One of my little’s favorite shows is American Ninja Warrior. Why? Because it’s amazing to see these people exercise their bodies in gravity and often physics-defying ways. The best part is that watching these shows inspires my littles to get out and become their own ninja warriors. Rather than simply swinging from their playset, they attempt to traverse from one side to the other without touching the ground. It’s awesome to watch and a great way for them to get to know their strengths and challenge their weaknesses. How does this apply to parties? Well if you want to be the coolest parent on the block, then you should definitely throw an Obstacle Course Party! Allow your littles and their friends to bring out their own Ninja Warriors and test their strengths. Yes, you could pay the $$ to have an obstacle course gym host your party, or you can throw one together in your own backyard.
Obstacle 01: Ladder Run
This is a pretty easy component of your obstacle course. Simply take a ladder (if you can find an old one at the second hand store, go for it!) and place it flat on the ground. Kids will have to skip and hop through the rungs to get from one side to the other.
Obstacle 02: Balloon Scramble
This is a great way to make kids giggle! You’ve got two options here: wet or dry. If you want the wet option, then replace the air filled balloons with water balloons and see the kids get splashed! How do you create this? Start by getting a long buffet table. Then blow up (or fill up) about 50 balloons. Next, hang the balloons from the bottom of the table with various lengths of yarn so that littles have to army crawl through them. Last, I like to take plastic table clothes and tape them down the sides of the table to keep the balloons under the table and make the journey a little tighter.
If you don’t want to use a table, you can purchase a foldable tunnel here that you could line with balloons instead!
Obstacle 3: Rope Swing
This one really only works if you’ve got a tree to suspend the rope. If you do, then begin by tying a very study rope from a very sturdy branch. Next, make some loops in the bottom of the rope so that it’s easier to grip. Last, place an inflatable kiddie pool under the rope! Kids will need to run, grab the rope and hop off the other side without falling into the water.
Obstacle 4: Balance Beam
This game works two ways: individual and as a team building activity. Start by getting a 2×4 in the length of your choice. The longer the beam, the more the kids have to work to get from one end to the other. Then simply place the balance beam on the ground and littles have to balance their way from one side to the other. If you want to try a fun team building game, then divide your group in half. Next, have each group balance single file on the beam. The goal is for each little to switch places with someone in the other group without stepping off the beam. It’s hard but super fun!
Obstacle 05: Hoop Alley
Begin by purchasing 8 hula hoops. You can usually find them at your local dollar store, or get some here. Next, lay out 8 (or more) hoops in a straight line. Then kids step into a hoop, lift it over their head, and drop it behind them as they move forward. This is one that you need to reset after each little’s turn.
Obstacle 06: ZigZag
To create this part of your course, layout 8-10 cones (get some here) in a straight line. The closer the cones, the harder this obstacle is. Then all kids have to do is zigzag through the cones to reach the other side. If you want to take it up a notch, have littles carry a water balloon on a spoon that they have to balance as they zig and zag.
Decorations for this party can be simple or all out. You could create a balloon arch or garland to tie in the balloon scramble. You can utilize some of the decorations from Big Dot of Happiness as well! They have a great “Running” theme that you could pull pieces from. Or you could turn the obstacle course into a Safari with cut out animals kids can find as they go through the course. If you decide to do that, Big Dot has a great selection of products here.
Food & Drinks
Drinks are an important part of an obstacle course party. You need to have lots of water on hand because kids will be super active. You could give each attendee a water bottle like these as a favor and to help save on bottled water.
When it comes to food, it’s a good idea to have lots of healthy things for kids to snack on since they will be moving and shaking. I’d suggest peanut butter on celery, carrot sticks and ranch, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes with cheese. For something sweet, try out caramel pop corn, granola bars, fruit snacks, or dried fruit.
Now get on out there and get going!