Following one- and two-step directions is expected in kindergarten. Having trouble getting your child to follow your words? Well, who doesn’t! This blind obstacle course turns the art of listening into an outdoor game. Give it a try, and see who’s better at following directions—you or her?
What You Do:
- Set it Up. The first step in this activity of extraordinary trust is to set up the obstacle course. A large grassy area is the ideal setting for the event. Use a variety of medium-sized objects to set up the obstacle course. For example:
- Cones- to go around
- Pillows- to step on top of, or over
- Small boxes- to step into, or pick up
- Hula Hoops- to jump inside of, or pick up and drop over the body!
- Jump ropes- to duck underneath, put inside of a nearby box, or wrap around something
The idea is to create a course that your child can maneuver around safely by following your directions. Place the objects about four feet apart, ending at a box or basket, which will be used as the ‘goal’.
- Talk About Left and Right. If your child has difficulty remembering which is which, show her that if she holds her hands up with her thumbs down, the left hand will make an ‘L’ for left.
- Introduce the Course. Walk your child over to the starting line and explain that you're going to give her directions to the finish line, where she'll place the ball in the basket to make a goal. Emphasize the need to listen very carefully and do only what you say (sounds like a dream come true!). Then cover both her eyes with the blindfold.
- Direct! Keep your directions short and simple, giving one command at a time. For example, “Take three hops forward” or “Take one big step to the left”. As she becomes comfortable with the game you can give her a two-step direction to follow, such as “Take one large step backwards and two steps to the right.” Guide your child around the obstacle course to the finish line, where she can place the ball into the basket. Goal!
Once you've successfully directed your child to the finish line, it’s your turn to put on the blindfold and be directed. Learning to follow directions is a key kindergarten skill, but getting to direct mom or dad is a rare and fun turning of the tables! This activity is perfect for a sunny day, and it’s a great activity to play in teams, so have the whole family join in!
Gina Dal Fuoco has been an elementary school teacher in California for over 12 years, and has also taught English as a foreign language in Italy. Gina is the mother of a toddler and a kindergartener.