Setting Up a Toddler Obstacle Course That Is Safe & Fun (AT THE SAME TIME)

Setting Up a Toddler Obstacle Course That Is Safe & Fun (AT THE SAME TIME)

Updated on

Reviewed

Our articles are meticulously reviewed by qualified professionals specializing in child development, education, and health. Our reviewers ensure that our content is comprehensive, accurate, and reflects the most current, evidence-based research and best practices in the field. Before publication and during significant updates, our team rigorously evaluates each article to guarantee its relevance and usefulness for our audience. At Splashmate, we are dedicated to supporting the well-being and development of children, offering resources that parents and educators can depend on.

by
Tara Jones

Tara Jones is a renowned Child Development Professional with over 10 years of experience. Holding a Bachelor's degree in Child Psychology, Tara has made significant contributions as an early childhood educator and a respected writer in the field. She is known for her innovative teaching methods and has been instrumental in integrating play-based learning into child development practices. Tara's workshops and publications are highly sought after for their practical insights and evidence-based approach. As a recognized authority on child development, her work continues to shape educational practices and support healthy child growth.

Key points

  • Setting up an obstacle course for toddlers aids in developing motor skills, balance, and coordination.
  • Obstacle courses enhance gross motor skills, problem-solving abilities, and encourage creativity in toddlers.
  • Planning involves considering space, age-appropriate elements, and keeping it simple and fun.
  • Everyday items like pillows, hula hoops, and boxes can be used to create a safe and engaging course.
  • Safety is crucial, and supervision is necessary during the toddler's exploration of the obstacle course.

On this page:

Understanding the Benefits of an Obstacle Course for Toddlers

Why Obstacle Courses?

Planning Your Toddler's Obstacle Course

Considerations for Setup

Setting Up the Obstacle Course

Further Readings

 

 

Setting up an obstacle course for toddlers is not just a fun activity; it's a great way to help them develop their motor skills, balance, and coordination. With a little creativity and some household items, you can create a safe and exciting obstacle course right in your living room or backyard.

 

In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to set up a toddler-friendly obstacle course that promises loads of fun and learning.

 

Understanding the Benefits of an Obstacle Course for Toddlers

Understanding the Benefits of an Obstacle Course for Toddlers

Obstacle courses are more than just play. They are key to a toddler's physical and cognitive development.

Why Obstacle Courses?

  • They enhance gross motor skills.
  • They improve problem-solving abilities.
  • They encourage creativity and imagination.

For more on the developmental benefits of obstacle courses, Zero to Three provides insightful information.

Planning Your Toddler's Obstacle Course

The first step is planning. You'll want to consider your space, the materials you have, and your toddler's abilities.

Considerations for Setup

  • Use safe, soft materials.
  • Ensure the course is age-appropriate.
  • Keep the course simple and fun.

Gathering Materials for the Course

You don't need fancy equipment to create an engaging obstacle course. Everyday items will do the trick.

Materials You Might Use

  • Pillows and cushions for climbing or stepping over.
  • Hula hoops or taped shapes on the floor for jumping in and out.
  • Tunnels made from large boxes for crawling through.

For more ideas on using household items for play, The Imagination Tree offers heaps of creative suggestions.

Setting Up the Obstacle Course

Setting Up the Obstacle Course

Now it's time to put it all together. Arrange the obstacles in a sequence that makes sense and is easy to follow.

Course Layout Ideas

  • Start with simple tasks and gradually increase difficulty.
  • Create clear start and end points.
  • Ensure there's enough space between each obstacle for safe navigation.

Safety First: Ensuring a Secure Environment

Safety is paramount when setting up an obstacle course for toddlers.

Safety Tips

  • Remove any sharp or breakable objects from the area.
  • Supervise your toddler at all times.
  • Use soft landing surfaces like mats or carpets.

For more safety tips in child play, Pathways.org is an excellent resource.

 

Further Readings

For those interested in more activities that promote toddler development, "Balanced and Barefoot" by Angela J. Hanscom offers insights into the importance of outdoor play and movement. Additionally, "The Toddler's Busy Book" by Trish Kuffner provides a range of activities specifically designed for toddlers, including many physical play ideas. These books are valuable resources for parents and caregivers looking to enrich their toddler's playtime.

Creating a toddler obstacle course is a wonderful way to engage your child in active play while supporting their development. With simple materials and a focus on safety, you can set up a course that provides hours of fun and learning. So, get creative, have fun, and watch your little one thrive!

