Physical Development

Preschool Clambering to Climbing

It is a while since I wrote a blog with a focus on physical skills.  This isn’t the blog that I was going to write but, as any grandparent knows, grandchildren have a knack of changing our plans and Daisy is no exception! Daisy has always liked climbing, but lately it’s something she’ll do at any opportunity; she will climb up and down anything that resembles a ladder.

A brown wooden high chair for a child to use

Daisy quickly learned that she could use the front struts on the typical restaurant high chair to climb up and now she independently gets herself into her seat at the table.

In the playground and at playgroup Daisy enjoys the climbing frames and the ladders up the slides (she’s less keen on coming down the slides).  Rope ladders and soft play areas give her endless joy, exploring and climbing.

Out and about, Daisy’s discovered that different designs of bar-style gates are also perfect for climbing.

A child climbing up the rungs of a metal gate, which leads to a horse paddock. She is using it like a ladder.

I’ve noticed that Daisy’s has developed different grips when climbing.

A child climbing up the metal rungs of a gate. She is using it like a ladder.

Through climbing, a preschool child will develop different physical skills.  These skills range from the grips that they use as they are climbing to the strength they gain in their arms and legs, pulling and pushing themselves up and down as they climb.  Their balance improves as they develop their core muscles and there are often moments when they need to work out how to get up or down or move in a different direction; that entails some problem-solving skills too.  There will also be moments of uncertainty creating emotions from exhilaration to anxiety.  As adults we will have experienced those emotions in some of our physical challenges as well!

Last weekend Daisy saw her Daddy using his step ladder in the garden.  Daisy watched for a while and then asked if she could climb the step ladder too.  Mummy and Daddy know Daisy has developed some climbing skills so they considered the risk of letting her climb a step ladder and decided that with a couple of simple rules, she could have a go.

Important rule : NO climbing a step ladder without an adult nearby. Mummy and Daddy now make sure that Daisy always sees them following this rule when they are using the step ladder, making sure that another adult is nearby.

Daisy is old enough now to understand so we have talked to her about the basic safety considerations and maintaining her grip while going up and down the ladder.

This experience of climbing a step ladder has also given Daisy an opportunity to use her builders’ tools to do some ‘repairs’.  Daddy is standing at the bottom of the ladder with a firm grip on the frame.

At the end of the afternoon, Daddy took the step ladder and put it back into his shed – out of sight and away from temptation.

Some climbing requires taking ‘risks’.  Assessing the situation, taking risks and learning how to manage risks are life skills that every child needs to have some experience of in order to be able to develop those skills.  A child learns through practice and they need different experiences where there is an element of risk-taking, in order to acquire this important life skill.

IMG-20190723-WA0006Granny Smith says –

Soft play centres provide perfect opportunities for climbing activities and they are well constructed to allow plenty of exploration and problem solving, in a well maintained, safe environment.  Adults are often able to join in and support and encourage their children at this play.

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