Staying Active with a Fun, Family Obstacle Course

family obstacle course

My goal has always been to keep my family active, but a no holds barred family obstacle course was not on my radar at all. Maybe you caught my reference to a family jog we took a few weeks back. We’ve kept at it, following a Couch to 5K app on some evenings and other evenings, just going for a stroll to the playground. My goals were to help get the kids in shape for track and help us get out and be active as a family. Unfortunately, the kids didn’t understand how running or walking for 30 minutes would help them win a 40M dash, long jump or shot put toss.

While trying to explain all my well-intentioned goals and reasons in a calm and rational voice over dinner last week, some how, the idea for replacing our “boring” runs with a family obstacle course took hold. (But only after I quickly ruled out buying them each their own personal DVD player to carry while they were running.) I sort of forgot about it until Monday when after a rough morning I found myself dreading an evening family jog. After a bit of time on Pinterest I found all sorts of inspiration for a backyard obstacle course. ‘Train Up A Child’ had some of the best ideas, so it’s the one I re-pinned but a quick search will locate many other obstacle course party pins, indoor obstacle course pins and half-naked people scaling walls in a Warrior Dash. (That’s just a heads up if your kids like to sneak a peek over your shoulder. “Mom, why’s that lady in muddy underwear jumping over a bonfire?”)

Before long, I was dragging pool noodles, ladder ball rungs, bocce balls, scrap lumber, hose from the pool pump, a sprinkler, four unconverted rain barrels and a partridge in a pear tree out to the back yard. And by partridge I mean a few stray chickens that kept wandering onto the course trying to eat the bocce balls and by pear tree I mean our cat who kept trying to attack Edie (because he knows Edie hates him). Seeing as I was no longer angry and screaming, the children helped me get the course set up. Once Tony got home, the Mantoan Dash was on!


GO! First, under the disgusting yoga mat supported by the ladder ball set.

Next, over the rain barrels, however you can manage!


Then, jog to the shot put area, clearly marked with a pole and tube from the pool, and hurl your bocce ball!

Like. A. Boss.

Then zig zag your way through the cones. “GO TO THE OUTSIDE OF THE CONES! Don’t cut through the middle…NO…the out….forget it…”

The only child not confounded by the zig zag.

Avoid the cat and make your way around the burn pile and across the balance beam.


Finally leap like a drunken gazelle over the pool noodle hurdles before the finish line sprinkler rewards you for your efforts. Proceed to whine to the time-keeper about why putting only one foot on the balance beam should count.


So for family time guaranteed to wear everyone out; obstacle courses!

Right after the dueling wheeled zig zag portion, Tony and I took turns having heart attacks.


  1. Leap like a drunken gazelle! My favorite caption and photo of the day. Perhaps the week. This whole thing is awesome. These kids are lucky to have you.

  2. I am super impressed with your creativity and touched that you included Fulton and Teddy!

  3. This is AWESOME!! I’m a big runner, and sometimes the boys like run with me, but for them it gets boring. Your idea is perfect! A couple of summers ago I made a version of a Tough Mudder course but it was too hard for the younger ones. I think everyone could get into something like what you created. Way to go on the family fitness (it’s not usually a priority for h.s. families!)!!

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