artsy ideas for kids and families

Rainbow Warrior Dash, Setting Up Obstacles

I’m running away from the fact that my little man is entering full time Kindergarten by throwing an “end of summer” obstacle course party. I’ve been dreaming up this event since I participated in the Warrior Dash and Color Me Rad races and saw the excitement on my kids’ faces.

We work hard this week to set up the obstacles we’ve imagined up for this “Mini Rainbow Warrior Dash.” Everyday, we do a little something to prepare. We trim branches in the deep dark woods and in the forsythia fort, rake out all the leaves and sticks and small stumps. We paint low branches orange to let kids know to crawl under or climb over. My team of kids love to trim branches with our shears and to paint non-traditional objects, so they are really into this.

Certain kids who have thought up a certain obstacle take charge of specific projects.
Friend H designs the “Lazy River,” made with a found playground slide, dry lily stalks and river stones. We’ll be adding the hose on low water flow.
Little J and Friend A think of jumping over fire, and after convincing them against real fire, we brainstorm a way to represent fire instead. We use real fire wood with cardboard triangles painting red, wedged into the cracks between logs.

Little K thinks to use our small collection of hoola hoops. We hang them from branches of our crab apple tree so kids can lunge through the hoops.

My ideas are incorporated too. I have simple ideas, like hopping on slate stones, skipping through the spokes of a ladder, pushing rolling toys around a chalk road on the driveway…

…using caution cones and hay bales borrowed from Big K’s work, and taking advantage of our more natural playground elements, like the sandbox, the deep dark woods and our forsythia fort.
All together we have 16 kid friendly obstacles.
The kids try a dry run. We iron out some wrinkles, like undetected stumps and prickers, and have a record so far of 2 minutes 45 seconds, held by Friend H.

The kids help me with every aspect of this set up.
Each obstacle can be used individually for an afternoon of fun with kids.
If you like any idea in particular, you are welcome to use it!

We are inviting our friends over to play tomorrow. We’ll see if anyone can break Friend H’s record.

Stay tuned for a head cam movie of the obstacle course after the race. My talented Brother-in-Law has agreed to be the photographer during the event. Thanks Mick. And thank you Big K, for being so flexible with these big plans, for bringing us hay and cones, for weed whacking the forsythia fort and helping me lug all the heavy stuff. You rock babe!


  1. You never cease to amaze me. This is such a wonderful idea. Have fun looking forward to hearing all about it. xoxo.

  2. These are the days i’m so bummed that I work, but so happy i have someone so great watching my kids! You’re the best Jen! Can’t wait to see more – and the live action cam!

  3. Looking forward to the pics and the views from the head cam. Great that the kids got involved in putting the obstacle course together.

  4. I want to do a Warrior Dash next year…looks crazy fun. I wanted to thank you for this great blog. I’ve been looking for obstacle course ideas and I just love yours. Very nature based and full of upcycled/repurposed items. Awesome. Two things: advice on finding a Friend X who is giving away an old slide and could you please add more photos or explain what is happening at all the points (#4, 7, 11, 14, 15, and 16 on the map)? Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    • Jena

      September 12, 2014 at 10:22 am

      Hi Susan, So sorry for the long wait on my response…I have not been keeping up with this blog. I will take a look at the course map and get back to you on more specific details about each obstacle.

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