How climbing and play help your child grow

Movement is crucial for your child’s development, making outdoor play the perfect activity for your toddler and preschooler.

If you spent your childhood climbing trees, balancing on bricks or stones and building tree houses, chances are you understand how important outdoor play is for a child’s emotional, social and physical development.

Owing to technology and safety considerations, however, children today spend less time using their bodies. This non-activity is detrimental to them, so parents need to look at alternative ways to get those little bodies moving.

The first 3 years of a child’s life are called the sensorimotor period of development. This is because, during this time, opportunities for sensory and physical play provide the child with important foundations when it comes to concentration, engaging with others and higher-level thinking. This is why outdoor play is so important.

How climbing helps kids grow

Being unable to ride bikes up and down the street or build tree houses with the neighbourhood kids because of legitimate safety concerns, our children are left with fewer opportunities for outdoor play. This is where jungle gyms become useful, particularly if you have a garden to play in.

When young children climb and clamber over jungle gyms or even homemade obstacle courses, the benefits are endless. Climbing works almost every major muscle group in the body, so children increase upper body strength (by using their arms and hands), their lower body (by using their legs), develop core stability, muscle control and balance when taking part in this activity.

Climbing also teaches problem-solving by challenging a child to practise a variety of grips while planning their route based on the location of hand and foot holds in the structure.

By encouraging your child to decide which is the best path to take to reach the intended destination, an increase in awareness of his body in space and direction develops.

His agility, speed, balance and coordination are also strengthened as he moves from one point to another as quickly as possible.