Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Super Easy Indoor Obstacle Course for Toddlers and Preschoolers

I'm not sure how it is where you live, but it's ridiculously cold outside of my house right now. (I just looked at my phone to see what the temperature is, and it said it was 32 degrees. And I was like, "oh, that's not terrible." Then I realized it said it was last updated on November 25, 2014. The actual temperature is 4. Apparently my phone is so appalled by the single digit temperature that it refuses to acknowledge it. So there you go. It's cold.)

Two days ago, I woke up feeling really lousy. I spent most of the day in bed (luckily Dan was off) thinking I was going to vomit, but I didn't... which was nice. But then at around 2pm, Lucas threw up. And again a few hours later. And a few hours after that. Then Dan got sick. I thought I had escaped the worst of it, and then yesterday I woke up, and... threw up. A whole lot of times. It's been an unfortunate few days in the More Naps household.

Anyway, the point of me sharing my family's gastrointestinal struggles with you is to say that between sickness and the cold weather, Lucas has watched a LOT of television in the past few days. Like, an embarrassing amount. He felt fine yesterday, but Dan and I both felt like death, so Curious George, Daniel Tiger and Bob and Larry (of Veggie Tales) were babysitting while we hovered over the toilet. Good times. (Thankfully, Calista has remained healthy.)

Today, we all feel pretty confident that we will survive, but Lucas was majorly in "I want to watch TV all day" mode this morning. I figured he should probably actually do something more than sit around like a lump, so I had this idea:

Ok, I'm aware that that just looks like random things strewn about my living room, but it's actually:


Don't mind my messy house.

All you need is a few things they can step or climb over (stools, ottomans, large pillows, small chairs); crawl under (baby activity arch, dining room chair, coffee table); climb or step in (cardboard box, laundry basket); and jump over (swimming pool noodle, rolled up towel, line of masking tape on the floor.) You can literally assemble it in under five minutes.  Show them how to do it (when I showed Lucas, I somehow managed to get my hair tangled in the baby activity mat and was stuck for a full minute, for real,) and let the fun begin.

You can always switch the items up or add a new obstacle if they start to get bored. After nap time, we added the scarf "tight rope" for him to balance on (it's just stretched out on the floor and he walks on it), some pillows to crawl over, and a blanket to do a somersault on. As an added bonus, crawling under the activity arch makes his hair do this:

And if you need more ideas to keep your toddlers or preschoolers entertained while it's ridiculously cold, check out these posts I wrote last winter:

Ways to entertain your toddler inside when it's ridiculously cold outside

Five things that might make your toddler forget about TV (at least temporarily)

And here's another video of the obstacle course from this morning that features a mildly fussy Calista:

He kept referring to it as a magical trick ("mag-i-jul trick,") and as evidence of the fact that he's been watching too much TV, he was doing it while pretending to be Curious George's friend Marco ("Marble,") but it killed quite a lot of time this morning.

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  1. This is such a cute idea! We're dealing with super cold weather as well, so I'm definitely seeing an indoor obstacle course in our future. I may even up the ante of my big kids.

  2. What a fun idea! It sure it hard to keep them occupied on these cold days, but this looks like a blast! My daughter always loved to build forts! hehe

  3. The high here yesterday was 2... I totally feel you! We do this sometimes too, my kids are older so it's a little more elaborate but you have to do something to get their energy out!

  4. this is genius. i'm totally committing this to memory until i need it a couple of years from now. also, lucas is adorable.