How to Make the Perfect Chalk Obstacle Course
Sidewalk chalk is an engaging way to get children and adults alike moving and having fun.
But if you’re looking for something more complex, there’s no better option than a new twist on the classic childhood activity:
The chalk obstacle course!
Hopscotch was king for decades when it came time for chalk.
In recent years people have begun creating new versions by adding obstacles such as spins, hops, skips, and jumps.
Creating Chalk Obstacle Courses for your Community
We live in a developed community and are lucky enough to have a bike path that circles the entire neighborhood.
As a bonus, the bike path crosses directly in front of our home.
Every day I would see walkers, joggers, bikers, moms pushing strollers, and many young children going down the bike path.
When we moved in, we didn’t have any children yet, but that didn’t stop me from buying a bucket of chalk and heading to the bike path.
After jotting down some ideas for the obstacle course, I created one on a Saturday morning, knowing the bike path sees the most foot traffic on the weekend.
After I finished it, I headed home and watched from my window to see the response.
The most surprising thing was that while many young children would do the course, I also saw various other demographics do it.
Young couples in love, older women in their walking group, and middle-aged men doing their morning power walk would spin, hop, touch their toes, and dance.
There’s something about seeing an older man in a particular twirl, jump and stomp that will bring a smile to your face no matter who you are.
I was so pleased with the outcome that I made it a habit of redoing it as often as possible.
Specifically after a rain or after it simply wore out.
So, if you want to make an obstacle course for your enjoyment, kids, or community, follow the steps below.
First, find the ideal location. If this is for your family’s use, or you get great foot traffic in front of your home, the sidewalk out front or your driveway will do.
If you want to do this as a random act of kindness for your community, find a frequented location, perhaps at a park, on a bike path, or on a boardwalk.
The hardest part about making a chalk obstacle course is developing ideas to include, but once you have your inspiration, it’s simple to complete!
I have made a printable idea sheet to help inspire you! Ideally, you should use a combination of different ideas from the list, but I usually don’t use more than ten to twelve at a time.
You don’t want to make the course too complicated or long for little ones.
Occasionally I will repeat obstacles to make the course longer if that is my goal.
My favorite one to repeat often is following the wiggly line; this can go on for as long as you like, and add as many loops as you’re in the mood for.
When you are creating the different obstacles, make sure to label them with the action that corresponds to each.
Not all of the symbols make it clear what the action should be.
Other great obstacle course actions that are not currently on the printout include:
- Walk like a penguin
- March like a soldier
- Meow Like a cat
- Jump over snakes
- Sing a song
- Watch out for rapids – where water is drawn across the path, and you must jump to the stepping stones to get across.
This is the best part – all you really need is a pack of sidewalk chalk.
I suggest getting a few packs of chalk as you can go through some colors fast when you’re on a role.
More Obstacle Course Ideas
Aside from just other ideas to add to your classic obstacle course, here are some great themes you can use to try to mix it up.
- The Ground is Lava – Warning! Lava Ahead- Create rocks you can hop on to avoid the lava ground. You can also include lava pits to jump over. The ground is lava is a fan favorite in our neighborhood.
- Walk the Plank – Create a long plank (along the idea of a balance beam) and draw sharks on either side. Don’t fall in the water!
- Pop the bubbles – Draw large bubbles along the path. You need to hop from bubble to bubble to pop them.
- Choose your adventure board game. Create a path reminiscent of a board game with instructions on each square, such as – move ahead two spaces- move back three spaces – hop five times- go back to the beginning. The board game is excellent at a park where sidewalks go in different directions so kids can choose different paths. Download a dice app on your phone to go with this game.
- Zombie run – Great for Halloween! Create a path to follow and dodge zombie arms reaching out for you from the sidewalk edges.
Share Share Share
If you have a community Facebook page, consider posting your chalk obstacle course to the page after making it to let people know it’s there.
In my experience, parents are always looking for new, free, and easily accessible activities to help entertain their children.
My favorite ideas for adding joy to the world are sometimes the simplest. It doesn’t get much easier than a pack of chalk and a blank sidewalk canvas.
But that’s why I love it – the materials and the skill level are accessible to almost everyone.
After creating multiple obstacle courses along the bike path, I often walked around my neighborhood and found copycat obstacle courses along the sidewalks.
And like most people, I find that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
The fact that children had decided this simple idea was so much fun they wanted to spend their own time creating a version of it is a beautiful testament to the longevity chalk will experience in history.
If you have any fun chalk obstacle course ideas that are not listed, please share in the comments below!