Every child should be able to climb a tree, right?
Sometimes, it’s not that easy for children to try something new if they are nervous about their surroundings or aren’t physically confident. I have a child who loves nature but no amount of gentle encouragement from me could get her trying to climb a tree. As you’ll read, if you let your child play in nature and add in some confident friends, that refusal to climb may just change!
The best thing I did last week was to let my children just be in nature rather than head off on our usual bush walk. The neighbour’s children joined us too (possibly due to all three girls loudly bellowing like a koala in the bush). The most lovely thing happened. The boys from next door started climbing trees. Soon, everyone wanted to climb trees (even my not-so-keen-on-climbing six year old was interested).
How the boys taught tree climbing
- They were unknowingly making tree climbing look like so much fun
- They were modeling how to climb trees
- They were teaching the girls where to place their feet
- They used encouraging words
- They helped them when they needed help
The boys were natural teachers and without much prompting my three year old girls were confidently giving it all they had.
I was completely shocked when Miss Possum gave it a go. She struggled but to my delight she kept trying. Soon, Miss Possum was trying to climb everything. It was just so wonderful to see her face once she’d finally achieved the goal of getting to the top of a tree.
I never expected that climbing a tree would need to be taught but it was most certainly the case for Miss Possum. Had I tried to force her to climb a tree, she wouldn’t have done it. Letting her play in nature with her friends was the perfect way to make her more confident with her natural surroundings and try something new.
I want to allow my children more time of unstructured play in the bush to experiment with nature, make their own fun in nature and fall in love with nature. I’ll be asking the neighbor’s children to join us for more nature play too!
Have you given your children unstructured time in nature lately? Are your children confident tree climbers?