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sparkle craft – indoor obstacle course

In this week's The Willowbee Tree story, “The Race,” during a particularly rainy and cold week toward the end of winter, Piper's gym teacher sets up a huge obstacle course for her class to race through. They run around cones, over puffy mats, and under ropes until they cross a finish line.

Piper enjoys being one of the fastest racers, until she learns that it means she will have to compete in the finals against her best friend, Elise. But then, the Willow tree takes them to the American prairies, and a roadrunner and jackrabbit teach Piper the best way to race your friends.

If it's rainy and cold where you are, you don't need a gym or special equipment to set up your own obstacle course. With just a few common household items and a little space, you can quickly have your kids off to the races — trying to beat their best times and burning off some of that “stuck inside” energy.

For real, you don't need a big playroom to do this. Our dining room — where I set up the course in these photos — is tiny. It's only about 12 feet by 12 feet square. I pushed the table to the side, set up the course in a spiral, and gave the obstacles the most dramatic names I could think of — it worked great!

I've listed out the exact materials I used below, but you can creatively alter the course based on what you have on hand. No cardboard box? Make a tunnel from a blanket draped between two chairs. No yarn for the “laser trip wire”? Try toilet paper.

Begin by showing your kids how to run through the course a few times, then stand back and get your stopwatch ready.

Indoor Obstacle Course

indoor obstacle course 1 |www.sparklestories.com| the willowbee tree

Materials

Cardboard box

Duct tape

Painter's tape

Laundry basket

3 stuffed animals

2 sturdy chairs

Yarn

Play silk

Pillows

Directions

indoor obstacle course 3 |www.sparklestories.com| the willowbee tree

Tape the cardboard box open to make a tunnel. Put it at the start of your obstacle course. Near the exit of the cardboard box, put three “X's” on the floor with painter's tape. Put the laundry basket and stuffed animals near the last “X”, then use the painter's tape to make a solid line on the floor several feet away.
indoor obstacle course 2 |www.sparklestories.com| the willowbee tree Near that line, set up two sturdy chairs and string several lengths of yarn between their legs. Just past the chairs, spread out the play silk, then make another long line with the painter's tape. At the end of the line, pile up your pillows. Now you're ready to go!

indoor obstacle course 4 |www.sparklestories.com| the willowbee tree indoor obstacle course 7 |www.sparklestories.com| the willowbee tree

indoor obstacle course 8 |www.sparklestories.com| the willowbee tree Have your kids start by crawling through the cardboard box (the “deep, dark tunnel”), then do three bunny hops on the “X's” (“hop from rock to rock over the roaring river”).
indoor obstacle course 5 |www.sparklestories.com| the willowbee tree

indoor obstacle course 6 |www.sparklestories.com| the willowbee tree Next, quickly have them put the stuffed animals in the laundry basket, and push the basket past the line (“rescue the bears!”). Then, have them navigate the yarn between the chairs (the “laser trip wire”), and leap over the play silk (“molten hot lava, don't fall in”).

indoor obstacle course 9 |www.sparklestories.com| the willowbee tree

indoor obstacle course 10 |www.sparklestories.com| the willowbee tree Use the last line of tape as a balance beam (“walk the log across the big canyon”), then fall onto the pillows for a big finish (“safe at last!”).


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About the Author

Meryl Carver-Allmond
Sparkle Kitchen Blogger

The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.

Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.

When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.


About The Willowbee Tree

In the backyard of an ordinary house on an ordinary street in an ordinary town, there was once a most extraordinary tree. It was an enormous Willow tree. In the middle of its trunk there was a hole. And if you found yourself near that willow tree with a certain wonder stirring in your heart, you might notice a colorful sparkle coming from that hole. And what was that sparkle? An invitation to go somewhere long ago and far far away. Follow the stories of Willowbee children – ordinary children who take some not-so-ordinary adventures through powers of their extraordinary Willow tree.