Benefits of Climbing Slides {Outdoor Play Party}

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pin It
kids climbing slides

Parents allowing their children to climb UP slides is one of those controversial parenting issues.  If you let your kid go up the slide, you don't control your child enough and pose a safety risk.  And those who prohibit slide climbing are helicopter parents who don't let their kids have any fun.

I used to be against slide climbing.  When my oldest daughter was two, she was knocked off a slide by a child climbing up the slide as she was coming down it.  She broke her arm.  I was shaken for a long time, and this confirmed my negative view of slide climbing.

Fast forward a couple years, and I learned that slide climbing was positive for a child's sensory development.  I questioned my stance, and I am now in favor of children being allowed to climb slides.

Benefits of Kids Climbing Slides

  • Provides a Heavy Work Sensory Experience (Proprioceptive Input) - A child pulling herself up a slide is a sensory experience that can increase attention and body awareness.  
  • Allows a child to learn that rules can change based on different factors.  In real life, rules don't always stay the same and aren't always black and white.  For example, teaching a child that slide climbing is only allowed when the park isn't crowded is a conditional rule or a babysitter might not allow it, and the child needs to listen to the adult in charge.  
  • Gives the child the opportunity to learn courtesy.  It is polite if a child allows the children sliding down to go first before climbing up the slide.  
  • Accommodates for the well being of other children by explaining to your child that slide climbing shouldn't happen if there are lots of younger children who aren't as skilled and independent on the slide.  This makes them aware of the needs of other kids.  
  • Contributes to building their creativity by allowing them to physically experience that objects can be used in different ways.   
So what is your stance on slide climbing?  

And, now, I am back again to host the Outdoor Play Party.  How have your kids been playing outdoors?  Please share your blog posts of outdoor play in the linky party below. 

37 comments:

Trisha @ Inspiration Laboratories said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love all of the benefits of slide climbing you have listed. I let my son climb up the slide when other kids aren't trying to slide down. When I worked at an afterschool program, we had a no climbing up the slide rule for safety and because the playground was fairly crowded.

pricklymom said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I do, and I let them do a lot of things other moms don't let their kids do--like go outside barefoot, encourage them to climb trees, climb on the furniture (with restrictions), etc.

I'm certainly not promoting recklessness or stupidity. There are always parameters. However, a core value of mine is that fear is a crippling thing, and I DO NOT want my boys to be ruled by fear. That's very important to me as a mother.

Caroline - De tout et de rien said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I let my kids climb up slides in my backyard, but not in public playgrounds. The reason is that lots of parents are not looking what they're kids are doing. Even worst, how many times my son was waiting at the top of the slide to be able to slide but had to wait for a child that was climbing up, his or her parents looking at their child.... I know, it is not everybody that does that, but in public, I prefer my kids not to do it. :-)

Rebekah said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Caroline - De tout et de rien
Isn't it frustrating when kids don't allow the sliders to go down first. I really try to be mindful of my children only going up if there is no one wanting to go down. Thankfully, we use parks with lots of slides so there is usually always a slide that is free to climb. =) It's great you have a slide in your backyard. A small playset is on my wish list for the kids.

Rebekah said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@pricklymom
We go barefoot outside too! =) Raising brave kids certainly starts with the parents' attitudes and it sounds like you have the right one.

Rebekah said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Trisha @ Inspiration Laboratories
I completely understand rules like that in settings with large groups of kids especially when they are not your own. For example, my daughter was playing outside at the gym daycare, and she got in trouble for playing with mulch. Now, I allow my daughter to play with mulch but if others watching her want to make a no mulch rule she has to follow those rules.

Kierna C said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

How funny, I was commenting on your post & you had just commented on mine!! I think the bottle babies can only enhance your outdoor space. I think you are very open minded considering the broken arm incident. I did an outdoor play post on climbing up the slide once too, loving all the great ideas being shared. Kierna

mudpiesandfireflies said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

My boys are slide climbers too - for all of the reasons you mentioned! They feel very proud once they are able to climb a slide that they previously had difficulty with. They are only allowed to do it when no other children are using the slide.

-Melissa

Sandi Purdell-Lewis said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I let my kindergarten kids climb up the slides at school. But only when it is just our class out with me supervising - not the entire school. They learn to negotiate, take turns, self regulate, as well as the heavy work and muscle power needed to climb the slide. And the feeling of accomplishment of conquering a new height.

sandi

Sarah Scherrer said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Interesting...We just encountered this tonight at the park, and when I ran my own preschool it was an issue, too. I agree with your point, to a degree. Tonight I allowed my daughter to climb up the slides because it wasn't crowded and there were some helicopter parents around. But when I ran my own school and I was the only adult on the playground I never allowed it--in fact it drove me crazy! Two siblings who were my students were not good about understanding basic safety rules and various issues with them added too much to a feeling of chaos. I kept repeating "Up the ramp, down the slide!"
Thanks for a thought-provoking post!

Rebekah said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Sarah Scherrer I think that rules can be different in school and family settings, and that's okay. Actually, I am okay that parents have a no climbing rule too, but I thought I would provide food for thought for those who may be open to changing their point of view. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective as a teacher and a parent, Sarah.

Rebekah said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Sandi Purdell-Lewis A sense of accomplishment is a good reason to climb slides too! Great you let your students do this!

Garden Tenders/Kim said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I only stop my 5 yr old when other kids around. Now I will tell those parents that seem to think I have no control, that there is INDEED benefits! and they can go eat rotten eggs. :-)

Rebekah said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Garden Tenders/Kim LOL!

