Obstacle courses! Always a camp favorite and easy to repeat because we can make them differently (or the same!) each day, this is an activity that never gets old to our campers. They are fantastic activities for our speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists to collaborate on. An obstacle course works on following directions in a sequential order, motor planning to move your body in/around/over/under the obstacles, and then recalling the steps just completed. For some children, a simple instruction and 1 time model is enough. For others, motor planning through each step is very challenging. Once finished, our kids are asked to “tell their friends” how to do the course. This is an exercise in sequential language and recall for some, and simply listing the 3 steps for others. The level of the task can be tailored depending on the child’s language level.
From a social stand point, obstacle courses also work on waiting your turn, cheering on a friend, and talking to a friend to select who goes next. Depending on the day, we’ve had courses designed by the staff, by a single camper, and by a small group of campers. When they were designed by a camper or a group of campers, we worked with them to own their accomplishment and be a leader to teach/instruct the rest of the group on how to complete it.
The small group creating an obstacle course presents a whole other set of challenges, as the kids must work together to share their ideas, demonstrate flexibility if their idea isn’t chosen or is modified, and problem solve while building.
Obstacle courses are also an easy “take home” idea as well as no special materials are needed. Tables, chairs, pillows, hula hoops, blocks, boxes, train tracks, etc are all great materials for an obstacle course. And they can all be reused to create a new course just by changing the action done with them. Maybe the first action is to jump from hoop to hoop, maybe the second time it’s to crawl thru them. Be creative and imaginative and have fun with it!
We have had a great variety of courses over our 1st two weeks and we look forward to seeing what we can come up with over the last 2 weeks! Here are some pictures of our different courses over the two weeks.