We have often heard from many parents who are also climbers, who want their kids to learn bouldering at a very young stage. So, in this article we have decided to tell you everything about how a kid or a toddler should do bouldering. If you want to know that if you can boulder alone or not, check out this article.
What is the best way to introduce toddlers and kids to bouldering? First of all, you wouldn’t bother taking your child bouldering or climbing outdoors when there are perfectly good climbing gyms all over the world that are generally safe and the staff can offer help. If you want your children to make quick progress, you need to get them climbing as soon as possible. Whether you can climb in a climbing gym depends on the minimum age – some gyms don’t have a minimum age while others allow children up to 12 years old. If you can find a bouldering gym offering kid’s climbing classes, we recommend getting your child enrolled. To engage their climbing brains as well as their muscles, you can also play bouldering games with them. You must always set rules with your child, regardless of whether you boulder with or without children. For their own safety and for those around them, these rules must be obeyed at all times. Here are 8 rules to get you started and they are:
- There is no running around
- The instructions they must follow at all times
- They must not start climbing without your permission
- As climbers can fall from above onto them, they must always stay by your side
- Not to climb above or below anyone else
- Yelling and screaming need only be used in an emergency
- Barefoot climbing is prohibited
- Touching another’s equipment (including chalk) is prohibited
Your toddler should also follow rules so he or she does not interfere with other climbers or cause a danger to themselves or others. If you are a parent and want to teach your child bouldering then these are the eight rules you should follow:
- Maintain an arm’s reach distance from your child
- Avoid walking under climbers.
- Be sure to spot your child when they are climbing.
- Do not let your child climb in areas for over 18s.
- Be sure to read the rules.
- Think twice about bringing a toddler into a crowded gym.
- Take precautions before anything goes wrong
- Make sure your child does not bring food or drink onto the climbing mats
We will discuss each of these points in more detail in the following sections. The following are 8 climbing games you can play with your kids, along with the rules. Keep reading to learn more.
Indoor Bouldering With Your Child
Although it is great if you can start climbing on rocks with your child early, we are not certain how safe it is. When you fall down on an indoor climbing mat, which happens a lot to beginners, you land on very soft and spongy mats. There are some mats that are spongy, but outdoor mats aren’t as spongy. Your child will also be able to see the holds more easily due to the bright colors. They would have to make a guess as to where the next hold is if they climbed outside. It isn’t always a bad thing since it promotes on-the-spot thinking, but if your kid is a beginner, he or she should be learning in a safe environment with easy-to-spot holds. Staff at the climbing gym are always willing to assist with any problems or inquiries.
Climb with Your Child Early
Any sport your child takes up earlier will benefit him or her in the long run. During the years 0-7, children begin to program. The world around them is a powerful influence on them. This is because they are mostly in alpha and theta brainwave states. Similar brain waves can be found in deep meditation or when someone is hypnotized. The best time to program your child is between the ages of 0-7. Wait until they can climb, so maybe wait until they’re at least 3 years old when they have the dexterity to do so. When you teach them efficiently and correctly, they will learn very quickly. Therefore, you should start your child climbing as early as possible, and if possible before the age of 7 years old.
Kids can play rock climbing games indoors
Your children can have fun while learning about climbing techniques by playing bouldering games. Listed below are eight games you can play with groups of children or with a child on their own:
- Chaos – Chaos is a game played with a group of children. The kids start on one side of the wall, while the other half start on the other side. To cross the wall successfully, both teams must climb. As soon as they meet, they must climb – SAFELY – around each other. When all kids cross the wall, the winning team is declared.
- Silent Feet – This game can be played with your own children or with a group of people. A blindfolded person or child is given beanbags and has their eyes fastened. To move past them, the others must move as quietly as possible around the walls. After throwing the bean bags at the others, the blindfolded individual traverses again. Points are awarded for every hit.
- Silent Chaos – A mix of the above! Blindfolded people throw bean bags at two halves of children standing opposite a wall.
- The game fetch can be played with a group of kids or individually by your kids. Consider placing something they’ll want (like a chocolate bar, for example) on one of the holds – make it obvious where the prize is. You can either set a set of rules – such as requiring them to use only a certain color climb, or to get there in 3 moves or less or you can also let them free climb and you will actually see your child’s motivation to reach a specific hold on a climb through this activity.
- The game of Seek – Seek is similar to the one above except you hide the chocolate bar on a wall and they have to find it. The color of the hold, for example, or the color of the hat.
- A group of children pretend to swim on mats as they attack a shark. As soon as you say “Shark!” they have to jump on the wall. The last person standing with both feet planted loses.
