/ 4yr olds climbing
My daughter is dead keen on climbing and (as yet) I haven't seen another mini that's quite as mini as her but climbing with a grown up passion. She not hauled snivelling to the tops of walls, our biggest rows are over it being time to go or to have a break. If she sees any kid do anything she wants to do it too, especially if said kid is a mad keen climber. After watching a young lad who looked about 8 doing overhangs she nagged, begged and pleaded to have a go, when I gave in she proved she ain't too young!
At the moment there are some hurdles for mini munchkin. She's desperate to climb with other kids but with kids her age has to choose between their company or climbing as, even if they climb, they understandably prefer playing, she chooses the company and is still happy but tells me she still wants to climb with other kids. There's a climbing course for 5-7s that the centre have said she can go on because they've got to know her and hopefully that'll help - if there's at least one other kid really into it. The course doesn't start till next year though.
The other issue is that while Munchkin loves climbing she's also a girly girl and is beginning to think climbing is a 'boys' thing. She does see other female climbers but the instructors at the centre are all men. She's asked me if she can have a lesson off a girl climber but I can't find one. I climb, but I'm a tomboy mum that isn't into pink so don't count!
Last of all this whole post is going to sound a bit weird, like some pushy, deluded mum - unless you saw what I mean. Anyone that has experience teaching kids, or with a real mini climber is welcome to PM for a vid. I'm not weird, my daughter does love climbing and wanted santa to bring new stickies! She's a whole human being, a tooth sucking, problem making climber - just unfortunately 4!
Any thoughts/ideas welcome.
I am in a similar boat my daughter has been climbing for 7 months now and she has just turned 5 but the other kids around her age at the local wall are all how do i say it .. less enthusiastic than her.
because of that its not worth her going into the kids climbing club as she is more advanced than they are and gets bored with them but when she does climb with the bigger kids they treat her too much like a littlun.
she loves her climbing so i am going to take her to one of the big centres in london and see how she gets on there.
where in the country are you? there are women instructors at my local wall (Basildon)
i find that when i go climbing at the Reach or the castle there is a wider mix of people and ages so thats why i think it would be good for her to see how things are done elsewhere and as our local wall is pretty small to see the expanse of one of the bigger walls.
Long before she saw a wall I figured I had a choice, put the fear of god into her to stop her or understand that up was the same to her as across was to every other kid. She has all the silly accidents any 4yr old does, grazed knees, bumped heads, but as yet she has remained as she started, once off the ground she pays attention, if she's scares herself she asks for help - or to be 'spotted'. All her dumb accidents, not one of them has been from when she was up high. I get told constantly that she has no fear and that's rubbish, she knows when she on the edge, it's just her limit is set differently, when she's at her own limit she as nervous as any other child, she still wants to master it but does want the security of rope or a spotter.
...my daughter quickly out grew soft play at about 5 but there was a mini climbing wall in the soft play she loved, so I asked if she fancied having a go at proper climbing and we went bouldering -decided not to confuse her with ropes just yet- we went to climb Newcastle as they have a rock stars class and she loved it. At that age it was mostly games around climbing and learning to do things safely and having fun. Once she'd been there a while she was pushed up early into the junior academy and has now been going there over a year.
Again, she is like your little one, still a little small / young compared to some but still loves going, most in her class are older boys but recently shes made friends with another girl who got promoted out of the rock stars. I know they climb a bit, play a bit -after all they are still kids- BUT she still climbs and loves the club. I dont want to push her to hard and put her off and also dont want to burn her out.
It also means i can climb while the class is on. :o)
She's 8 now and still going strong, she got her own rock shoes as part of her birthday present this year. Better than hiring them! We even did a week in Font in the summer, again a mix of climbing and exploring and just having a break.
This Xmas I am actually looking to get some indoor climbing shorts made for her as a xmas present. Sometimes her other cheap baggies just dont stretch enough. We searched and there is very little readily available for kids, so I thought I'd make some in some generic sizes and for her and her friend at climbing. Let me know if you're daughter fancies being a guinea pig/tester... I'm going to try and at least make them a girly colour. ;o) It might go nowhere, but at least it'll be climb specific shorts and all i want is feedback regularly and ideas.
In my own experience my daughter hasnt minded being the only girl or not having a girl instructor, she is a bit of a tom boy! But she did like it when the instructor was a girl and got on well with her plus having a girlie friend does help a little. Maybe there is another cli,bing club locally at another wall? Maybe worth a call to them to talk it over if there is.
