This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Primrose Schools; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Hudson has been really into racing activities this month and gets a huge kick out of me timing him as he completes a task. He asked me if we could do a fun project together one day and I had just the perfect idea: a backyard obstacle course!
I found a bunch of pool noodles marked down and bought them knowing we could use them to make something fun!
The rest of the supplies were things we already had at home, plus a few little things I picked up at a hobby shop and the dollar store. You can totally get creative and use whatever items you have on hand for a fun kid-friendly obstacle course!
We used wooden sticks from the hobby store to hold our pool noodles in place. I taped two noodles together to make archways to duck under, and used two noodles as obstacles to jump over. Hudson loved helping me put everything together and map it all out. We used cones to zig-zag through and I made a finish line with a crepe paper curtain. It was SO fun!
Hudson has had some big changes this month. He recently turned 5 and started a “young fives” program at school. We debated back and forth about whether or not we should send him to kindergarten. If we sent him, he would have turned 5 during the second week of school. And due to a regulation in our school district, he would most likely be the youngest in the class. Hudson is smart, and funny, and loves school. But I knew in my gut he just wasn’t ready. I wanted to give him the chance to learn and develop a little more at home before jumping in to full-time school. We knew this decision was coming and spent a lot of time trying to decide what was best for him.
Ultimately it came down to this: I will never regret giving Hudson an extra year to grow, both emotionally and physically, before starting school.
So, since we get an extra year at home, I want to help both Hudson and Sadie be successful as they grow by encouraging a few simple skills at home. Primrose Schools has an excellent resource of ideas to foster skills in your children while they are at home. They encourage kids to develop in six areas of executive function skills, all of which can be learned at an early age: teamwork, adaptability, self-control, critical thinking, problem solving, and working memory.
For this obstacle course activity, I really tried to focus on three of these areas: problem solving, teamwork, and self-control.
First up: creative problem solving. I set out all of our supplies for the obstacle course and then asked Hudson questions that encouraged him to think through different solutions. I asked him things like “what could we build with this?” and “how could we make this stand up?” or “how tall do you think we should make this piece?” as we went along.
It was great to watch Hudson come up with creative ideas and solutions for the obstacle course. The second skill, teamwork, really came in to play as Hudson helped me construct each piece of the obstacle course. We talked about how fun it is to work on a project together. He loved helping me make the decisions of where items should go and how they should all fit together. He even had some great ideas I hadn’t thought of! Each time I praised him for coming up with a great idea, he would always get this huge smile on his face!
I had a rough idea about how the obstacle course would be put together, but Hudson really used some creative problem solving to add in his own thoughts and opinions….and I loved it! I originally wanted the hula hoop to be something to jump on while it was laying on the ground, but Hudson had the idea to make it a ring to jump through. I loved watching his brain work as he thought out each section of the course.
Next, I tried to focus on helping my kids learn self-control.
Both of my kids struggle with self-control…but what kid doesn’t? My kids sometimes have little arguments with each other or outbursts when they don’t get their way.
It’s normal for them to feel this way as they learn how to control their emotions and behavior. So we’ve been working on this skill at home, and listening and following directions in our obstacle course has been great for both of them.
Sadie really picked up on how to complete each obstacle by watching Hudson run through it first. She started off running around most items, but after watching her big brother she really got the hang of it! Both kids demonstrated great teamwork and self-control. This obstacle course was a win-win for everyone! Plus it tired them out….which was a win for me!
I love that doing these simple and fun activities with my kids while they are home with me helps them learn, grow, and achieve big dreams in the future. If you would like to learn more about the executive function skills, be sure to check out Primrose Schools’ website for lots of fun and creative ideas you can do with your kids at home! Primrose Schools is my new go-to source for early education and childhood development content.
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