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HE-10: Great Grain Obstacle

HE-10: Great Grain Obstacle

TIME: 20-30 minutes
GRADE: 3-5
SUMMARY: Children run through an obstacle course with a grain theme.


Carbohydrates from grains are an important source of energy. A lot of the foods we eat (bread, cereal, pasta, rice, corn, rye, millet, and many more) are grains or come from grains.


  • Stop watch
  • Small bucket
  • Two pieces of cardboard labeled A and B
  • Rubber bases or small mats
  • Two big pieces of cardboard
  • Three to six balls or beanbags
  • Jump rope
  • Broom handle
  • Two chairs
  • Six rice boxes
  • Six cones
  • Masking tape


Set Up:

  1. Station 1: Bucket O’Oats. Place the piece of cardboard labeled A and the piece of cardboard labeled B, 20 feet apart. Place the bucket at this station.
  2. Station 2: Popcorn Pop and Hop. Place the bases/mats in a zigzag pattern.
  3. Station 3: Rigatoni Tunnel. Set up a tunnel by placing cones several feet apart. Use a big piece of cardboard for the top.
  4. Station 4: Rice Tumble. Set up rice boxes into a pyramid: three on bottom, two in the middle, and one on top. Place balls or bean bags at this station.
  5. Station 5: Jump through the Rye. Use masking tape to tape off an area for the rye field. Make it about 15 feet long. Place the jump rope at the end of the field.
  6. Station 6: Spaghetti Limbo and Go. Set up a broom handle supported by two chairs. Set up signs at each station as well.

To Play Great Grain Obstacle:

  1. As you explain each station to the children, explain/remind them why grains are good for us (see Key Talking Points below).
  2. One child starts at each station. The remaining children make a line at station1. Once a child finishes a station, the next child can start.
  3. In Station 1, children are pretending to carry a bucket of oats from point A to point B, and back.
  4. In Station 2, children run and hop (one leg at a time on each base/mat) along a zigzag course. Here they are pretending to be popcorn popping.
  5. In Station 3, children are trying to crawl through the tunnel as fast as possible.
  6. In Station 4, the children use a ball or a beanbag and try to knock down the rice boxes. Have a staff member set up the boxes after each child goes.
  7. In Station 5, children have to jump rope to one end of the field and back again.
  8. In Station 6, the children have to pass underneath the broom handle without it falling off the chair. Once they do this successfully, they have completed the course. See how many times children can complete the obstacle course in ten minutes. Have them try to beat their own times.
  9. Cheer the children on and encourage them to challenge themselves.


  1. Grains are healthy for us because they give us energy and can be a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  2. Examples of grains are: brown rice, cornflakes, oatmeal, pretzels, waffles and also the items from the game they are playing.
  3. Cardiovascular activity is when you raise your heart rate by moving all your large muscles for a certain amount of time. This type of activity helps prevent chronic disease and maintain a healthy weight by building muscle and burning off extra energy. It has also been shown to improve your self-esteem.
  4. You can tell that you are giving your heart a workout when it starts beating faster. You take your pulse by placing two fingers on the inside of your wrist or on the side of your neck and count the number of beats in a minute (or the number of beats in15 seconds X 4).
  5. Warming up before physical activity prevents injuries, increases body temperature, and gets the body ready for vigorous activity.
  6. Stretching after cardiovascular activity is a great way to cool down and make sure your muscles stay flexible.
  7. Drinking a lot of water is especially important during cardiovascular activity to replace the water your body loses when you sweat. Being dehydrated during vigorous activity can make you feel tired and cause muscle cramps.


  1. Recognize that grains are very important to eat when they exercise a lot because they give the body lots of energy.

ADAPTED FROM: Shape Up Somerville, Friedman School of Nutrition Tufts University, 2005