Email me / PM me if you fancy trying the shorts out. I'm buying material tomorrow if i can find the right mix. Hoping to find a really deep pink! My daughters preference! lol.
I will try the depot out, I only have Fridays off work in the week, sods law that won't be one of the kid days - but at least it's 50 50!
Meh! I've lost all the responses now I'm in reply! Anyhoo, re shorts, munchkin climbs in stretch jeans at the minute, as she resorts to almost any body part when needed they give her a little bit of protection and it doesn't look like they restrict what she's doing. Small gear is an issue though. Munch has a pair of stickies by Mammut but they don't make them that small anymore. She got them largely because she rarely bothers with toys and they were on ebay cheap, she droooooooled, I buckled, they arrived and have been put to excellent use. They're getting too small but as she's a clarks infant size 8 I've been stuck to find replacements. She says if she has to wear pumps its ok but I think she's holding out for Santa to perform a miracle!
I'm wandering about an e-club? Munchkin loves watching youtube stuff and, if memory serves, they're around the age when pen pals used to be popular? Even if it was on a screen, so far mine has seen 7 and 8 yr old boys really going for it but not a soul her age or a female under 12 that's REALLY into it.
As others have said, my munchkin loves to play too, she switches from 4yr old laying on the crash mats to super mini then back to being oh so 4. I think the difference is that she gets ideas for what she wants to climb - like overhangs and then commits 100% to getting it nailed, that's where she doesn't have company.
If you climb at Nottingham Wall there is an advert for a female coach on the notice board.
Whether she wants or has the skills to coach a 4 YO is another question (I have no idea, but coaching 4YOs seems to be more like being a party entertainer than a coach, I'm not sure I'd enjoy it and I wouldn't be offended if she said she didn't do really young kids).
If you take friends down can't they do any colour (rainbow) whilst yours sticks to routes?
The Group room at Nottingham is seriously under utilised by parents. With a bit of invention you could do three hours in there and teach a lot of really useful skills, some that you couldn't teach elsewhere plus it's not chalky. It's very also easy to do mixed ability stuff in it, if your child had a friend who came too.
My kid would love a kid's entertainer, just not to teach her climbing, for that she's taken best to anyone that takes her seriously and there is enough to take seriously.
She's got lots of friends but has never asked for them to go climbing with her. She's had a lifetime of going up stuff in the playground and discovering they don't want to. None of her friends have ever even tried to join her vertically.
I was going to take my 4 year old girl last week but the timing was off and I didn't get a chance. Will definately be starting her this year though. Northampton wall have said she'll be fine bouldering with me, I've just gotta make sure i go in a pair to have someone with her if I wanna go up something too.
I hadn't really considered whether she'd have any buddies while doing it. We're lucky in that she is part of a group of same age kids, where I already climb with a couple of the dads. We do plan to take them but I'm pretty sure it'll only be boys that go with her. Shouldn't be a problem though, she tends to be one of the boys at the minute anyway.
Has she done the traversing wall blindfold?
Has she got undressed/dressed to practice bridging?
Balance work on the slab?
There are a lot of technique and movement skills to teach without actually doing any climbing, it's good because you can give their arms a rest, vary the routine etc. In fact I think the received wisdom would be that it's these skills that are more important so they don't develop bad habits that are difficult to shake off.
Climbing Games is the book everyone recommends to get an idea, it's okay and if nothing else gives a few ideas to adjust to your own needs.
as someone else mentioned, check out the Climbing Station in Loughborough - plenty of kids of all ages there last saturday. I have three daughters and a son and they all love it doen there (my eldest daughters are 15 now, and have been climbing for ten years or so).
That's amazing - although I am sure I saw a few cheating handholds. Looking forward to taking my soon-to-be 3 year old son climbing outside next summer.
To the OP. Just be encouraging and try to disperse any ideas that climbing is a male only thing todo. Can you don't do it as a father and daughter activity rather than with her mates to start with and then introduce other kids later on?
I think that might be tricky as she says she's the mum ;-)
But, yes, I have a just 4 year old climbing monkey here. Haven't taken him to the wall yet (not terribly small kid friendly (and he's not over keen on wearing a harness), but he's been bouldering in Font from before he could walk. And climbs everything in site, even if it wasn't made for climbing. Definitely more driven to climb than his 7 year old brother, though he's also a fair monkey.
