“They climb everything”; the common phrase uttered by almost every parent that walks through the door, usually as their child tries to scale the highest peaks of our front desk.
It’s not a huge leap to suggest that most kids love to explore; experimenting with the physical capabilities of their growing limbs, as well as scouting out the limits of their surroundings. After the first few stair railings, and maybe a tree or two, parents will often try to find a way to channel that energy in a somewhat more controlled environment. For exasperated parents who want to preserve their table legs, or for those who recognise the spark of delight that comes from reaching the highest kitchen cabinet, climbing can be a wonderful solution.
Whether it’s bouldering, top-roping, sport or trad, climbing has much to offer young people, from improving strength to practices in coping with fear. As the sport increases in popularity studies are beginning to back up years of anecdotal evidence, showing that climbing contributes to muscular strength and endurance. Further research into participation in “proprioceptively dynamic activities” has shown huge benefits for working memory. In simple terms, forcing ourselves to focus on body positioning and balance on tiny holds can improve our memory (at least that’s what we tell anyone who suggests we look silly).
Aside from encouraging good physical and mental stamina, climbing is unique in nurturing a strong sense of community and an awareness of our natural surroundings. One of the wonderful things about the community at Highball is the way they embrace and encourage younger climbers. It’s always been a joy to watch people grow up in this environment, and some of those youth climbers have become members of our coaching team. Indoor climbing is just the start, and for anyone who gets ‘the bug’ it can lead to endless outdoor adventures. This can be a much needed tonic for children growing up in a highly stimulated world, and starting younger just means reaping the benefits from an earlier age.
At Highball we want everyone from any age and background to be able to enjoy climbing in the way that suits them. We offer a range of pathways into children’s climbing, whether they’re first timers, casual clamberers or dedicated mountain goats. During term time we offer regular after school sessions as well as running the nationally recognised NICAS award scheme at weekends. We put on a range of activities throughout the school holidays so there’s no excuse for sitting at home! If you know a kid that climbs everything, why not book a session?
Visit our Kids Climbing section of our website for more information