As a child growing up in London, I remember regularly climbing trees in Richmond Park as well as in our own garden. I’d climb the beautiful Eucalyptus tree at the edge of the garden with my sisters, as well as my favourite baby doll Rupert.
Oddly once we moved to the countryside at the age of 10, I rarely climbed trees; now, living in the middle of the woods I often watch my husband climbing trees with all his tree climbing kit, assessing their health and often trimming limbs out. My daughter, loves to get up into the trees and sit on a perch with her dolls.
Watching them both climb trees, the benefits of climbing trees are clear to see:
Brings you closer to nature
Climbing a tree brings you into direct contact with nature; you can learn so much about nature in a tree. When we are out in nature and actively involved in the natural environment around you, all the senses are put into action, sight, sound, smell and touch.
Developing strength and coordination
My husband is amazing at climbing trees, he has absolutely no fear of heights and as I said above, often climbs trees here to maintain their health, as he works his way up the tree, you can see how strong and coordinated he is and it is the same when my daughter climbs a tree. Climbing a tree is a brilliant way for little ones to experiment how they fit into spaces within the natural environment, as well as working out how to move around a tree and along branches. Climbing a tree can be hard work depending on the tree of choice, simply coordinating your arms and legs while reaching out for the next branch to hold onto can be a lot of work, not just for little ones, but also adults who climb too, so tree climbing is a fabulous way to develop strength and coordination, whether you are young, or old!
As I mentioned in my own experience as a child climbing trees, I would only ever climb when my sisters were about. We would climb and sit on branches chatting away, not to mention, with someone on the ground below helping to point out where the next foot hole or branch to reach for is meant that there was always a fun human interaction element to climbing trees due to the teamwork and play involved in getting to a branch to sit on.
Sparking the Imagination
In Richmond Park and in our garden as a child I would often pretend I was riding a horse while I was up a tree! When my daughter is up a tree, her imagination just runs completely wild, whether she is a ‘bird building a nest for her chicks’, or standing on the mast of a tall ship, climbing trees sparks the imagination and can take you absolutely anywhere!
A Tactile Experience
Just touching the different textures of a tree is a fabulous tactile experience; every tree is different, the bark on a silver birch is completely different to the bark on a Wellingtonia, the same can be said for the leaves and fruit they produce. Leaves and fruit come in all different shapes, sizes and textures, we often collect leaves and fruit from trees to examine all the different textures for some home learning.
Trees provide a rich tactile experience for children as well as adults. I mentioned the senses earlier and this comes into the tactile experience too as each tree not only feels and looks different, but they smell different too, a eucalyptus, a pine, an oak… they all smell different, so climbing trees is brimming with tactile experiences.
Creative Thinking & Problem Solving
While navigating from branch to branch, climbing trees inspires us to think ahead, working out the best route through the tree and then working out the safest way to climb back down. All these elements develop creative thinking and problem solving.
Climbing and conquering a big tree builds confidence and self-esteem as there is a huge sense of accomplishment and pride that goes along with climbing a tree. The wonderful confidence boost that a child, as well as an adult gets from conquering a difficult tree is a great feeling.
In this modern world that we live in, we somehow seem to lost our ability to simply stop and take in the environment and spaces around us. Simply looking up or being up high in a tree and looking down at the world from a completely different angle can be so empowering and completely change our perspective.
Extending Attention Spans
Climbing a tree takes time and has a calming effect which allows us to focus and extend periods of concentration, this enables us to really develop attention spans compared to the rapid changes on electronic entertainment on iPads, screen time and time spent in front of the TV.
All the points mentioned above, don’t just apply to children; although my fear of heights doesn’t allow me to climb the dizzy heights of the eucalyptus of my childhood, I will often scale a tree or clamber over a (safe!) fallen tree for fun and to adjust my focus and change my perspective.
// FEATURED //
WoolOvers AW17 – Womens Cashmere and Merino Chunky V Neck Jumper in Dark Teal. This fantastic, wool jumper is super-soft, fantastically fine-feeling and wonderfully superb. The V-neck detailing is flattering and it’s chunky-knit texture so soft to touch; made from 20% Cashmere, 80% Merino yarn balance, this is a jumper you wear time and time again, so don’t waste time thinking about what to wear, reach for this Womens Cashmere and Merino Chunky V Neck Jumper.
Blundstone – Unique boots from Tasmania. Ideal for all the family and can take you almost anywhere and do almost anything. Blundstone are an everyday companion, constructed for comfort and performance classically shaped in a versatile Chelsea Boot style.
Please Note: I have not been paid for this post or the products mentioned. All thoughts and opinions are my own.