As we began our third cold, dreary, rainy day in a row, everyone in the classroom, including me, was experiencing a bit of cabin fever.
I knew I needed to think of something extra special to engage the group; my already planned small-group instruction for the day just wasn’t going to be impactful. So after lunch I invited the children to help me rearrange the furniture in our classroom to make room for an obstacle course.
The children’s eyes lit up with excitement immediately.
We had constructed an obstacle course outside a few times before, so the idea of recreating one inside was familiar and novel at the same time. The children jumped right in, gathering materials and working together to begin designing the course. I quickly realized that not only would this engaging activity support gross-motor development, it would also support other skill areas as well and provide a great opportunity to capture some rich assessment information in multiple developmental areas. I grabbed my camera and clipboard so I would have them handy for capturing documentation.
I immediately started observing cognitive skills and behaviors.
Some children were remembering and making connections to what we had done during our outdoor obstacle course experiences, while other children were demonstrating persistence and solving problems.
Kasey looked in the Dramatic Play area and said, “We can use this table to go under, like we went under the slide on the playground.”
Mike walked over to our supply closet and asked, “We need something to go through. Miss Breeyn, can we bring out the crawling tunnel?”
Rishi and Jonathan worked together and, from watching Sara working next to them, announced that “if we put these big blocks down on the bottom, we can build it higher!”
I also captured documentation of math and language development as I observed children using positional words to express their thoughts in peer conversations.
Jayden suggested, “Luke, can you please put that hula hoop next to the blocks so we can go around it before we jump over the next block?”
Ty exclaimed, “Watch me, Sobha! We can go backward through this part, and then turn around three times. One, two, three, and then go forward again.”
And then, once the children began actually going through the obstacle course, I captured great video footage documenting physical development, specifically traveling and balancing skills.
While it was not what I had originally planned for the day, the indoor obstacle course turned a dreary Wednesday into a fun, interactive, and developmentally rich afternoon.
We even left the course up so that families could come in and take a turn at the end of the day. That made for some great photos as well!