Fort Magic Obstacle COurse
Creative Play

How to Make Your Own Obstacle Course for Kids


Here’s a fun DIY backyard obstacle course for kids that they can even make themselves (awesome for playdates and parties!) plus an easy DIY slip ‘n slide.

DIY Obstacle Course for Kids with a Fort Magic kit
This post contains affiliate links.

A big thank you to Fort Magic for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

The kids have been taking the Fort Magic kit outside this summer, especially during playdates, to make their own obstacle courses and games. They build forts and houses and such with it inside, too, but with the warm weather and the need to send kids out of our small house for my own sanity (“ahem”) and their healthful active play, they’ve been building more outside.

By the way, with the Summer Olympics around the corner, we’re gearing up for our own backyard Olympics (using Fort Magic, of course) and have created artful award medals and a colorful Olympic Games sign. Click here to see how make your own Olympic medals for kids.

In the meantime, here are some backyard obstacle course ideas and inspiration, from my kids to yours!

Make Your Own Obstacle Course for Kids with Fort Magic

How to Make Your Own Obstacle Course for Kids

While we have created quite a few backyard forts and structures with Fort Magic in the past, including a fort over the sandbox, an airplane, a maze, and a teepee. I *think* that this summer is the first time we’ve used the kit to make our own obstacle courses.

Why didn’t we do this before?!

Good question.

Because of the variety of individual poles and connectors in the kit, it is quite easy to make any number of obstacle course games and components. Here are some that my kids and their friends have made over the past month or so…

During one playdate, my kids and their two friends built a largish obstacle course circuit around the backyard then set up a covered viewing area for me (very throne-like) and invited me to watch them take turns running the course.

Make Your Own Obstacle Course for Kids with Fort Magic

The kids wove in and out of Fort Magic poles (stuck directly in the ground) as fast as they could. If we do this again, we might make colorful flags to stick in the tops of the poles.

Then they tossed a ball through a Fort Magic hoop…

Make Your Own Obstacle Course for Kids with Fort Magic

Some of the other obstacle course games and ideas they used

(clockwise from top left)

  • They created something out of the Fort Magic kit that they had to alternately jump over and crawl under. As fast as they could, of course.
  • The kids spread out the picnic blanket as a place for somersaults.
  • They lay Fort Magic poles across the kiddie pool to jump over one at a time.
  • And they created an Olympic Games sign for the finish line.
The obstacle course finish line

They had fun!

Backyard fun with the kiddie pool and Fort Magic

On another playdate, the kids brought out the Fort Magic kit and made some sort of water play contraption that they hooked the hose up to. It also involved a boat (gardening trug) that they actually took turns sailing in for much of two days straight. Kids do the darndest things.

And on yet another one, we made a DIY slip N slide and created a Fort Magic canopy entrance. Which was seriously awesome.

DIY Slip N Slide with Fort Magic Canopy

Did you know that you can make your own slip n slide using a tarp?!

I went to our neighborhood hardware store looking for either

A.) a Slip N Slide

or B.) some plastic sheeting to make our own.

And since they did not carry A, I asked about B, and the helpful employee told me that tarps worked surprisingly well, were slippery (especially with the addition of dish soap), and held up better.

Slip n slide canopy entrance made with Fort Magic

We folded over our new tarp and the kids (mostly Maia) created a canopy entrance for the slip n slide using the Fort Magic kit and some colorful pool noodles.

DIY Slip N Slide

We covered the side with sheer fabrics, for fun, and weighted down the edges of the tarp slide with a few sandwich bags filled with sand from the sand box.

DIY Slip N Slide in Action

Finally, Maia squirted some dish soap onto the new DIY slip n slide and turned on the hose.

DIY Slip N Slide in Action

The kids took turns running and sliding. Over and over and over!

All in all, we’ve been having lots of backyard fun with the Fort Magic kit lately.

Fort Magic Kit

How to Buy a Fort Magic Kit

You can buy a Fort Magic kit on Amazon or you can buy one from the Fort Magic Store .

I’ve turned a lot of friends and neighbors onto Fort Magic over the years, as well as many of you lovely folks who read The Artful Parent. I’m going to tell you how to buy one and then I’m going to tell you that if you are at all interested in getting one for your kids anytime soon (think ahead to the holidays, perhaps) that you should probably do so now. These construction kits have been so popular that they have sold out every single time they’ve been offered. Just sayin’.

Want More Fun Ideas for What to Build with a Fort Magic Kit?

This post was sponsored by Fort Magic; all opinions expressed are my own.

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A fun DIY backyard obstacle course for kids that they can even make themselves (awesome for playdates and parties!) plus an easy DIY slip 'n slide. #toys #play #playmatters #kidsactivities
How to Make Your Own Obstacle Course for Kids


  • Reply
    Jennifer Vecoli
    August 5, 2016 at 8:43 am

    My daughters would love this! So would I ;)

  • Reply
    Evelyn Hazzard
    August 5, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Fabulous post – full of great ideas to allow kids to be kids, with activity, creativity, & collaboration! Many thanks for your helpful ideas!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 9:15 am

    That looks like a lot of fun! My kids would love it too.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Oh my goodness! So much fun!

