Rock Climbing for Kids: Indoor or Outdoor?

Rock Climbing for kids is starting to gain popularity especially now that the sport  is set to make its debut at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo- which is scheduled to take place on July 23. What is more, the first-ever climber to represent the USA in the Olympics is an 18-year old female prodigy who began climbing at age…1…exactly the same time when she was also learning how to walk!  

It sounds impossible but it is possible! Whether you are here to prepare your kid to become a future rock climbing prodigy or just get them unplug from electronics, we’ve got you covered! If your children are also interested in driving, we have even put together a list and reviewed the best pedal go kart for kids to get them to play outside.

Before we go through the how’s…..

What is Rock Climbing…For Kids?

Rock climbing is an activity that involves climbing up and down a natural rock surface or an artificial wall which is not only a test of strength, but also a test of endurance, agility, and balance. This activity requires good hand, foot, and eye coordination and good problem-solving skills. Moreover, it requires high level of physical and mental energy. This is why it is one of the most exhilarating (but fun) activities. And, one that is also mentally challenging (but pleasurable) as it demands a huge amount of focus. 

For kids, rock climbing is a form of “climb and play” with supervision of a parent or a guardian and a certified instructor. If your kid is already climbing walls, rock climbing could be the big step forward! (If not yet, perhaps an indoor slide would help foster your kid’s love for climbing.) 

Is it Safe for Kids?

There are different styles of rock climbing and different venues to do it-wherever there is a rock formation, obviously, or a wall. Bouldering, free solo climbing, and top rope climbing are among those styles. Surely, when your kid is old and strong enough, your kid can try all the cool styles! And, hopefully, by then, he/she will decide to purse THE ONE that he/she loves the most.

For parents, however, rock climbing for kids might be a little too intense… and scary. Not only because it involves ropes and climbing harnesses but also because it involves the thing that most of us fear the most: heights. But worry no more! Indoor climbing is an option, probably the best and safest option there is. It uses an artificial wall with colorful and sometimes, animal shaped medium-sized artificial rocks.

But, generally, according to statistics, rock climbing, compared with other traditional sports such as hockey and rugby, is a fairly safe sport. More so, when done with proper equipment and with a certified instructor.

6 Reasons Why Rock Climbing for Kids is the Best:

The are tons of reasons to love rock climbing and why it is best for your kid. Here are our top 6 reasons:

It builds courage, confidence..and muscles.

The goal of rock climbing is to summit or reach the end of a climb route without falling. Nothing can build more courage and confidence in your kids than getting them to try an activity that conquers heights. If your kid has extreme fear of heights, rock climbing could be the best activity to overcome that. Also, reaching the top can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience. To do so requires a lot of physical and mental energy. This kind of build a lot of confidence and muscles!

It makes them love the outdoors!

Rock climbing takes your kids to adventures and places especially of greater heights. There’s no better way for your kid to appreciate nature than conquering rocks and mountains and interacting closely with it. But, it takes a lot of guided indoor training to be able conquer the great outdoors. It’s gonna be worth the time and effort for sure!

It improves listening skills and problem solving skills.

Falling is not the goal, reaching the top is. Your kid needs to listen to his/her in order to keep moving toward that goal. That requires sufficient problem solving skills also as one wrong move can lead to falling. So, every right movement of hand and foot is actually a problem solved! 

It improves hand, foot, and eye coordination.

Climbing up, down and across a wall or a natural rock formation improves hand, foot, and eye coordination. In order not to fall, your kid has to see the best place to place his hand and foot. To execute each move takes a good amount of that skill.

It increases strength, endurance and flexibility.

Everybody has probably seen videos of rock climbers doing cool and tricky movements. Swinging and pulling themselves up with one hand are probably the best ones. Such movements obviously involves strength, endurance, and flexibility to be carried out. To help your kid develop all these 3 could be the best thing that you can do as a parent! Besides letting them enjoy life and keeping them safe at the same time.

It unplugs your kids from electronics!

You’re only probably here for this reason- to unplug your kid from electronics. We feel you. It’s kind of hard nowadays to get them off their gadgets because obviously there is nothing more fun to do. But let’s be honest, there are a multitude of fun things to try and do! If you are more than willing to try some of those, you can successfully get them off their phones. Rock climbing can be your best option for that! Not only will it take your kid outdoors, it also has a good mixture of fun and challenge!

Indoor Climbing or Outdoor Climbing?

Outdoor climbing for kids provides a different kind of nature play. It allows them to interact and relate with their environment and learn about it at the same time. This is fun and cool! But, for the safety of your kid, especially if they are at the right age to start rock climbing, it is best to get them learn the basics and the safety techniques first. And, indoor climbing is THE WAY.

Indoor climbing is done in a climbing gym. This kind of gym has an artificial wall with artificial rocks designed most often with colorful, attractive and sometimes animal shapes. Because the rocks are so easy to spot, it is a very conducive place for kids to learn the basics and practice the placement of their hand and foot. Furthermore, climbing gyms have climbing corners where kids can climb and play at the same time. You can also supervise them there closely because the environment is much more controlled.

To get the most out of indoor or outdoor climbing, bringing play toys is a must. They keep them entertained and they can also be their best company! Check our best robot dog for kids!

When Is the Best Time To Get Your Kids To Try Rock Climbing?

According to rock climbing experts, 5 is the best age to start. It’s the age where kids’ problem-solving skills and listening skills are well enough to do activities that require such skills. (If you’re looking for toddler toys that enhance mental abilities, check our Top 10 Best Building Blocks for Toddlers.  However, kids as young as 2 can already start doing simple trainings at home. Their motor skills are sufficient enough to do basic movements in the form of play. 

Motor skills are muscle movements needed to perform specific tasks. We’ve listed the best puzzles that can help develop your kid’s gross motor skills: 3D Puzzle for Kids.

How To Encourage Your Kid to Try Rock Climbing?

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We know for sure that kids copy what their parents say or do. So, the best way to encourage your kid to try rock climbing is by trying it out as well. Who knows, you might love it as much as your kid would!

What Do I Need to Start? 

There are only two major steps to start your kid’s rock climbing journey:

  1. Find a qualified kid instructor.

To begin, you have to find a certified instructor that has a good rock climbing program for kids. Check his/her program first if it includes the kind of training that you want for your kid. Ask questions if necessary.

Usually, learning the basics starts with familiarizing the sensation of vertical wall motion without using a rope. Next is teaching them to use a rope/ climbing harness. They will be provided with the right safety gears so don’t worry about your kid being up on the wall!

Safety techniques including the proper placement of hands and feet when climbing down from any height is usually explained at the end. This is proceeded by demonstration of some basic climbing techniques that your kid will need to practice afterwards.

  1. Gear up!

Rock climbing gyms usually provide all the necessary gears and equipment such as shoes, helmets, and harnesses. Besides these, there are no other gear requirements needed, except a few play toys!

Officially, climbing gyms accept trainees as young as 5. If your kid is under the age of 5, you might want to kickstart their climbing journey though these indoor climbing toys for toddlers: Indoor Climbing Toys for Toddlers

Conclusion

Getting your kids to try rock climbing too early might: Turn them into the next climbing prodigy like Brookes or might just give them the best childhood experience ever! We know for sure that with the right play tools, environment, equipment, and a good, qualified kid instructor, rock climbing could be the next best activity for your kid. Indoor or outdoor climbing, it can help your kid’s development both physically and mentally. Most importantly, although reaching the top is the goal, it will also help him/her gain courage to fall, fail, and try again… and again!

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