Have you ever noticed that as they get closer to 18 months of age, children start to climb everything? We sure did in our classroom! As our infants transition to toddlers, they go from crawling, wobbly-walking to climbing the tables, shelves and chairs. The action of climbing is actually an important stage in development of gross motor skills where they can increase their upper and lower body strength by learning to control and balance their limbs. At the same time, fine motor skills develop as they try to grip and grasp the objects they are attempting to climb on. During this time period children start to gain more control of their body movements and mentally explore boundaries. They start to be aware of the risks and feel climbing is a thrilling thing to do. They develop their problem-solving skills when they fail or almost fall and have to think of a new strategy for the following time.
Until now the children have been used to looking down, but as they stand and start climbing, their point of view changes, and they now look above ground level. Climbing is an excellent activity for children wishing to behave actively. It’s great to take them outside for some freedom to explore or buy safe climbing equipment and toys such as pillows and soft materials the children can stack up and climb on. We have found that some children really need to have that big muscle play, and if an area is not made available for them to safely climb, then the children will create their own, often unsafe areas. At Mongio we try to provide such climbing areas in all of our rooms as well as playgrounds, to foster the children’s development and answer their physical needs.
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