Therapeutic Benefits of Rock Climbing - Pediatric Physical Therapy
Rock Climbing Many Benefits for Kids of All Ages and Abilities
• Strengthening and Endurance: Kids develop hand and finger strength as they grasp and hang onto holds of all different shapes and sizes. Some of the holds are tiny and don’t have much to grasp onto, making for a great challenge! Making your way up a climbing wall requires a great deal of core strength and leg strength too.
• Coordination and Motor Planning: Climbing is an awesome way to help kids develop coordination and motor planning skills because there is a built-in visual element to help guide them. The holds are all different shapes and colors that offer kids great visual cues as they climb up the wall. This makes it easy to practice motor planning abilities as you can give the child instructions; for example you can instruct your child by saying, “step your right foot on the blue hold,” or “find the next hold with green tape next to it.”
• Bilateral Coordination: When kids are rock climbing, they have to use both sides of their body together, usually in an alternating pattern — right hand and right foot move up to the next level, followed by the left hand and left foot. Also, kids have to learn how to differentiate between the movements on either side of their bodies. They stabilize themselves with one foot/hand while motor planning how to grasp onto and step on the next holds with their other foot and hand.
• Cognitive Skills/Problem Solving/Visual Skills: Lots of problem solving and visual motor/visual perceptual work goes on as kids search for their next climbing hold and plan their next move, especially if they are following a specific route up the wall.
• Sensory Processing: When it comes to the development and integration of the sensory systems, kids get great proprioceptive input (sensory input to the muscles and joints) as they hoist themselves from climbing hold to climbing hold with rock climbing. Moreover, rock climbing also enhances a child's vestibular (movement-based) experience of gliding back down to the floor from the top of the wall!
For kids who experience gravitational insecurity, rock climbing can be an extreme challenge, but can be graded to meet their needs. For instance, kids who are reluctant to climb high up on the wall can work on moving from side to side first.
• Confidence: Research has found that a six-week indoor rock climbing program had a significant effect on self-efficacy for a group of children with special needs. There’s no doubt about it, when you see the smile on a kid’s face who has just conquered a rock wall, it’s a sure sign of success!
Read Even More Blog Articles that Rock!
Here are some additional blog article that we've created here at Kinetic Kids that may also be of interest to you:
- Sensory Intervention: Vestibular Proprioceptive Processing Issues
- How a Sensory Gym Benefits Child Development
- Want to Improve Your Child's Handwriting Skills? Start Strengthening His Core! [SLIDESHARE]
Did You Know That Similar to Rock Climbing...
... yoga is also a great way to build your child's core muscles? Please check out our guide on yoga poses that helps kids to de-stress and focus (and just in time for school too!):
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