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  • Emily Grossi

Why does MOCO have built obstacle courses?

…and what is a “built obstacle course”?

One of MOCO Movement Center’s defining features is the built obstacle courses. At any given hour during the day at MOCO, there are physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, movement aides, and their clients all using the same obstacle course for different purposes, but with similar end goals in mind.

The built obstacle courses at MOCO are the culmination of an important part of our philosophy: movement is for everyone. We encourage children of all ages, abilities, and interests to navigate our equipment with the support of skilled therapists and movement aides. There are endless opportunities to improve motor patterns through climbing and navigating, and of course, endless opportunities to play!

When we say “built” obstacle course, what we really mean is a semi-permanent obstacle course. We rotate the courses every 2-3 weeks thanks to our Build Team. These obstacle courses are designed by the Build Team with specific intent and ongoing input about the therapeutic needs of our clients from our therapists. Each piece of equipment used in the obstacle course has a purpose for promoting different movement patterns. The built obstacle courses typically include varying surface heights, ladders and/or stairs, crash pads, slants, and other fun challenges.

Keeping the obstacle courses the same for a few weeks at a time is done purposefully, so that the children who come into our gym can continue improving at a specific skill or set of skills from week to week. By navigating the obstacle courses multiple times in one session, then transferring that learning over to the 1-2 weeks following, we are also providing the opportunity for a progression of skills over time. We intentionally change the course setup after a few weeks to encourage novel movement patterns and motor planning.

If you have any questions about our obstacle courses, therapy sessions, or other related topics, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us by email at or calling us at 301-770-5437. You can also take a virtual tour of our facility to see just one example of the large obstacle course by clicking here.


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