It's true: children belong in trees!
No, I'm not calling children little monkeys :o and saying we should start building them tree houses (although tree houses would be great!). What I am saying is that children benefit greatly from climbing trees.
11 Great Reasons for Climbing Trees:
No. 1: Curiosity
Children are naturally curious about the world around them. By climbing trees, they are exposed to the natural environment which is jam-packed with new things to discover: camoflauged bugs, sticky sap, beautiful leaves, insects, birds and more.
No. 2: Creative Thinking
Climbing trees encourages children to think of different ways to climb from one spot to another which of course leads to ...
No. 3: Problem Solving
... which is especially needed when climbing down! If your child is like mine, this is when you'll hear the "Mummmmmmmmy!" call. :o
No. 4: Social Interaction
Many has been the time when I've witnessed a group of children sitting in a tree talking. There's something special about being on your own perch and talking with the birds ... I mean ... the kids on the next branch. It takes a lot of cooperation for everyone to find a spot in the tree as they squeeze and manoeuvre into various positions. Great fun!
No. 5:Coordination and Strength
It goes without saying that climbing trees can be hard work. It's not easy to coordinate arms and legs while stretching for foot and hand holds. Tree climbing is a terrific way to develop coordination and strength.
No. 6: Confidence and Self-Esteem
... is boosted when children manage to climb a tree which has proven to be difficult! What a wonderful feeling it is to have 'conquered' the tree!
No. 7: Extended Attention Spans
It takes time to climb a tree. Unlike the fast world of computers and electronic games, the natural environment, in which trees are found, has a calming effect which fosters extended periods of concentration.
No. 8: Different Perspectives
When you think about it, children spend their life looking up as they're generally shorter than the adults around them. Climbing trees puts children in a physical space that allows them to look at the world from a different angle! This can be very empowering.
No. 9: Tactile Experiences
Different trees provide rich tactile experiences for children. For example, a paper bark tree feels completely different to a hard wood tree. Leaves come in different shapes, sizes and textures. And then there's the different smells of trees. Yes, trees are treasure troves of tactile experiences.
No. 10: Spatial Awareness
Climbing trees is a great way for children to experiment how their body fits into spaces within their environment. This is especially true as children work out how to move around and through branches.
No. 11: Natural Exploration
There is so much we can learn from nature. When children are out in nature, actively involved in the natural environment, they will make discovers which involve all their senses - sight, sound, touch, smell and taste (especially if they're climbing an apple tree!).
Talking about nature, have you seen the preview for our new book, A Plucky Australian Platypus, which is soon to be released? Platypus, a unique Australian creature, has a different view about how he should act in his natural environment!
While it's true that tree climbing is potentially dangerous, adult supervision can help to minimise the risks. The benefits of tree climbing are substantial. So go on. Enjoy some trees today! Have fun!
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