It’s a question that has puzzled parents for years – is climbing good for toddlers? The answer, it turns out, is a bit complicated. There are certainly benefits to letting your little one climb, but some risks need to be considered. Let’s take a closer look at both sides of the issue.
So, is climbing good for toddlers? On the plus side, climbing helps toddlers develop a range of physical skills. It is excellent for building strength and coordination and improving balance. Climbing also helps develop spatial awareness – an essential skill for growing children. In addition, it is an excellent way for toddlers to burn off energy and have fun! However, there are also some risks associated with climbing. If toddlers fall, they can easily hurt themselves. It is crucial to make sure that any surfaces your child is climbing on are safe and secure, and that there is something soft to land on if they do fall.
This blog post discusses everything you need to know about whether climbing is good for toddlers, including the benefits and risks. After reading this, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether or not climbing is suitable for your child. So, let us get started.
Why Do Toddlers Love Climbing?
The simple answer is that toddlers climb because they can or try to. Generally, children begin to gain slightly greater control over their body movements at the age of about 18 months. At this age, most of them realize they can run across the park, pull themselves up onto furniture, or kick a ball around.
They do it out of curiosity and innocence at first. Your toddler feels good, and all they want is to be themselves. As their bodies’ power and ability become more intense, your toddler will want to explore more boundaries like they do with everything else.
For some kids, the slight knocks and understandable fear of the relatively high places is usually enough to stop them from pushing their limits too far.
In some cases, you will be required to discourage your toddler from climbing by sending firm reminders and demonstrations such as bookcases are not steps, and chairs are for sitting.
Unfortunately, there is one personality type that you can do little to stop; climbing. For some toddlers, climbing is much more than a thrill. It is exciting, and nothing can stop them from exploring their ability.
They want to show their strength and satisfy their growing curiosity about what is up. Toddlers with relatively older siblings may be even more determined to climb because they try to imitate what their siblings are doing.
How Does Climbing Evolve?
Climbing usually evolves alongside the other milestones. When your toddler learns to crawl, they also begin climbing up the stairs on all their fours. When they learn to stand, they’ll start climbing on low furniture.
As they grow and their agility becomes intense, they start exploring other climbing options, such as crawling up and down the stairs pretty quickly.
Established walking and early running usually open doors to increasingly complicated climbing activities and fast walking up the stairs.
With more practice, the toddler perfects their climbing skills and needs less help climbing up and down. By 24 or 36 months, climbing becomes an established part of your child’s daily routine.
What Are the Benefits of Climbing?
Having good climbing skills is crucial for every toddler because it allows them to be physically active and interact freely on the playground with their peers. The adventure spirit is alive for many toddlers, and it comes with a wide range of benefits.
Here are some of the top benefits of climbing for toddlers:
1. It helps in the development of gross motor skills.
Climbing is a great way to develop gross motor skills such as coordination, strength, and balance. It also helps develop spatial awareness – an essential skill for growing children.
When toddlers climb, they use large muscle groups to move their bodies. This helps to develop coordination and strength. In addition, climbing helps to improve balance.
2. Improves balance
Good balance is critical for almost every gross and fine motor skill development. Climbing helps your little ones develop outstanding balance by engaging their core muscle groups.
Climbing safely in the natural environment provides additional challenges, which are crucial to the overall development of other skills.
In a typical natural environment climbing set up, the stepping stones are rarely flat, rocks are pretty slippery, and tree branches come in different heights and widths.
This type of environment can also be more conducive to imaginative play as the toddler explores their curiosity. It is not surprising that many therapists use natural climbing environments as a form of therapy for children with special needs.
3. It helps in the development of cognitive skills
When toddlers are playing and climbing, they constantly make split-second decisions about where to place their feet and hands. This exercise helps to develop their problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
In addition, as they explore their environment and figure out how to climb certain obstacles, they are also building their spatial awareness skills.
4. It helps in the development of social skills
Climbing is an excellent way for toddlers to interact with their peers. When climbing together, they will need to communicate with each other and take turns. This helps develop their social skills such as cooperation, sharing, and turn-taking.
5. It is a great workout
Climbing is a great way to get some exercise. When toddlers climb, they use large muscle groups, which helps improve their strength and cardiovascular fitness.
In addition, climbing also helps to improve their agility and flexibility. As they climb, they are constantly stretching and reaching for new holds, which helps to improve their range of motion.
6. It is great for the development of coordination
Climbing is a great way to develop coordination. When climbing, toddlers need to use their hands and feet in a coordinated manner. This helps to develop the small muscles in their hands and toes.
In addition, as they climb, they are also developing their proprioception – the ability to know where their body parts are in space. This is an essential skill for gross motor development.
7. It is a great way to develop strength
Climbing is a great way to develop strength. When climbing, toddlers need to use their arm and leg muscles to pull themselves up.
This helps to develop the large muscle groups in their arms and legs. Furthermore, climbing also helps develop the small muscles in their hands and feet.
What Are the Risks of Climbing?
Climbing is not all fun and games. There are some risks associated with it, especially if the child is not supervised properly.
The most common injuries associated with climbing are scrapes, bruises, and cuts. These can usually be treated at home with some basic first aid.
More severe injuries such as fractures, dislocations, and concussions can also occur. These injuries usually require medical attention.
To help prevent injuries, it is crucial to ensure that the child is properly supervised when climbing. In addition, the child should be wearing appropriate clothing such as closed-toe shoes and gloves.
It is also essential to make sure that the climbing area is safe. The surface should be free of sharp objects, and there should be no loose rocks or unstable surfaces.
Additionally, the child should always have a spotter when climbing. The spotter should be able to catch the child if they fall.
What Are Good Climbing Activities for Toddlers at Home?
There are lots of things you can do at home to provide a safe climbing environment for your toddler at home.
One option is to create an indoor climbing wall. This can be done by attaching cushions or foam pads to a wall. The child can then use the cushions to climb up and down the wall.
Another option is to use large cardboard boxes or plastic storage containers to create a makeshift climbing structure.
If you have kid-sized chairs and tables, consider making an obstacle course and add in some cushions or towels on the ground as stepping stones.
You can also use household items such as sofa cushions, blankets, and pillows to create a soft landing area for your child.
What Are Good Climbing Activities for Toddlers at the Park?
There are also many things you can do at the park to provide a safe climbing environment for your toddler.
Another option is to use large rocks or tree stumps as makeshift climbing structures. Just be sure that the surface is smooth and free of sharp edges.
In addition, there are often hills at the park that your child can use to practice their climbing skills. Just be sure to supervise them closely as they can easily fall and hurt themselves.
So, is climbing good for toddlers? The answer is a resounding yes! Toddlers love climbing because it helps them develop essential gross motor skills, balance, cognitive skills, and social skills. Climbing also provides a great workout and can help improve coordination.
While there are some risks associated with climbing, they can be minimized with proper supervision. There are many great activities that you can do with your toddler to help them climb safely and have fun!