In my last post, I wrote all about why I love setting up obstacle courses for my students at school. They are a great way for students to get the sensory input and goal-directed movement they need. It can be hard to visualize exactly what items to use and how to set up your obstacle courses. In these next few posts, I want to give you actionable tips and ideas that you can use in your classroom tomorrow. We will also problem solve real life situations, such as what to do if you are short on time, space or funds for equipment. Today, let’s take a look at 10 of my favorite items to use when building obstacle courses.
These are my number one go to, must have item when organizing any kind of gross motor activity. Students need explicit visual reminders of where to sit or stand. Polyspots are lightweight, easy to transport and super versatile.
Cones are another must have item for me. I tend to use them to make a route for students to follow when on the scooter. You can also use them as obstacles to jump over or a way to indicate where to start/stop an exercise.
My students absolutely LOVE tunnels. The crawling is great for proprioceptive input. Pro tip- if you have students who like to cozy up in the tunnel and not come out, don’t until the tunnel until it is time for the student to crawl through. Put a motivating activity in the other end of the tunnel so the student will crawl all the way through.
There are many different options, but students love walking across any kind of balance beam! My students are currently loving this option that is textured. It comes in pieces, and they love being my helper to put the pieces together.
Scooters are so fun! Students can sit on their bottoms or lay on their tummies to propel themselves. When using scooters, I like to add some obstacles to maneuver around using cones, or items to pick up along the way.
A trampoline is a great way for students to get proprioceptive and vestibular input. You can pair academic concepts such as counting or jumping while saying the ABCs.
A balance board or BOSU ball is a great option to add to an obstacle course. To make it more challenging, you can have students pick up items from the ground or toss a ball back and forth while on the board.
Visuals are essential for helping our learners understand what we are asking them to do. In addition to using exercise cards, I like having countdown strips available so students know how many reps of an exercise to do.