Climbing is an opportunity to expend energy, explore a stimulating, but safe, setting, and test their environment. It’s more than just curiosity or unbridled energy, it’s part of growing up. Climbing offers a variety of benefits, from physical and mental benefits to sensory awareness and health and social benefits.
The Physical Benefits
Climbing is fun, but the majority of children don’t realise how beneficial it is to their physical health. Whether it’s a climbing frame for preschool-aged children or older kids, it helps build upper body strength, improves hand-eye coordination, and benefits gross motor skills. It also sharpens children’s visual perception as they look for safe places for their hands and feet.
The Mental Benefits
Climbing engages brains invaluably. The child has to decide how best to climb to the top and what steps they need to take to succeed. It benefits decision-making skills, low-risk problem solving, solution visualisation, and task completing following specific sequences. The only way to successfully complete a climb is through careful concentration, focus, and persistence. These are skills that can be applied in the classroom, and throughout a child’s life as they enter adulthood.
The Social Benefits
Climbing has social benefits for children. When children climb, they do so with other children, which is sure to bring social interaction. They have to wait their turn as someone else takes their turn and regulate their emotions as they experience obstacles on their climb. Climbing helps build confidence, and self-reliance, and helps them deal with fear as they work through a challenging task.
There is an additional social aspect to climbing – it’s an opportunity to enjoy pretend play. Kids often imagine different scenarios in which they are climbing, from boarding a pirate ship or scaling Everest. It provides them space to explore their imagination, and express emotions, and teaches verbal and nonverbal communication skills.
The Sensory Awareness Benefits
Children experiment with their sensory awareness when they climb. Pushing their feet against footholds, reaching for the next handhold and swinging from one to another, and pulling themselves up to climb are all kinetic tasks. This relies on spatial awareness and helps build sensory skills.
Body awareness is a crucial aspect of climbing and proprioception senses allow children to determine where their limbs are in relation to each other and how much force they need for various tasks. Vestibular senses help coordinate movement so children can determine where their bodies are in space. It helps children understand how limbs and space interact together. It’s how they successfully walk, stand, and sit.
The Health Benefits
Climbing increases cardiovascular flow, improves flexibility, builds strength, and develops coordination. Giving children the opportunity to climb gives them the freedom to explore and offers a wide variety of benefits.
Children need plenty of mental and physical stimulation to develop. When you are exploring the childcare centre options available to you in Kingston or beyond like Goodstart Kingston, be sure to book an appointment to view the centre before you enrol. Every childcare centre should offer an outdoor area with safe climbing equipment, and a wide range of indoor activities as well.