One challenge that all physical educators face, regardless of demographics or environment, is keeping students in motion!
We live in a snapshot world where doing anything for more than one minute is tedious.
To ease some of that tedium, I use Obstacle Courses for elementary students, and they are my favorites!
PE obstacle courses are great because every student is moving, they can practice a variety of skills and the kids are exhausted by the end of class.
Here are some obstacle course ideas for elementary schools. I recently recorded a video of one of my favorite PE obstacle courses.
Tips for a Successful PE Obstacle Course
The initial response I hear from teachers regarding obstacle courses is that they require too much set up time and equipment. I admit, when I first started using obstacle courses regularly I over-thought it and ran into these issues, but over the years I have created a good system (as we do with everything), and I see the positive effects they have on my students.
The most important thing I focus on each time I put a PE obstacle course together is making it equally meaningful for skill-building and good physical conditioning. I always include skills that we have previously learned, as well as skills we are currently working on. PE obstacle courses can be a great tool for skill review. I try to include obstacles that everyone can be successful at, and skills that students will find challenging.
Obstacle Course Set-Up
I have learned that the course can be straight, square or circular. It can go one direction or both directions. Students can start at both ends tagging each other as they finish, go down and back or go one way with a separate path back. Challenges can include racing each other or having students time each other.
The equipment does not have to be daunting. There are a few key pieces, but beyond that, most of the equipment is already in your possession.
Key Pieces of Equipment-
- Training Hurdles
- Arches & Domes
- Hula Hoops
- Jump Ropes
- Medicine Balls
- Fitness Spots/Poly Spots
- PA System for music (battery-operated for outside use)
Other PE Obstacle Course Equipment Options: (there are too many to list)
- Juggling Items
- Utility Balls or Sports Balls for skill building or review (football, soccer, basketball, etc.)
- Exercise Mats (Curl-Ups/Push-Ups)
I enjoy creating the courses as much as the students enjoy participating in them. I hope you enjoy the video and that it helps you create your own PE obstacle course!
If you have tried your own PE obstacle course and would like to share your ideas, please comment below!
– Three Excellent Flag Activities and PE Games for Elementary by Mike Graham
– Elementary Cross-Curricular Activities – Learning by Doing by Mike Graham
– 3 Coated-Foam Ball Activities for Elementary PE (Video) by Shannon Jarvis Irwin