Obstical Courses: Gross Motor and Speech Development

I love obstacle courses and as the weather gets colder and wetter, I tend to use them more in my classroom.  The following is a blog I often give to parents:

“What is an obstacle course?

An obstacle course is a series of challenging physical activities an individual must navigate through. The activities often require gross motor skills such as climbing, walking, running, crawling, jumping, balancing, and maybe even rolling, spinning, and swinging! You can make the courses easy or difficult, and can develop and plan them around the specific needs and abilities of the people who will be completing them. They are fantastic for gross motor, motor planning, visual perception, critical thinking, problem solving, and speech and language skills.  How can you make one in your home? You can make an obstacle indoor or outdoor, but today I am going to talk about making an indoor one. You will need to first gather items to set up the obstacle course. Some possible ideas:

Pillows Blankets Chairs Ottomans Couches Tables Hula-hoops Books Tents Large baskets Balls Balloons Pop up tunnels Old cardboard boxes String, paper, tape, clothespins

Once you gather your items, you will want to set up your course! You can either set it up on your own, or have your children help you (depending on age). You can even turn this into a big project and have your child draw blue prints for the course! As far as what types of obstacles you have will depend on your materials and your children’s ages/developmental levels. The possibilities are ENDLESS. Here are some examples I have gathered from my own obstacle course building and from searching the net:

Go under or over chairs or tables Walk on top of chairs Go through tunnels (either a pop-up tunnel or make your own with a sheet and sturdy chairs or out of old cardboard boxes) Go in/out/through tents Go over a couch Jump from the couch onto a big piles of pillows Jump in hula-hoops in a row on the floor Walk on books set up on the floor like stepping stones Crawling under/over a string that is tied between objects (or walk under it like in limbo) Throwing balls into buckets or baskets Keep a balloon in the air for 10 seconds Have areas set up of different activities they have to do before moving onto the next like jumping rope, jumping up and down three times, counting to 10, saying the ABC’s, spinning around in circles 5 times, naming the presidents, doing a math problem…see how the possibilities are E N D L E S S? If your child/student needs to work on a specific skill, just set up an area for this. For example if you are an SLP you can set up words all over the course that the students need to say 10 times each.”

Read the entire post here:  http://www.playingwithwords365.com/2012/03/obstacle-course-great-for-language/

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