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.
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!
My son is 14 now, and he still talks about his 7th birthday party as his best ever. I have to say it was pretty good–and super easy. First, I went to an appliance store and got 3 empty refrigerator boxes. Then I bought a Nerf gun (the kind that shoots foam darts) for each of the boys attending. If you don’t think Nerf guns are appropriate toys, you’d better stop reading right here!
When the party guests arrived, I divided them into 3 teams and gave each team a refrigerator box. Their task was to come up with a team name, and use markers and washable paint to decorate their refrigerator box to match their name. I cut out a door in each box (with fabric hung across the opening so no one could see in) and windows with flaps so they could open and close them. Each team also got matching bandanas to tie around their heads to identify which team they were on. Continue reading →
Summer is the best time of year to have a kid’s birthday party, don’t you think? My son has an August birthday, and I’ve had tons of fun coming up with summer birthday party ideas for him over the years.
The year he turned 6, the gods were smiling upon us, for the Summer Olympics were being held in Athens that very month. (This August, they’re in London.) I chose sports themed kids birthday invitations, and we held the party at a nearby park where there was plenty of flat, open space for our Olympic ‘events.’ Then it was all about thinking up Olympic birthday party ideas!