas. Kids love it, and if you’re creative it won’t cost you a penny. Using toys and large items you have around the house, you can create an obstacle course in your yard.  Here are some ideas for things to gather.
  • hula hoops
  • laundry baskets
  • rope
  • exercise balls and other balls
  • wading pool
  • Slip’n Slide
  • lawn chairs
  • sprinkler
  • garden hose
  • scrap lumber, such as 2 x 4s
  • ladder
  • burlap sacks
  • pop-up tents or tunnels
  • cones
  • balloons
  • brooms
  • pool noodles
  • baskets with handles
  • buckets
  • bean bag toss games
  • Frisbees
  • wiffle balls & bats
  • tennis rackets
  • bikes
Use your imagination–almost anything can be used for this summer birthday party idea, as long as it’s not sharp. Once you have everything gathered, start thinking about how to put them together to create different kinds of obstacles. You can also incorporate backyard play sets, like swings and slides, if you have them. Make sure there are different kinds of obstacles, some challenging, some silly, and some that will make them slow down, so that different skills are required. The older your kids, the longer the obstacle course should be. Here are some ideas:

  • Set up barriers to climb over, sticks to limbo under, and hoops to jump through
  • Toss balls through hoops, or into baskets or buckets
  • Set up a low balance beam (board) to walk across
  • Roll an exercise ball or hula hoop around a tree
  • Put your head down on a wiffle-ball bat and spin around 3 times
  • Ride tricycles for a distance
  • Jump over (or in and out of) a basket or wading pool
  • Fill up a bucket with a hose and carry it 10 feet without spilling
  • Stomp on balloons to pop them
  • Balance a broom on your hand for 5 seconds
  • Hop on a bike and serpentine around cones or other markers

Once you have the course figured out, there are several ways to run the activity. You can line the kids up and let them run it individually, timing each attempt with a stopwatch and letting them try to do it faster each time. Or you can create teams and have them run it as a relay. If you have enough of the same obstacles and a lot of space, you can also set up two identical courses and race relay teams side by side. But I wouldn’t worry too much about how it’s structured, because it’s not really about who wins. The fun is in watching the crazy things kids will do to complete it. And most kids want to do it more than once, so make sure that’s part of your plan!

Here are some kids birthday invitations that could work for this fun party! Look for more kids birthday party ideas on our blog.

All Strikes -- Pink Birthday InvitationBalloon Craze in Blue -- Unique Kids Birthday InvitationsGame On -- Sports Birthday Invitations

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