Benefits Of Obstacle Course In Preschool

Oct 31, 2022

Obstacle courses are a fun and challenging way to get little bodies moving. Obstacle courses are also a great way to improve ‘Praxis’ – the planning and sequencing of movement – which is an important skill for young children to learn and master.  These courses help our children solve basic problems as they learn how to maneuver up, over, around or through various obstacles. Completing obstacle courses creates opportunities for children to reflect and learn about the success (or otherwise) of their ‘motor plans’.

What Does ‘Praxis’ Mean?

Praxis is our ability to formulate a plan, or come up with a ‘motor plan’ (figure out how we are going to do it) and then execute this plan.  To do this effectively, integration of our senses is required – these include, vision, hearing and touch.

Children use their planning and sequencing skills for EVERYTHING; skipping, jumping, galloping, running, climbing a tree, dressing, eating and so many other required daily activities.  These planning and sequencing skills have an impact on a child’s ability to organise themselves and also learn new routines. It also encourages learning academic skills such as writing, drawing, cutting and pasting.

The foundation of Praxis includes (amongst others) coordination, balance, body awareness, postural control and muscular strength. Completing an obstacle course allows a child to test out their praxis skills in exciting ways, which they are able to repeat over and over again. Climbing under and over various objects, children improve the strength in their little hands, wrists, shoulders, and core.  Doing so allows them to comfortably take on tasks which require total concentration and precision, such as writing and cutting.

Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists highly recommend introducing children to obstacle courses.  The benefits are endless and lifelong:

Motor skills – Fine and Gross motor skills. Many parents would have heard of these important skills children need for their childhood development. Fine motor skills help children learn how to hold a pencil and grip small objects. Gross motor skills focus on the development of the larger body muscles. These help children walk, run, skip, gallop, jump, and climb. Focussing on these vital skills during early childhood development sets an excellent foundation for life.

Memory and problem solving. Obstacle courses help children learn to independently solve problems. They also memorize the quickest way to progress through the course. Memory and problem solving are critical skills required to become effective learners at school.

Improve bilateral integration. This simply means improving their ability to use both left and right sides of the body in a controlled, yet coordinated manner.

Children have the opportunity for tactile (ability to touch) play when they’re climbing under, over and around certain obstacles

The opportunity to enhance proprioception (knowing where your limbs are without looking for, or, at them).

Challenges the child’s vestibular system. This important sensory system tells us where our heads are in relation to the space around us Moving through, over or under obstacles aids with the development of this essential skill.



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