  • Reply
    Tara H
    August 5, 2016 at 10:02 am

    Very cool! Would love to build the castle ?

  • Reply
    DeNae vanWestrienen
    August 5, 2016 at 10:26 am

    I would love to build the arches over a slip and slide. What a fun idea!

  • Reply
    Miriam Prantner
    August 5, 2016 at 10:31 am

    This is such a fun kit! I think we would do the submarine first.

  • Reply
    Jill Ciechna
    August 5, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Great ideas! My boys love creating obstacle courses and having me “time” them for speed! I also love the “sand bag” ideas for the slip and slide tarp. We need to replace ours and I have seen so many tarp slip and slides using big rocks to hold it down! Never seemed very safe!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 10:40 am

    My daughter would love to build the castle and villa! What a great opportunity

  • Reply
    Rebecca S.
    August 5, 2016 at 11:07 am

    We’ve wanted a set for years! How fun!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 11:10 am

    This is grand! Thank you for the constant stream of inspiration and creativity. You have helped me more than I can say in our homeschooling journey. Every post sparks days and weeks of play and creation! I have been telling anyone willing to listen that they absolutely must follow your blog. This fort building kit is yet another one of those “Wow!! Hmmmmmm….” moments. :)

  • Reply
    Emily Ducatte
    August 5, 2016 at 11:13 am

    My son would love to build a car fort

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 11:14 am

    what a fun idea! my daughter just found out about the ninja warrior show, and i think she’d be huge fan of making her own obstacle course.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Wow! Looks like a ton of fun!

  • Reply
    Amy Heffernan
    August 5, 2016 at 11:17 am

    I would build an obstacle course!

  • Reply
    Brooke Tokanang
    August 5, 2016 at 11:18 am

    A ? would probably be first as my one son is a big fan, a boat, my boys love building forts, this has been on my list….it’s just not in the budget, but fingers crossed. Thanks for the great ideas and the giveaway!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 11:55 am

    We would build a maze and a house.

  • Reply
    Silvia D
    August 5, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    all designs are so fun and kids sure could use their imaginations!..I would like to build the castle or playhouse.

  • Reply
    kendall mauricio
    August 5, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    My kids would love this ?? how fun and creative!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Would love to make an obstacle course for the kids and the dog!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    My kids would build rockets, castles, boats and absolutely anything their imagination leads them to.

  • Reply
    jeremy mclaughlin
    August 5, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    My sons would want to build an obstacle course.

  • Reply
    Bailey Dexter
    August 5, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Not sure but I know every one of my grand-kids would want to build a different one! Perfect for creative minds!!!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    I [we] have been wanting one of these for ages! My kids would love it, their imaginative play would be greatly enhanced with a Fort Magic kit!

  • Reply
    Emily d
    August 5, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    My boys would love this!!!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    This is so cool! Great idea.

  • Reply
    Sarah Hill
    August 5, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    What wouldn’t my kids build? They love to build forts of all kinds. Currently they are on into building ‘tents’ to pretend to go camping.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    I second set would be a wonderful addition to the one we already have

  • Reply
    Ameirah taha
    August 5, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    I would do an obstacle course! She would love it!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Looks like lots of creative ideas!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    My boys would love to build forts with tunnels!

  • Reply
    LeAnn Taylor
    August 5, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    What a neat set! That looks like a lot of fun. We recently tried making a fort out of tulle, and while it was was beautiful, it got torn up in a summer storm!

  • Reply
    Shannon Norland
    August 5, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    What a fun creative adventure for kids and parents!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    My boys would love to build the rocket ship!

  • Reply
    Mary n
    August 5, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    What a great idea! I know what we’re doing this weekend!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    Looks really fun! Kids would love this!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    We would be creative and build our own obstacle course.

  • Reply
    Cassandra Wilson Mathney
    August 5, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    My daughter would love to build the Fort Magic Villa!!

  • Reply
    Michelle Smith
    August 6, 2016 at 8:34 am

    I’d build a rocket ship and alien buddy!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 9:04 am

    We’d love to build all of it! :) Tunnels would be a simple project for my boys, since they’re fairly young (3 and 4), but I know they’d also really love the ship – they’re currently interested in all things pirates.

  • Reply
    Rachel Swartley
    August 6, 2016 at 9:29 am

    My kids make forts almost every day, so I’m sure they would love this!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 9:31 am

    I’m snuggled up on my couch with a sick little boy, but as soon as he’s feeling better I’m heading out to the hardware store for a tarp – we are so going to slip-n-slide! And adding dish soap? Brilliant!

    My boys would have so much fun with a Fort Magic kit! I can only begin to imagine what they’d create with it – and I know my imaginings can’t even begin to match up with what they’d come up with! Thank you for offering such a generous giveaway!

  • Reply
    Dana Justice
    August 6, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    My two year old would be most excited about the Race Car, but let’s be honest, any special hide out would be his favorite spot in the house!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    This looks like so much fun!! Love the different set ups!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    My boys would love these outdoor activities so much, especially the water obstacle courses!

