ninja warrior backyard course
Credit: YouTube/Gavin MacCall

In “adorable news we totally needed to read today for our self-care and sanity,” a Colorado dad built an American Ninja Warrior course for his five-year-old daughter in their backyard.

And he just told People that his physical and financial investment in the course was well worth it, because it’s “teaching her confidence.”


Gavin MacCall of Northglenn, Colorado got the idea to build the course back in 2015, when his then four-year-old daughter, Lylah, got inspired during an episode of NBC’s hit series. She hurdled a chair in their living room and seemed super psyched about it, so Gavin got the idea to make a miniature obstacle course in their living room.

Credit: Gavin MacCall/YouTube

His video of Lylah conquering the course received over 700,000 views on YouTube, and MacCall quickly decided to expand to his backyard.

“I was scouring Craigslist and just keeping an eye out for free materials, and where I work I got probably 25 pallets that I used throughout the course just as free material,” he told People. “The whole course probably ended up costing me $40, $45 just because I had to buy the rope for the cargo net. Then I had to buy the plywood for the warped wall. Everything else I just got for free.”

Of course, the video of Lylah becoming Gavin’s backyard American Ninja Warrior — with audio of her “cheering fans” and narration by Gavin — is super freaking adorable.

Gavis is overwhelmed by the over one million comments the video has received, and can’t get through them without crying. However, the best part of the whole deal is the confidence it’s inspiring in Lylah.

“I’ve never really studied how to be a dad,” Gavin, who is divorced from Lylah’s mother, admitted. “A lot of the comments were about what this course is doing — teaching her confidence and being able to learn to try again and do those types of things and not be scared to try something that looks dangerous or difficult.”

Thanks to his videos’ popularity, Gavin was able to raise $1,000 to build a bigger, better obstacle course for Lylah to beat…and it sounds high-key amazing. But also super, super difficult.

“I’m planning on a salmon ladder then I’m probably doing a jump-hang, which is a hallway where you jumped then you put your feet out…and you basically climb up the wall,” Gavin explained. “I’m going to try to come up with a different version of the quintuple steps, which are the first obstacle that’s been in all the Ninja Warrior courses. I have to figure out some other fun things — the balance beam. I’ll use the cargo net for something. I didn’t spend eight hours tying that cargo net just to use it once.”

We have total faith that Gavin will make his $1,000 course a game-changer for Lylah, but also for aspiring at-home Ninja Warrior trainees. After all, we’d travel to Colorado just to do the one that cost $45.