Why Do Children LOVE to Climb?

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It’s no surprise to parents that children love to climb.  From their first steps, they progress almost overnight to scaling everything they can. Chill for the first few times, and really quite cute.  But very quickly, parents have a new 24/7 job trying to provide some “guardrails” to the activity.  Making sure they don’t climb too high and take risks that are too great. 

Why do they climb?  For kids, it’s simple…it’s fun! And that’s all that matters to them. They aren’t going to intellectualize or analyze it; they are just going to do it and have a ball doing it.

Turns out the reasons it’s fun for kids are quite comforting for their parents.  First, it’s a normal development process resulting from a completely natural instinct to explore, and to begin to feel empowered in the world. Humans love challenges, and solving them, and every climb represents a highly personal challenge.  

Second, it’s a way to take risks.  Childhood is all about, if nothing else, pushing boundaries and learning to feel danger and the resulting rush of adrenaline.  Every climb presents the risk of falling, and possibly hurting or injuring oneself.  

Third, children are natural learners and they instinctively know that every climb represents a learning opportunity.  They know, at a cellular level, that it’s going to feel really good to be faced with a challenge that involves risk, to figure out a strategy to meet the challenge, and then to execute the strategy successfully.  

Finally, as every parent knows, a child just doesn’t feel good physically, emotionally, or mentally is he or she is stagnant.  That child feels good when he or she is active.  Climbing is a constant activity…observe the challenge, plan the approach, attempt the approach, fail, rest and reconsider the strategy, try again, succeed, find a new climb, repeat, etc.

When we built our climbing gym, The Boulder Field, in Sacramento (www.theboulderfield.com), we did it with an intense focus on meeting the needs of kids and their parents.  In other words, we wanted to provide plentiful climbing opportunities for kids, with appropriate “guardrails” to ease the concerns of their parents.  And we, and thousands of families in the area, think we succeeded. Check us out!

-David Traversi

david traversi