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How To Build A Soldier Training Ground In Your Garden

If weather forecasts are to be believed, your back garden won't be drying out anytime soon. If your children are experiencing cabin fever from being bound, gagged and deposited in front of Cartoon Network, then it's time to get outside and embrace the mud.

And what could be muddier than your very own army assault course. Be warned. This is only for mud-friendly families who can cope with the epic volume of laundry this project will create.

Here are some obstacle ideas for creating a challenging assault course in your garden.

1. Slide Climbing How many times have you told your children to climb the ladder and come down the slide, and NOT the other way around. It's time to eat your words, and challenge them to scale this mountain face however they can. Maybe they will sit down and wiggle backwards, or perhaps they'll scramble up on hands and knees.

2. Camo Netting If you don't happen to have an army camouflage net hanging around, some old curtains or bedding that you don't mind getting completely ruined should do the trick. Weight it down around the edges with sand bags, or nail tent pegs through the corners (make sure they are pushed deep into the ground to avoid injury).

3. Tire Run Old tires make a versatile addition to kids' play spaces. You can instruct the children to step through one whole at a time, or walk along the edges when the tires are lying down, or hold a tire upright to crawl through.

4. Ladder Run Use sticks to mark out a ladder, or lay a rope ladder on the floor. On the way out, step between the rungs, and on the way back, jump into the spaces two footed.

5. Spider's Web Use a ball of wool or string, and wrap it between the posts of your swing set, climbing frame, or whatever else is to hand, to create a complex web that requires skill, precision and patience to negotiate.

6. Balance Beam Prop a plank of wood up at either end on bricks or old tires, to build an instant balance beam.

7. Tin Can Alley If it's not too windy outside, you can load up a foam bullet gun, and shout down drinks cans. For added excitement draw points scores onto each can.

8. Soft To Rescue Hide a stash of soft toys behind enemy lines. Your child's mission is to find the toys, stuff them into a backpack, and complete the rescue mission by returning them to safety.

9. Homemade Tunnels Cut a circle out on either side of a large cardboard box to create a tunnel. If you can get your hands on more than one similarly sized box, you can tape them together to create a longer tunnel.

Time how long it takes each child to complete a lap, and keep a note of their best results.

10. Invest In A Permanent Fixture

This Pyramid climbing frame from Plum provides a permanent obstacle course in your back garden. There are three ways to scale to the top: a wooden ladder; a rock climbing wall; and a scramble net. Thick camouflage canvas either side creates a dark, sheltered hideaway underneath. Perfect for adventurers and explorers.

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