This is like a memory test! I'll keep an eye out for climbing games, she hasn't done any of that stuff and to be fair I would never have thought of it being a bit naff myself.
I'm wary of being a pushy mum. This is hobby number 4 and the one she had to wait for till she would fit a harness. She goes once or twice a week but once there if she plays rather than climbs that's fine with me, as long as she's safe and considerate. If she goes off it that's fine too, but part of me would be sad if she went off it because she thought it wasn't for girls or never got the fun we adults get watching and climbing with peers. I think I care more about her not having other kids to share the interest with than her learning new moves, or believing girls can do stuff rather than wanting it always to be her doing it.
I saw the ad for the woman coach and it looked really pro. I think. Mr. Tumble wannabe would drive her screwey but she just needs someone genuinely into it rather than an ex champ perso al trainer. That said, I might save for a lesson and see what she's like and if she's down to earth then as a one off munch would still love it.
It's hard to find the right balance, I think it's all a bit about muddling through.
Sorry have not read all the posts so some one may have mentioned this!
I did a CWA training for two 17year old girls who work at Alter Rock. Is that remember or Nott's. Might be worth seeing if they are still there? Sorry can't remember their names and details.
If you can get to Brum I think Redpoint has more female climbing instructors than male. It's certainly close - as it should be.
Here's my 4y/o
Big rock on milton keynes has loads of Female instructors which I think helps . Seren cant get enough of climbing and when she was in a group recently of ages 4-6's she was the 2nd youngest and 2nd best of the climbers the boy who was better was nearly 7. It's great when you can encourage them in something they love.
My daughter Daisy is 3 in Feb next year and she really wants to go climbing after looking at a few videos and seeing all my fots of me and my mates. So we went to 3 of our local walls so she could watch and I could enrol us both.
Gutted, not one of them would let a child under 4 go on the wall and not one of them could give me a reasonable answer as to why. "It is because it is written in the wall rules" no reason as to why someone has come up with that specific age either. Fair enough if it was insurance, H and S, but not one member of staff could tell me why.
If you looking for shoes these are good enough for 4 YOs. Be warned though, once she makes the move up to proper shoes she won't go back and they will last 6 months if you're lucky.
These are probably the best but try to get them somewhere cheap.
She's lovin' it! You're production's a bit better than mine, no music 'cept what's on at the wall and gobby mum telling her dad to spot her! I'll see if I can figure out a link from my phone.
flopsicle, are you picking up PMs? Sent you a message.
BTW, she's not climbing for sweets, she has her own chalk but likes a tiny bit put on the last hold, as she has a bag full don't ask me why, not got a clue!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19fUgAaLbxk - hope it works...
I think we got lucky with big rock and living in Milton Keynes Their big sister wall The beacon in wales now has little rockers for 3 years upwards too but I agree that not many walls allow it we were looking all over the place for other options when we are away at grandma's but not to be. I think the walls just have a policy and stick to it I suspect only the manager would be able to say if it was for insurance or not.
> My daughter Daisy is 3 in Feb next year and she really wants to go climbing ...
Get a kiddy's full body harness and a helmet (a bike helmet will do as she'll be on a top rope) and take her outdoors, there's no age limit there. Beaches with boulders are great, but then I'm a bit spoilt living in Cornwall.
> Get a kiddy's full body harness and a helmet (a bike helmet will do as she'll be on a top rope) and take her outdoors, there's no age limit there.
Thats how Seren started with her experienced uncle. We got the Picchu helmet once we knew she was going to climb regularly and to save on hire costs.
Hi, I know for a fact that there are two newly appointed female climbing instructors working at Alter Rock in Derby.
They are both young ladies who have been climbing with us from a young age and aside from being very competent instructors, they are also very capable climbers!!
The website is;
I'm sure they would love to help, maybe give them a call?
YHM - I can offer just 4 & just 7 year old boys!
I don't know if it's where I live, that she's smallish for her age or what but outside of going to the wall the reaction to her climbing has been far from positive. Locally people have got to know her and where it used to be quite in our face; parents trying to 'rescue' her, A dad who shouted at his son for not climbing what Frey climbed, another Dad who said to me it encouraged other kids to do stuff that isn't safe, the fact that her friends just walk away when she climbs, a boy who told her she wasn't a girl, countless other kids telling her she isn't allowed because she's too young. I've developed the hide of a rhino, at one point frey stopped climbing altogether unless she was on her own in a park, even worse she pretended she couldn't do stuff she'd been doing for months with ease (unless alone!).