- Natural Disasters – This is a party game for children (preferably private). It should not be played in a busy climbing gym. It’s a great game to tire children out after climbing. The children respond to your shouts by performing an action. When you shout “Food!“, all the children must get their feet off the ground. When you shout “Smoke!“ the children must lie on their backs and cover their faces. If you shout “Lava!“ the kids will run around on their tiptoes. If you shout “Avalanche!“ they must crouch at the bottom of the climbing wall. As you climb faster, it will be more exhausting for the children.
- Animals – This is a second one for private parties. It requires three different pieces. We will name one part “Air”, one part “Water”, and one part “Land”. Throughout the game, you will shout out different animals and the children must jump on the wall corresponding to the animal’s habitat. For instance, if you shout “Eagle” they will jump on to the air wall. As long as you shout “Hippo” then this can be the water or land wall, so you can use animals like that to confuse them a bit.
Rock Climbing Safety and Rules for Children
In an indoor climbing gym, safety should be paramount. Almost everywhere there are hazards in a busy gym. The kids you are with and what is around them must always be taken into consideration. It will be easier for you if you give children rules before they step onto the climbing mats. You should also follow the rules yourself. Nobody wants to be the parent who is greeted with groans as they enter the climbing gym. We have come up with 8 rules you as a parent should follow when bouldering, and we have come up with 8 more rules your kids should follow.
Here are 8 rules your kids should follow when climbing indoors
There is no running around
There is nothing unreasonable about this rule. Furthermore, it can be extremely annoying for climbers around you. Staff may also become annoyed.
Your instructions must always be followed
Children who do not follow their guardian’s instructions cannot always be fully controlled in climbing gyms.
Climbing must not be started without your permission
There are obvious safety reasons for this. Someone might have already started a climb that crosses the climb they’re about to attempt.
They must stay by your side at all times as climbers can fall from above onto them
When the child you’re taking care of wanders away from you, this can also endanger the child and even other climbers. Don’t you want your child to be hit by someone else because they’re not by your side?
There must be no climbing above or below any other individual
Unless it’s an emergency, don’t yell or scream
Other climbers find screaming and yelling on the mountain very annoying and, often, it also signals a medical emergency to the staff. When your child is screaming or yelling a lot, the staff will not be listening as much for urgent calls.
Climbing barefoot is not allowed
They can easily injure their feet and toes due to this. In addition, it is quite unhygienic.
Do not touch other people’s equipment (such as chalk)
It’s obvious that your children shouldn’t use anyone else’s equipment (unless they’ve been instructed). They don’t own it, and it may irritate other climbers.
The Eight Rules You Should Follow as a Parent or Guardian in a Climbing Gym
Keep your child within reach
So they are not interfering with other climbers and you know exactly where they are at all times.
You should not walk underneath other climbers (with or without your child)
Neither you nor your child want to be injured by anyone falling on them. This is extremely dangerous.
Make sure you spot your child when they are climbing
When your child is climbing very high, make sure you are spotting them correctly to prevent a hard fall.
Keep your child out of areas for adults only
You risk having your gym membership revoked if you allow your child to enter over-age areas of the gym.
Know the actual rules of the climbing gym
Knowing exactly what the gym expects of you and your child when climbing is always a good idea.
When the climbing gym is packed, you might want to avoid taking your kids there
When you’re looking after your child, sometimes it’s best not to be in a crowded climbing gym since they’re harder to control and therefore more dangerous.
Identify potential risks before they become a problem
You should inspect your child’s status periodically while he or she climbs or is around other climbers.
The climbing mats should not be used to eat or drink
Usually, children make the most mess because they are the ones that eat and drink on the mats.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Is rock climbing safe for toddlers?
Rock climbing is safe for kids when they are properly supervised and instructed. The benefits of rock climbing for children are extensive. Besides releasing endorphins that promote a feeling of well-being, it is a great aerobic activity that burns more calories an hour than casual soccer or running.
Can kids do bouldering?
Robyn Raboutou, a professional boulderer and trainer, says that children as young as three can benefit from bouldering. It is possible for children as young as two to boulder, however, constant supervision is essential, and they should not climb high.
Can I take a 3-year-old rock climbing?
The three-year-old kids cannot be placed in a climbing class until they are a few years older. This means you will have to learn all the skills yourself. If you plan to take your toddler to a gym, ensure you know how to correctly belay and climb.
At what age can a child start rock climbing?
Climbing courses usually require children to be at least 5 years old to begin. The reason is that kids are capable of following instructions and gaining more autonomy at 5 years of age. Kids can start earlier if they desire.