Superhero Obstacle Course in Nature
It’s time for your kids to show off their jumps, flexibility twists and strength poses. Blending agility, physical fitness and flexibility, a superhero obstacle course in nature is the ultimate outdoor adventure for young superhero fans. While movie superheroes throw cool moves in futuristic landscapes, you won’t need any CGIs or million-dollar budget for this obstacle course. Featuring good old trees, branches, water bodies and slopes, this superhero obstacle course is inspired by everyone’s favorite superheroes and is all free. The best part is that it’s a real workout to get this obstacle course in superhero shape, with the added incentive of a wow factor.
Before setting off in the woods, make sure that your kids wear comfortable sports shoes and comfortable clothing that can get dirty. Being a superhero can be messy business. This obstacle course is based on four different superhero moves that you can insert in the course between runs, crawls and balancing walks. It’s also a great activity for kid birthdays, summer picnics or camping trips.
To Build the Superhero Obstacle Course
Finding a good space for the obstacle course will be up to you and will largely depend on the terrain you pick. In nature, good locations include
- forests and woods
- river and lake edges
- beaches and sand dunes
- local parks
As long as your spot has a variety of flat ground, sizeable rocks or branches, climbable trees or small hills and slopes, you have enough features to create an obstacle course.
A week before the event, set up the course by picking which spots are good for which moves. If you can, prepare signs or ballons that will indicate to all participants which action they have to do.
On the day of the event, have participants practice the four superhero moves as described below and give them a map of the course. The map can be a simple Google Earth design like this one, a PowerPoint map with icons like this one or a simple hand-drawn map like this one.
Traditionally, the obstacles should go from easy to challenging, taking into account the kids’ various abilities or heights. Also, some obstacles may feature two options to cater for younger and older kids. Last but not least, you can time the obstacle course or set up 2 parallel courses for more fun.
Upon completion, reward your brave superheroes with treats, water and snacks. All done.
Ready to kill those moves? Here they are.
#1 Fly like Superman
This gentle yet iconic superhero move is a great way to warm up before going wild in the woods. A classic “swimming” pilates move, flying like Superman stretches arms and legs while strengthening the core and lower back. If your location is muddy, bring a big picnic blanket for the kids to lie on.
Here is how kids will do it.
- Lie face down on the floor with legs stretched in the back and arms stretched in front
- Inhale and lift arms and legs off the ground into extension, hands curled into fists.
- Superman holds the pose but if kids want more action, they can kick their arms and legs in the air during 30 seconds.
- Relax and bring arms and legs down.
- Repeat 2-3 times.
Bonus points for hummed Superman score, wind sounds or red cape.
#2 Master the One-Handed Jump like Hit-Girl
Hit-Girl, the 12-year-old superheroine from the movie Kick-Ass, wields knives like lollipops and curses like a sailor while going all ninja on villains. Super physical and expert in martial arts, she really does kick ass. One action move that she does really well is the one-handed jump, also known as speed vault in parkour. You’ve seen this move time and time again in action movies and it really looks very flashy.
This tutorial breaks down all the steps to perfect a speed vault using a wall as support.
To reproduce this jump in nature and include it in your superhero obstacle course, look for rocks or branches that are roughly hip to waist high for your children. Have them practice the one-handed jump from a still position, just like in the tutorial, until they are comfortable going over the obstacle with two legs swinging sideways.
Now they are ready for the real deal.
#3 Squat and Crawl like Spiderman
Without squatting and crawling, Spiderman would quickly lose his edge on the city’s buildings. Squatting works the entire body and warms up the legs’ muscles, getting them ready to tackle more challenging moves. Believe it or not, there is a proper way to squat like Spiderman and this tutorial explains just how to do it.
To improve on the Spiderman squat, kids can also practice jump squats like frogs.
After mastering the Spiderman squat, kids should be able to crawl rapidly over a short distance to reach a safe spot and prepare for their next move. If you want to simulate a laser tag, you can stretch a net with bells and have kids crawl under the net without touching it.
#4 Master the 3-Point Landing like Batman
Superhero landings are the trademark of a bona fide superhero. Nobody ever lands like that in real life, but who cares? As Deadpool sums it up nicely, “Superhero landing! You know, that’s really hard on your knees. Totally impractical, they all do it.”
Your superhero obstacle course needs at least one elevated point to jump off from so that kids can score a classic three-point superhero landing. It doesn’t need to be high to be impressive. Here how you do it.
- Run at full speed to top of rock, tree stump or branch
- Stop short off the edge/ledge and look behind shoulder for potential villains (this is a superhero obstacle course after all)
- Relax, pinpoint landing position in your head and jump off height
- Land in crouching position, feet wide apart, head raised, supporting upper body with only one hand on the ground
- Bonus coolness points for cool tricks before jumping
Tips to perfect your superhero landing.
- Landing on soft ground such as grass, dead leaves, sand or mud will soften the impact upon landing (beware not to slip)
- Land on the ball of your feet rather than your toes.
- Landing rolls are very superhero-like and absorb a fraction of the landing shock when done properly. To prepare for landing rolls, kids should practice gymnastics rolls on flat ground until they can do them without hesitation.
This video has good advice on jumping technique for parkour in nature.
Now you are ready to create your own superhero obstacle course, adding runs, hideouts and plot clues to spice up the course.