One of the great joys of being a parent, is sharing the things that we love with our children. Hopefully this series is inspiring you to share some great adventures with your kids in the coming year.
Today, we’re going to address another great adventure that both you and your kids will love. ROCK CLIMBING! As you will quickly notice, most little kids love to climb. At any given moment they can be found climbing on counters, climbing on the table, or even trying to climb on your roof (true story). Rock climbing gives them a chance to harness that need to climb in a safe, fun and adventurous environment.
Before you go take your kids climbing, it is important that you have some basic skills and understanding of the sport to help keep you all safe (check out our climbing safety tips here). Also, if you aren’t quite ready to invest in all the gear you will need, take a class, or check out a climbing gym. Both of these will often provide all of the equipment you will need to have a great day.
Once you’ve gotten yourself comfortable climbing, the next step is to take the plunge with your kids. Luckily, we’ve got some tips from Cragmama (aka the queen of being a hardcore climber/mom).
1. Choose a kid-friendly crag – An area with a large, mostly flat base and lots of routes in one place works out nicely. That way kids will have plenty of space to play in while waiting their turn to climb. Small boulders to scramble around on at the base are great as well!
2. Start out slow – Your child will have more fun if they are successful. Choose a route you think they will be successful on, don’t just tie them into your project at the end of the day as an afterthought. Younger kids (and older ones too!) are sometimes afraid of heights, so encourage your child to climb as high as they can, but don’t pressure them too much. Climbing is supposed to be fun, and if they are scared, then it might be too soon.
3. Make it a game – we’ve had a lot of success with our 2.5 year old by putting small toys up on the climbing holds in the gym at certain intervals. He loves to climb up to retrieve them, and thow them back down. He hasn’t expressed a ton of interest in outdoor climbing yet so we haven’t tried it outdoors, but I imagine it would work well in that scenario also.
4. Know when to call it a day – it’s always better to end early and wish you’d done one more climb than to do one more climb and realize it was one too many….tired kids tend to gt frustrated more easily, so don’t try to squeeze in as much time on the rock as you possibly can. Just enjoy the process, even if your child is only up for tying in once or twice throughout the whole day.
Looking for more tips and advice for getting your family climbing together? Check out Cragmama!
Lucky for all of you, 5 year old Mason is going to be providing today’s reviews. I’ll be adding some commentary in red as well!
Tell me about your chalk bag: “I like my monster bag a lot. It has really cool fur (fake) on it and the face is scary so it makes me really tough.”
What do other people think of your bag? “I think that they think it’s cool. All the big kids who climb tell me that it’s neat.”
Mason has been sporting one of these bags for nearly a year and I love that it’s just his size (and that I don’t have to share my chalk bag with him). Practical climbing makes all of their chalk bags by hand and they are really built to stand up to lots of use and abuse. If you want, they will also custom make a chalk bag for you so that your bag will be as unique as you are. All in all, a fun and inexpensive way to get your kids excited for climbing with their own gear!
What do you think of these shoes? “They are really cool. I like the colors on them because they’re awesome.”
How do they feel on your feet? “They squished my foot when I first put them on, but Dad said that was how they are supposed to be. Now they don’t hurt and feel comfy.” It took him a minute to get used to the slimmer fit that a climbing shoe has. I don’t think they actually hurt, just fit differently.
Are they easy to get on? “Yep. You just open up this velcro and put your foot in and close the velcro again.”
What is easier – these shoes or your tennis shoes: “These shoes are lots easier. My tennis shoes are kind of slippery. These shoes have special stuff on the bottom that makes me stick to the walls. It makes me kind of like Spiderman. Sometimes my feet can even stick right to the wall even when there is no rock for me to stand on.”
These shoes are a great choice for young kids. Although I’ve gone back and forth on the necessity of having climbing shoes for kids, I think that these definitly made a difference for him. Having the sticky rubber on the bottom was great and gave him a real confidence boost. The Venga shoes also feature an adjustable heel strap allowing the shoes to literally grow with your kids feet so they last much longer.
One lucky reader will win a kids chalk bag from practical climbing and a pair of Evolv Venga kids shoes.
Thanks to Evolv and Practical Climbing for supplying gear for this review.