Babies Walkers to 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

Spatial awareness is the ability to see the position of two or more objects in relation to each other and to oneself in space – to understand how much space an object takes up and how it can fit with another object, either on or in or next to etc. Children need to understand about size and shape and weight and to be able to make some comparisons between objects. The best way for children to learn this is through experience of handling objects and putting objects together. Good small spatial awareness is needed to handle objects and tools successfully and has even been linked to reading and numeracy. Spatial awareness in general is needed for good organisation skills, presentation skills and even in structuring written work.

  • Obstacle courses can provide  a great opportunity for children to expeiene spatial awanress with their whole bodies. They are also really good for developing gross muscle control and co-ordination. Children also learn to achieve a goal and to work and co-operate with others.

Equipment required

  • Obstacles e.g hoops, tunnels, skipping ropes, bean bags, buckets, balls, stepping stones, cones etc
  • Background music

Training video

Obstacle Courses-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.


Two to three weeks

How it works

Children have to work their way around an obstacle course, taking turns and doing each obstacle in the correct order

What to do in the class

Set up a circuit or obstacle race for them to go around. This could include

  • zig-zagging in and out of beanbags (like cones)
  • going through tunnel
  • throwing balls or beanbags into bucket
  • 5 jumps
  • balancing a bean bag on your head
  • walking along a skipping rope
  • jumping over skipping ropes laid out as a ladder on the floor
  • stepping stones (mats or rubber shapes)
  • hoops to wiggle through

Firstly demonstrate the course to them, so that they know which order and direction they have to use. Explain to the parents that they should also encourage turn taking wherever they can.

You could set up the obstacle course as a large circle which they continually go around.

Adaptations for older/younger children

You will need to get parents to assist really young children especially with moving in the right direction and taking turns with others.

What to do in a nursery setting

As there will not be any one to one parental support, you will need to ask the staff to help. Perhaps have one obstacle for every member of staff, so that each obstacle can be ‘manned’.

Or set up smaller obstacle stations in each of the corners which could be manned, then have the children move from one corner to the next on a signal from you.

Keep it simpler – perhaps just tunnels, stepping stones and a bucket to deliver a bean bag into.


• Put out some tunnels and the children take bean bags through the tunnels to the song ‘Is this the way to Amarillo’, both the prop and song goes down well also a good one if got larger groups at nurseries.

• Current – Set up a simple obstacle course with things to crawl under (tunnel or blanket over chairs), stepping stones, things to balance along, things to weave through (cones and bean bags), and jump over