As summer passes, keeping kids active gets a bit more difficult. They’ve grown tired of the swing and slide routine, and you’re tired of the cleanup after playing “hot lava” on the living room furniture for the 500th time.
You might not have the time to guide your kids through every activity. Work is getting busier and it would be great if they were entertained and active all on their own.
Just a few hours of fun projects with the kids could earn your family endless hours of fun and physical health.
This fall, consider building your very own backyard parkour course! Don’t worry, it’s easier (and cheaper) than you might think.
Parkour can be fun and healthy for your kid and their friends. Here are some of the fun and easy ways you can make a course at home.
What is Parkour?
Parkour is the physical and mental art of getting past obstacles, in the most creative and extreme ways possible. Typically, that means running, rolling, jumping and even vaulting over everyday items.
The parkour trend started in France in the 1980’s, and became popular thanks to viral videos.
While it’s typically performed in urban areas, it’s a good idea to give your kids a safe space to practice before they hit the streets (or Ninja Course).
The Benefits of Parkour for Children
We all know parkour is fun, and it seems to come naturally for kids. Just think about how many times a day you have to make sure they’re not climbing to unsafe heights and tumbling down the hallway. Now, imagine a place where they can do it all safely and reap extra rewards!
The benefits of parkour for children certainly make it worth bringing a parkour course home.
Physically, it helps kids develop better balance, which can help prevent future injuries. It also helps them build physical strength, flexibility, and overall health.
There are mental perks, too. Parkour helps children learn problem solving skills. Games like hot lava encourage them to strategize their path and movements. And feeling stronger, healthier and smarter is the perfect recipe for them to build self-confidence.
Building a Parkour Course at Home
Bringing the joys of parkour home is much easier than you might imagine. Plus, it’s a great way to upcycle some of the materials cluttering up your garage!
Before you start building, make sure you have all the materials listed for each exercise. There’s nothing worse than a half finished project sitting in your backyard because you were missing a piece.
Prepare your toolbox and take a look at the materials you have on hand to build with. If you don’t have something listed, it’s likely you have an item to replace it that you might have forgotten about.
In order to ensure safer landings for any falls, you might also want to pick up a few outdoor play mats and pool noodles to pad any poles.
Pool Noodle Hurdles
Pool noodle hurdles are one of the easiest obstacles you can create, and it can keep kids entertained for days, weeks, even months. They’re also very easy to clean up, so if you need them out of the way for your next BBQ they can be taken down as quickly as you set them up.
The best part? Kids can create and dismantle them all on their own.
- 4-6 baskets paired according to size
- A pool noodle for each pair
To make it:
- Simply gather different sized buckets, and pair them according to size. Ex: 2 identical trash bins for a high hurdle, 2 identical laundry baskets as smaller ones.
- Duct tape a pool noodle to the bottom of each of the baskets. Allow your children to set them up at the distance they’d like, and voila! Your parkour course has begun.
Balance beams not only help build ankle strength and overall balance, but they’re a fun and safe way for kids to practice jumps and landings for other activities.
For this one, you’ll need:
- 2-3 2×4 pieces of wood
- A screw gun
- 10 3” wood screws. If you want to make the beam more challenging, you can use a bathroom style ADA bar instead of wood for the part your kids will balance on.
To create the beam:
- Screw each end of one wood plank or ADA bar into the middle of 2 2×4’s.
- To make it higher, simply stack the 2×4’s and screw until secure.
You’re probably familiar with dome climbers from your own childhood, as they’re a popular staple on playgrounds everywhere. And for good reason! On a dome climber, kids can climb, swing, and play pretend.
While there are DIY methods to building a dome climber, your safest bet is to buy one and assemble it using the company’s recommended parts and instructions.
More Active Fun Year Round
While an at-home parkour course can do wonders for keeping kids healthy and entertained, it can still be easy to default to screen time when it becomes too chilly to play outside. And while a movie night or iPad unwind is fine now and then, it’s going to be a huge help to have a backup plan.
This year you don’t need to let weather get in the way of having active, happy kids. They can reap the rewards of parkour year-round by trying out an indoor course. And no, we don’t mean your new couches!
Get ahead of the game by signing your kids up for NinjaZone! Classes. Your kids will be supervised and guided by friendly pros and you can run errands worry-free.