  • Reply
    Heather Sponholz
    August 6, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    What fun and creative ideas, I’m so afraid to lose any pieces so we don’t bring it outside lol

  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    That’s fantastic! I love seeing kids & families having fun together. Thanks for sharing the great idea!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    I’d have a slip in slide to start, going through a big course with water balloons and sponges hanging from the top along with water dripping down, you MUST find the hidden toy inside the course before you can exit. Then jump through two pools with colored foam so you cant see the bottom and find the next hidden object. After that, you go the next course, it will have strings on it with plastic cups and you have to shoot water guns into the cups to make them move to the end, then move to a small course with water that you have to crawl under onto the next course where you have circles drawn on the ground like darts but with water balloons. You must score a certain amount of points before you move, then onto the next course which could be some sort of sport, like basketball or soccer etc and score so many points and so on. First one to complete wins!!!

  • Reply
    Patricia cardenas
    August 6, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    How awesome!!.. This is a great idea…

  • Reply
    Andrea Allmon
    August 6, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Great idea using the pool noodles with the kit.

  • Reply
    Patricia cardenas
    August 6, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    This is awesome!!

  • Reply
    Parveen Kundu
    August 6, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    All the ideas are so cool! We would try them all…thanks for ur blog post!!!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    As always, you are full of great ideas! My family would love this!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    Fort Magic looks like an amazing addition to your Olympics summer. Thanks for sharing your adventures!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    A fort magic kit has been on my wish list for my two little ones for quite some time!!! in sure it would be a huge hit in our new neighborhood as well!

  • Reply
    Christy MB
    August 6, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    We’d build a rocket!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    Brilliant idea to use it outside!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    The fort making kit looks amazing! Thanks for the giveaway and review!

  • Reply
    Amy Bleigh
    August 6, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    I’ve been wanting one of these!

  • Reply
    Sassy Powell
    August 7, 2016 at 2:56 am

    This would be so much fun!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2016 at 8:30 am

    We love creating our own Olympic Games! Wonderful ideas for outside fun- thank you’ I love how easy the Fort Magic looks for the kids to build their own forts!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Looks like a lot of fun!

  • Reply
    Diana Katz
    August 7, 2016 at 9:29 am

    What a fantastic and creative fun area for kids! My daughter has dyspraxia and son has hypotonia and their OT said we should build obstacle courses! What fabulous ideas – especially to make it Olympic themed! would love to win this!

  • Reply
    Val chumley
    August 7, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    This kit looks like so much fun! My kids would love it. Thanks for the ideas.

  • Reply
    Tracie Cooper
    August 7, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    My niece and nephew would love to build a pirate ship!

  • Reply
    Kimberly Kihega
    August 8, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    We would build a Playhouse together!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    With the olympics on now, this would be a great idea. Or fun for the block party this weekend.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    I would so love to win one of these sets!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    It was sold out right before xmas last year!!! Hope to get one this year! Thanks for sharing these amazing ideas!

  • Reply
    Michelle J.
    August 9, 2016 at 12:47 am

    I’d make a rocket!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    I love obstacle courses! This would be so much fun! Oh, and I’d be sure to share them with my kids, too. ;-)

  • Reply
    Janet Van Note
    August 10, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    My creative 4.5 year old would love this. Would be fun to invite friends over to play.

  • Reply
    August 10, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    My kids love to build all kinds of forts, and their daddy helps them. This would be awesome for them to have!

  • Reply
    Nicole Gillette
    August 10, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    I would love to invite friends over, hand the supplies to the kids, and watch what sort of obstacle course they come up with. :)

  • Reply
    August 10, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Love your creative ideas! I can see my boys and their friends doing this when we have a family friendly BB/ My guess is some of the dads wouldn’t be able to resist joining in either.

  • Reply
    Laura H
    August 11, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    If I won I’d love to make the teepee in the backyard for my daughter. This kit looks amazing!

  • Reply
    Christina Spencer
    August 11, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    My girls and daycare kids would love this!!!

  • Reply
    Jamie King
    August 11, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    My kids would love this! I could add on to the obstacle course we currently have. Things like this keep kids active. We like to do time trials with ours. My kids say that it’s fun.

  • Reply
    August 11, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    Love how the possibilities are endless and how this is such a great toy for kids on so many levels! We’d build some kind of flying contraption for sure!

  • Reply
    Lena wang
    August 12, 2016 at 1:59 am

    That looks like a blast! So creative!

  • Reply
    August 12, 2016 at 8:55 am

    What great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    August 12, 2016 at 9:29 am

    That is such a great use for pool noodles. Those things are so useful!!

  • Reply
    August 12, 2016 at 9:47 am

    This looks amazing! My kids would have such a blast!

  • Reply
    August 12, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Great ideas for some fort-building fun!

  • Reply
    Diane Bare
    August 12, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Either the castle or obstacle course!

  • Reply
    Ahyoung wang
    August 12, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    I love your blog! My kids would love this!

  • Reply
    August 13, 2016 at 2:50 am

    How inspiring! So many uses, and so much creativity potential. This would be a dream for any child. My kids would do this all day!

  • Reply
    Marion Larson
    October 16, 2016 at 12:41 am

    What a great way to get creative!

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