Back to blog

At Splashmate, we are dedicated to supporting the well-being and development of children, offering resources that parents and educators can depend on. Read more about our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Robinson, L. R., Danielson, M. L., Claussen, A. H., Visser, S. N., Scott, K. G., Beckwith, L., Katz, L. F., Smith, D. C. (2019). The Legacy for Children™ Randomized Control Trial: Effects on Cognition Through Third Grade for Young Children Experiencing Poverty. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 40(4), 275–284. doi:10.1097/DBP.0000000000000655. Read the article
  2. Cree, R. A., Bitsko, R. H., Robinson, L. R., Holbrook, J. R., Danielson, M. L., Smith, C., Kaminski, J. W., Kenney, M. K., Peacock, G. (2018). Health Care, Family, and Community Factors Associated with Mental, Behavioral, and Developmental Disorders and Poverty among Children Aged 2–8 years — United States, 2016. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 67(5), 1377-1383. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6705a1. Read the article
  3. Sharapova, S. R., Phillips, E., Sirocco, K., Kaminski, J. W., Leeb, R. T., Rolle, I. (2018). Effects of Prenatal Marijuana Exposure on Neuropsychological Outcomes in Children Aged 1-11 Years: A Systematic Review. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 32(6), 512-532. doi:10.1111/ppe.12514. Read the article
  4. Haarbauer-Krupa, J., Lee, A. H., Bitsko, R. H., Zhang, X., Kresnow-Sedacca, M. J. (2018). Prevalence of Parent-Reported Traumatic Brain Injury in Children and Associated Health Conditions. JAMA Pediatrics, 172(11), 1078-1086. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.2743. Read the article
  5. Hartwig, S. A., Robinson, L. R., Comeau, D. L., Claussen, A. H., Perou, R. (2017). Maternal Perceptions of Parenting Following an Evidence-based Parenting Program: A Qualitative Study of Legacy for Children™. Infant Mental Health Journal, 38(4), 499-513. doi:10.1002/imhj.21642. Read the article
  6. Morris, A. S., Robinson, L. R., Hays-Grudo, J., Claussen, A. H., Hartwig, S. A., Treat, A. E. (2017). Targeting Parenting in Early Childhood: A Public Health Approach to Improve Outcomes for Children Living in Poverty. Child Development, 88(2), 388–399. doi:10.1111/cdev.12743. Read the article
  7. Beasley, L. O., Silovsky, J. F., Espeleta, H. C., Robinson, L. R., Hartwig, S. A., Morris, A. S., Esparza, I. (2017). A Qualitative Study of Cultural Congruency of Legacy for Children™ for Spanish-speaking Mothers. Children and Youth Services Review, 79, 299-308. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.06.024. Read the article
  8. Holbrook, J. R., Bitsko, R. H., Danielson, M. L., Visser, S. N. (2017). Interpreting the Prevalence of Mental Disorders in Children: Tribulation and Triangulation. Health Promotion Practice, 18(1), 5-7. doi:10.1177/1524839916670873. Read the article
  9. Bitsko, R. H., Holbrook, J. R., Kaminski, J. W., Robinson, L. R., Ghandour, R. M., Smith, C., Peacock, G. (2016). Health-care, Family, and Community Factors associated with Mental, Behavioral, and Developmental Disorders in Early Childhood – United States, 2011-2012. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 65(9), 221–226. doi:10.15585/mmwr.ss6509a1. Read the article
  10. CDC. (2013). Mental Health Surveillance Among Children, United States 2005–2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 62(Suppl; May 16, 2013):1-35. Read the article
  11. Katsantonis, I., McLellan, R. (2023). The role of parent–child interactions in the association between mental health and prosocial behavior: Evidence from early childhood to late adolescence. International Journal of Behavioral Development. doi:10.1177/01650254231202444. Read the article
See Our Editorial Process
Meet Our Review Board
  • How to Make a Glitter Sensory Bottle for Toddlers

    How to Make a Glitter Sensory Bottle for Toddlers

    On this page: Benefits of Sensory Play for Toddlers Choosing Safe Materials for Your Sensory Bottle Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Glitter Sensory Bottle Further Readings   Creating a glitter...

    How to Make a Glitter Sensory Bottle for Toddlers

    On this page: Benefits of Sensory Play for Toddlers Choosing Safe Materials for Your Sensory Bottle Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Glitter Sensory Bottle Further Readings   Creating a glitter...

  • Sensory play

    Exploring Sensory Play: Creative Ideas for Babies

    On this page: Touch and Feel Boxes Homemade Edible Paint Water Play Sound Bottles Texture Balloons Further Readings   Sensory play is a fun and important part of a baby's...

    Exploring Sensory Play: Creative Ideas for Babies

    On this page: Touch and Feel Boxes Homemade Edible Paint Water Play Sound Bottles Texture Balloons Further Readings   Sensory play is a fun and important part of a baby's...

  • Dynamic Activities for 18-Month-Olds: Learning Through Play

    Dynamic Activities for 18-Month-Olds: Learning ...

    On this page: Sensory Bins: Exploring Textures and Shapes Musical Fun: Encouraging Rhythm and Movement Building Blocks: Enhancing Cognitive and Motor Skills Story Time: Fostering Language and Imagination Art and...

    Dynamic Activities for 18-Month-Olds: Learning ...

    On this page: Sensory Bins: Exploring Textures and Shapes Musical Fun: Encouraging Rhythm and Movement Building Blocks: Enhancing Cognitive and Motor Skills Story Time: Fostering Language and Imagination Art and...

1 of 3