Christina Bleckinger has enjoyed life as a single mom, and had so much fun trying out for “American Ninja Warrior” last year that she decided to blend two of her passions into a new, part-time business: the School Wellness Awareness Project, or SWAP.
Bleckinger, 42, and her partners have brought makeshift obstacle courses into schools in an effort to get kids moving.
She offered the following tips on how to help kids move at home with a backyard obstacle course. You can modify some of the suggestions into something for indoors.
“Your whole family can participate in gathering items, setting up the course, and testing your skills in a friendly family competition,” Bleckinger said. “You can use whatever you have on hand: hula hoops, stepping stones, sticks, rolled-up towels.”
• Lay down a 2-by-4 for a balance beam
• Walk the “tightrope” using a jump-rope or garden hose
• Stand on one foot for a count of five
• Go through a pop-up tunnel
• Crawl under a table or bench
• Lay a broomstick across two chairs and crawl under
• “Army crawl” across a blanket or sheet
• Make a line of hula hoops and jump from hoop to hoop
• Create a Hopscotch board with chalk
• Do 20 jumping jacks
• Use a pogo stick from point A to point B
Pull and ride
• Pull a wagon along a sidewalk chalk path
• Take a lap on a tricycle or scooter
Reach and toss
• Reach and touch balloons hanging from a tree branch, at your child’s tippytoe height
• Throw beanbags into a laundry basket or bucket
• Toss paper plate rings (cut out the center) onto a water bottle for a homemade ring toss
• Shoot a basketball
• Walk through a wading pool
• Toss a water balloon at a target (fence, tree, bucket, etc.)
• Run through the sprinkler (This is a great course finale!)
Walk and weave
• Set up plastic cones for a classic weaving drill
• Walk backward 10 steps
• Zigzag through a slalom course of hats, shoes, or whatever else you can find
Next time you go to the park, pack a few hula hoops, cones, jump-ropes, and beanbags for making obstacle courses on the go. Add in playground features such as slides, ladders, and rock walls for even more variety in your course.
“This is a great activity for a group of friends to do together,” Bleckinger said, “or for making new friends at the park.”