Rebekah said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Garden Tenders/Kim LOL!

Amanda @RusticRemnants said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Climbing is fine at home or if they are the only kids at the playground. But when my kids can't slide because of kids that keep climbing up it gets frustrating.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I let my daughters climb up, because it strengthens their arms and backs and helps their balance - and because they like doing it! But then I grew up in the 70s and want them to experience as much of the freedom I enjoyed so much back then. So they climb trees, run barefoot all the time, get VERY dirty etc. They know they can't climb up the slide, if the playground is busy and that worked very well so far. I had no idea it was such a contested issue. Thanks for making me aware of that!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I don't mind if kids are alloed to go up the slides HOWEVER, that is only if they are respectful of others at the playground. And quite frankly the playgrounds we have been to the kids were wild and parents aren't watching teir kids or teaching simple maners. I guess some people here may perceive me as a helicopter parent because I try to teach my kid "up the ladder, down the slide" but when a playground is full of kids ranging from 2 to 10+ someone is going to get hurt when the bigger kids are running rampant and pushng little kids out of the way. Last week we took my 2 year old to a new playground. he climbed up the stairs to a slide that is a covered tunnel. There were big kids climbing up and big kids cutting in line and sqhjuishing him in the middle. That just is not right. Get a hold of your children and teach them basic manners. I know kids will be kids but come on people.

Rebekah said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Anonymous In the situation you describe, I completely agree with you that slide climbing shouldn't happen. If the kids haven't learned courtesy, it is the parent's responsibility to teach them it so everyone can have a good time at the park. I would be nervous too with slide climbing in a wild situation. Thank you for sharing your point of view. It is always appreciated.

Rebekah said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Anonymous It seems almost anything can be turned into a hot button issue with parenting. ;) It sounds like your kids are having a a great time!

Rebekah said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Amanda @RusticRemnants I agree that is frustrating.

June @ Coffee Under The Umbrella said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Agreed. Used to be against it, then saw that wow - some parents actually DO regulate their kids! I'm fine with parameters, as you and basically everyone else here has said, and understanding that rules have flexibility. Thanks for this.

Evin said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

My kids are slide-climbers -- my little rebels - so we stick to quiet playgrounds with just a few other kids - I hate busy playgrounds anyway so it works for us. When it gets too busy we just go play someplace else. My girls are 3 and 18 mos and we talk about manners and such, of course, but I love their rebellious stubborn streaks so much, I hate to quash it! Girls like that get stuff done ;)

Christie Pleasants Photography said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I disagree that its impact is developmentally beneficial to a child. I think changing rules can confuse a child or lead to manipulation. There are plenty of things a child can climb and plenty of ways a child can learn to use objects differently without conflict or risk of danger. I think people should have a balance of common sense and exploratory parenting.

Sybil said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@pricklymom
I feel the same way...I've always let my girls climb up the slide! Now when they climb on top of the tube slide I get some looks from parents, but I know they're safe & not endangering other children. It's pretty amazing to see my little people feeling so strong & empowered!

Ticia said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

When my kids were younger we didn't let them slide because they didn't understand to look out for others but now that they're older we will situationally like you said

KAREN GREEN said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Great post Bek. Allowing children to climb up a
slide is often frowned upon in many Australian early childhood settings. Our children are up and down the slide all the time with no serious injuries yet! I hope I haven't just spoken to soon! :)

jackie @ happy hooligans said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Rebekah, I've been meaning to comment on this post for days! I love it! I'm a huge fan of slide-climbing as well. I hope your post helps to change some minds out there for others who are cautious about this activity. You've pointed out so many wonderful benefits. :)

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I am a T.A. at a public school. No climbing rule is a must for the safety of ALL students. Now rules at school are different from rules at home or rules at church. Children do learn that rules differ from place to place and learn what is expected at each place. Same as rules at home may differ from rules at grandmas. It is all a learning experience.

Jo - Le Baby Bakery said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thanks so much for this post i had never realised that climbing up a slide could be a good thing! I have always said no & disapproved of kids who do so as then my boys want to copy. Only thing is i don't know if they will be able to distinguish when is ok & when is not ... but i guess this is somthing they will need to learn.

Susan Case said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

May I link your photo and post to my ABCs Series of Thrifty Teaching Tools? A park slide is a great tool for motor skills.

Katie @ Gift of Curiosity said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

When my son was in physical therapy for gross motor delays, we used to meet his therapist at the park and she encouraged me to let him climb up the slide in order to help strengthen his muscles. I only let my son climb up when other kids were not trying to climb down, although I'm sure there were other parents who still thought I was nuts. But it was a great strength building activity for my son that capitalized on kids' natural interest in climbing up slides.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

It's fun till they slip and knock a tooth out!

Rebekah said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Anonymous
That is a valid concern but my kids have had more busted lips and falls from walking down the sidewalk than climbing slides. If kids are playing, they are going to get hurt, but that isn't a reason to stop them from playing. If serious permanent or life threatening injuries are possible, then definitely an activity should be avoided. And if a parent is that stressed about climbing slides, they shouldn't let their kids climb slides. That's okay too.

Janine Fowler said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Love this!

ecoincognito said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I was always against reverse-slide climbing because I thought that kids should learn to play the way that you would always want them to play. You bring up a lot of good points about conditional rules, though. I think that we could easily incorporate some of those lessons into our play in the future.

Our Muddy Boots said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

YES! All of those things! We are go up the slide-ers, and my kids do understand when it is appropriate to climb up, and waiting and being polite etc. Thank you for sharing this! I am sharing too :)

Post a Comment