This month’s set design was inspired by the 252 Basics Theme: Hangin’ Tough (Perseverance). We were going for an obstacle course feel with some inspiration from shows like Wipeout and American Ninja Warrior. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this theme, but I ended up totally falling in love with it. The great thing about an obstacle course theme is that everything you buy can be used for decorations or for games so you can switch things around as necessary all month. The budget for this set ended up being just under $60 because we were able to use so many things we already owned. If you are looking at this set design and you don’t own all the same things, be flexible and use what you have.
We kept the main stage area reasonably simple for this theme. We actually had noodles and cones left over that I could have used, but I thought it looked great this way. The giant colorful beach balls were bought at Walmart for $5 each, and we hung them from the ceiling using clear fishing line. We aimed the two lights on the top of the trussing at the balls to light them in any color we want. The balls bring a huge wow factor for only $10! The colorful discs around the frame of the screen are frisbees we found in the $1-$5 section at Target for $3 each. We attached them to the metal pipe around the screen using gorilla tape. Do not use gorilla tape on anything with paint or a finish on it, as it will strip the paint off. When we are done with this set, we can reuse the discs for games. We already owned the exercise balls and tires, but we used two noodle rings to prop them up higher and give them a pop of color. If you don’t already own these items, ask around your church to see if someone will let you borrow them. My absolute favorite part of this set is the noodle arches in the middle. We bought all of our pool noodles at the Dollar Tree for $1 each. You can also get the smaller pool noodles at Walmart for $1 each. I used small yellow and blue cones we had recently purchased for an Easter egg hunt to attach the pool noodles to create the arches. I used black gaff tape to attach the pool noodles to the cones and the cones to the floor to keep them in place. Gaff tape doesn’t leave a residue and can be removed so we will be able to reuse the noodles and the cones.
For the ceiling, we used about a dozen of the pool noodles we bought and created noodle rings. It
helps to have two people when you are making your noodle rings. We used hot glue to attach the ends, then wrapped clear packing tape around the ends to reinforce them. We haven’t had any problems with them coming apart using this method. We hung the noodle rings as well as some mini scooters we already owned from the ceiling using some thin black chain to make it look a little edgier.
Obstacle Course Games:
With an obstacle course theme, of course we have to have an obstacle course. So I decided to set up a different obstacle course for the kids each week to use as our review questions game, and we open it up to all the kids (and adults) to play on at the end of each service. These obstacle courses have created a lot of excitement and hype in our ministry each week. I will share the two I have created so far with you, and you can get an idea of some different items you can use to create your own.
Obstacle Course 1
For the first week we set up two big buckets in our team colors full of candy, and attached sturdy hula hoops to the buckets using gorilla tape. These held up surprisingly well even after several people (including me) got stuck on them and fell in the bucket. Next, we attached pool noodles straight across on two cones to create hurdles to jump over. We set up some cones and scooters for the kids to race through. Finally, we put two noodle buckets at the end for the kids to hit then turn around and go through the obstacle course backwards. At the end they got a piece of candy from the bucket. All buckets were purchased at the Dollar Tree for $1 each.
Obstacle Course 2
Our second week’s obstacle course was even fancier. We used two cones on each side to mark where the kids starting point would be. We created two pool noodle arches for them to crawl under. Next, they would get on the scooters and navigate the pool noodle buckets. We created the pool noodle buckets using Dollar Tree buckets, taped the pool noodles to the bottom of the buckets, filled the buckets half way using heavy rocks, bubble gum, or anything else we could find to weigh them down, and filled them up the rest of the way with ball pit balls. You can bend the pool noodles however you like to create the effect you are going for. Last the kids had to get off the scooter and jump rope five times, then do the whole course again backwards.
Verse Game Option:
I created a Verse Relay Race using the pool noodle buckets from Obstacle Course 2. I created verse/action cards in Canva with part of the verse and an action they would have to do on each card. I attached the cards to the pool noodle buckets, and placed them all around the room all mixed up. The kids had to run to the pool noodle buckets in the correct order or the verse and perform the actions to move on to the next bucket. Actions included: jumping jacks, spinning around, cart wheel, hopping on one foot, lunges, etc. When one kid had completed the verse they would run back to tag the next kid on their team. It was crazy, hectic, loud, and so much fun!
I have two more weeks of obstacle courses I still need to create. Other options include: make hopscotch on the ground using tape, throw a ball or balls into a bucket, use pool noodle rings to ring cones, set up an obstacle for them to climb over, attach noodle rings to make rings the kids have to step through, add a potato sack race. The sky’s the limit with obstacle courses. Grab a bunch of stuff you have lying around the church/home and get creative.
What items have you used to create obstacle courses or games that your kids loved?