If You Build It… They Will Climb!

January 12, 2016


You can seldom pull together a playground without a few climbing structures. It goes without saying that play is synonymous with climbing.

Children’s bodies develop rapidly in the early and middle childhood years and during this period their gross motor skills begin to emerge and develop. Children’s natural enjoyment of active play and their desire to interact with others and the environment create great opportunities for child care professionals to support children’s gross motor development. Providing a combination of free play and planned gross motor experiences will support children to develop physically strong and healthy bodies.

Why do children climb?

  • because stuff (trees, fences and furniture) is there
  • to increase their visual field
  • for excitement
  • the feeling of accomplishment
  • to get close to nature
  • to experience basic physics (gravity, inertia, pendulums, optics)
  • to overcome physical challenges
  • to test abilities
  • to show off
  • to compete
  • to engage in pretend games
  • to retrieve objects
  • to stimulate kinesthetic perceptions
  • to increase vestibular sensations, and
  • because they are built for climbing and have an innate tendency to do so.

Whilst they pursue the fun of the climb they benefit in so many ways:

  • visual perception of distance
  • coordination
  • grip strength
  • lateral weight shift
  • hand-eye coordination
  • upper body skills