None of the above has been for scaling walls, nothing weird, it's been for climbing climbing frames in playgrounds!
More recently one mum told her daughter not to try what Munchkin does because she's 'different' and since she's made public that she goes climbing now it's a little more accepted as 'she has lessons' (which she doesn't really).
The other thing that's said nigh on constantly is that she's fearless and that's total rubbish. I watch her, she is as aware as any other kid when she's well within her limits and reacts completely normally when on the edge of her ability, low down she just hesitates, higher up she asks for help PDQ! She has more near misses doing stuff within normal age range because she's breezing it and away with the fairies, when she's stretching herself she pays attention, asks for protection etc.
She juggles climbing and being social, I'm glad she lets being social win, I think she's a smart cookie and non conformism, while great, should be for an age where she appreciates the costs and still chooses it in her own right, for her own reasons. Right now, as much as she loves to climb it isn't worth the cost to her when she's forced to choose between it and friendship. Even a little glimmer that both could be on offer and she's like a moth to a flame, blatantly, explicitly and a little desperately - how do I not feel that with her? That's why I did it again but I'm her Mum, and for some stuff, Mum's don't count, at least not the same way.
My daughter Abbie has been totally obsessed with climbing indoor and outdoor since 6 - now 11. Even has a UKC account to log her climbs - that includes outdoor leads and keeps her own blog - although not added much recently! She climbs 3 times a week - getting withdrawal symptoms if she doesn't.
She has made many friends through climbing but has also had to tone down how much she talks about it at school - especially now she has moved to secondary school. She has found other climbers especially the female ones at the wall a great support.
At Nottingham you have some very good young female climbers – some in the Junior British Team they are normally very supportive of superb mini-climbers.
My daughter is turning 5 this Sunday. She is very into climbing and already onto her 3rd pair of rock boots. She has been to Font lots and loves it there. She was even doing little climbs there in teeny Scarpas when she was 2!
I've been taking her to the Castle for a few years now but in the last month or 2 the flame has ignited in her big time and her indoor climbing is improving in leaps and bounds. Last sunday she climbed for 2 hours straight! Inbewteen doing routes she was bouldering and hanging off the bottom rung of the campus board (sets of 5 she said). She is tall (and heavy!) for her age but what she lacks in strength she makes up with technique. She mantels, smears, foot swaps on little footholds, it's ace to watch. :-)
I'm sure she'd love to climb with other kids her age rather than just me. The other day she met an older boy who was climbing one of the tall upstairs vertical top ropes at the Castle. I'd never have suggested it but she had a go after him and climbed to the top.
I take her once a week. I use to get to climb too when we went together. Not any more!
Alex Waterhouse - AKA Tiny Climb chalk bag company makes fun bags - can get direct or on ebay. The mid length yeti are shiney - not glittery - search on ebay (can't put link as UKC thinks I'm trying to advertise my ebay auction - not mine just trying to give example)
Pitch make fun bags but none they have are glittery either.
plenty of of the other parents/kids at the wall have made their own as they couldn't get what they wanted.
this is her age 3 and a bit btw
great thanks for the link
We solved the shoes problem, I think I found the last pair of mammot minifant's in her size. That's what she wears now and the pair 2 sizes up arrived this morning - yay!
The wall at nottingham is kid friendly and I know they have lots of junior members. The staff there have been lovely with munchkin too. I think it's a good place for her to be and hopefully over time she will get more contact with other young people and other minis. It does help to know other people are out there and have been down the same route, not to mention being willing to help.
I have a 4 year old boy who enjoys climbing and I also use the Nottingham climbing centre and know a few people down there. In particular I know a couple of the girls who climb there and are good and could be up for a bit of coaching if you want me to ask. One girl I was thinking about is 17 and climbs there all of the time and keen as mustard. Let me know if you want me to ask her if she is interested in some coaching. Are there any noughts in particular you go climbing?
She needed kids, and an instructor to say well done instead of just mum! She might still quit when they finish but at least if she does I'll know it's 'cos she's 4 or just because, not from being lonely.
Watch this space I may take up offers if she fancies carring on.
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