Monday, October 10, 2011

Outdoor Adventures: Climbing by Erin Uda

Kids have an innate need to climb everything they see. This week, instead of going to a man-made playground, discover the natural playground around you.

Find a good climbing tree or tangle of rocks and get out with your children, showing them your technique. Start with small rocks and trees and gradually work into the larger, taller, more difficult ones. You want your child to get comfortable with heights and learn to master the feeling of unsteadiness that comes when you don’t have two feet flat on the ground.

If you don’t have trees and rocks readily available near your home, try going to a local park or a public school playground if you’re looking for trees. If you’re looking for rocks, search your city parks online and look for some natural rocks, retaining walls, or climbing areas. Or just look around as you’re driving. You’ll see them everywhere once you start looking.

If you can’t find a suitable outdoor climbing area, consider going to a climbing gym. I took my boys indoor climbing for the first time last month and after a few tentative attempts, they got really into it. Of course, the older one acclimated much faster and went off on his own after just a few climbs. I ended up climbing side-by-side with my youngest the entire time, but it was still a huge boost to his self-confidence to keep trying and finally get near the top.

Remember to tailor the difficulty level to the skill set of your child; don’t force him to do something he’s not ready for. But don’t let him chicken out either. You’ll both miss out on something special.

If the weather cooperates, you can turn your climbing adventure into a fun photo shoot. Just dress the kids in bright, warm clothes and snap pictures as they climb around.

And don’t be afraid to bring souvenirs home. Rocks are one of the most collected items. If you can, visit a rock quarry or natural history museum to get up close and personal with some of the more exotic and colorful types of rocks.

You could also FIND a geode, or thunder egg, GROW one, or ORDER some online.

There are plenty of stores, museums included, that sell semi-precious rocks; let your children pick out a few that interest them, then spend the afternoon researching more about them. What is it called? What is it made of? How is it made? Where are they found?

And when you’re all finished, try MAKING some rock candy.

Suggested Reading:

  • If you Find a Rock, Peggy Christian
  • The dragon in the sock drawer, Kate Klimo
  • The Waterfall, Jonathan London
  • Geodes: Nature’s Treasures, Brad L. Cross & June Culp Zeitner
  • Rocks: Hard, Soft, Smoth, and Rough, Natalie M. Rossinsky
  • The Rock Factory: The Story About the Rock Cycle, Jacqui Bailey
  • Everybody Needs a Rock, Byrd Baylor
  • A Tree is Nice, Janice May Udry

No comments:

Post a Comment