A few years back I was trying to think of sports or activities to enroll my then 5-year-old son into. He showed no interest in any team sports like soccer, hockey, baseball, etc. I started to ponder snowboarding, but the season here is so short and there are no mountains in Michigan! One of my co-workers suggested rock climbing. He said it was a way more affordable than snowboarding and could be done year around. I signed my son up for some classes at our local rock gym and he loved it! He was a monkey, and I find most children are natural climbers.
As part of the package I received a belay lesson so I could belay him. My gym offers free gear rentals to kids enrolled into classes and allows all family members free day passes and gear rentals when accompanying the child enrolled. This makes it a pretty affordable hobby, especially for a single mom, like me.
At first, I didn’t have much of an interest myself, but of course I wanted to spend time with my son and be a part of this experience, so I invested in gear for both of us. I was a casual climber for the first year. However, the following summer, when both my children were on vacation with their dad for two weeks, as an effort to fill up the excess of free time I wasn’t used to having, I began climbing with some of my friends at the gym. And that was it. Suddenly it clicked, and I got it. Within weeks I started driving down to the Red River Gorge with my friends to climb there.
Ironically, my son’s love for it lessened some, but he still enjoys it time to time. I did have a bouldering wall installed in his bedroom, which is so awesome! And I took him and my daughter on their first outdoor climbing trip this past summer, which they loved!
Jack crushin' it on his rock wall
Rock climbing is great activity because it not only strengthens kids’ bodies, but also their minds. It is a very cognitive sport that requires a balance of mental focus and thinking. I’m not a doctor, but I would image it would be great for kids with ADHT or Tactile Defensiveness because of body/mind integration. Or in the very least, a remedy for cabin fever when the weather does turn.
Krysia Hepatica is a mother, climber and all-around adventure seeker. She has been dabbling in existentialist thought and positive thinking for the last few years and has been quite happy that the results are that she gets to create the life she has always dreamed of. Krysia strives to be laconic in her writing because of her own short attention span, and her favorite tip on how to pronounce her name, as suggested by a fellow climber, is that it sounds like “Chris Sharma” without the “rma”. You can read more about her adventure at venturesome krysia or follow her on Twitter @ventrsomekrysia.