The Floor is Lava Obstacle Course was the biggest feature of the whole party and took a whole week to build. But, we enjoyed doing it together and the boys helped. Although, now that they know the day is willing to “build” a birthday party in the garage, their little imaginations are running wild for future events. Let’s break down this whole Obstacle Course for you just in case you too want to build one in your garage.
The Floor is Lava Obstacle Course
Well to start this out I have to preface that Wyatt’s Birthday is in January, so this party was pretty much under 40 degrees the whole time. The irony of a tropical, lava-filled party is not lost on us. For Wyatt’s Birthday, we are often having to bring it inside to dodge either rain or even snow. The idea of building a lava pit in the garage was both exciting and welcomed, to say the least. So how exactly did we do it?
Building the Lava Pit
LOTS of balloons is the answer. I had to buy more balloons 2 more times than I expected with runs to the Dollar Tree to buy all they had in orange. We ended up buying several other colors just to make it full. So, with that said. If you’re wanting to build a lava pit, buy 3x more balloons than you think! More on that later.
Fortunately for Wyatt, his dad didn’t mind slapping up a few 2×4’s in his garage to build a pit. After a bit of measuring and figuring on where we wanted kids to go in and out, we were set. The next big step was containing the balloons.
This Orange Construction Fencing was actually the most expensive purchase for the entire party. We plan to reuse it so that will justify that though, fingers crossed. With a few 2×4 support posts we were able to shape the pit so that the balloons would all stay inside of it.
Obstacle Course Floor
I’m sure you put it together by now that the balloons served as our “lava” for this Obstacle Course and the kid was for the kids to avoid falling into the balloons. We assumed they would do exactly that anyway and on purpose, especially when they could be dramatic about it. That known, we knew we’d have to line the floor with our puzzle pads for padding. We’ve used these Floor Padding Puzzle Pieces so many times they’ve more than paid for themselves! Pretty much every time Wyatt has an indoor party, like his Star Wars Party Storm Trooper Battle, or when they go camping, we use this portable padded floor. It was a fantastic, safe step to cover the concrete for the kids to jump on.
Billy then plugged in a bunch of rope lights to spread across the floor for under the balloons. Their glow made the lava balloons look amazing. We went with rope lights because of all the jumping and landing, but I think any string lighting you have could work.
Obstacle Course Objects
And now we get to the things kids ARE supposed to jump on while avoiding the lava. This is where we got to be creative, and it was absolutely FREE. For one, the kids needed a way to get in and out of the pit. We decided an old workbench would be a great entrance for an elevated jump into the pit. It’s right over there by the biggest volcano. For the exit, we knew they’d have to jump for it, so we wanted it soft. Remember how this is in January, right after Christmas, and I saved our trees anyway? Well, I also saved the hay bale from our porch “Reindeer Bed” scene and we just covered it with a towel.
In and out = DONE! Now for getting across… The very first thing kids could choose to jump on were cardboard boxes I wrapped in brown paper. Yes, the same brown paper I used to wrap the volcanoes. You get snag the whole roll and more off my Amazon List.
From the entry workbench, the kids could take 3 routes: Across the window ledge, across the orange fence line, or straight into the middle of the pit via the cardboard boxes. FYI the boxes DID and were meant to collapse in after too many jumps. That added the element of tension and surprise, but also a bit of a safety issue. We did have one minor ankle injury, but she recovered quickly. So, caution on the cardboard box front.
Obstacle Course Routes
The kids could also pick up and toss the boxes to each other inside the pit, giving them a teamwork and maneuverability aspect to the game. In another post about how the actual game is scored, you’ll see how they needed to stack the boxes to collect the point-scoring components. I wrapped about 10 of the biggest cardboard boxes we had between the party and Christmas thanks to Amazon.
The rest of the course was made of furniture we brought out from the house. The softer the better. We brought both of the boy’s mattresses from their beds, the ottoman from the living room, a giant exercise ball, and my office chair. The chair and ottoman have wheels, so that made it extra fun to jump on among the lava balloons.
For continuity, I covered the ottoman in green linen to protect it and the mattresses in a matching green sheet. That way kids knew they were supposed to jump on the green or the brown boxes. For final touches and to make it really feel like a tropical lava pit, I pulled out all the vines and greenery from Cash’s Safari Party.
Of course, what REALLY made it all come together were these giant Christmas Tree Volcanoes… See how we made those in their own DIY Post: Giant Volcano Decoration | DIY GUIDE
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