Toddlers are always climbing. From high kitchen shelves to your large wardrobe’s closets, climbing is one of the most exciting and fun things for toddlers. With all the climbing happening in your home, you are always on the lookout to avoid any accidental falls or injuries. So, why not give your child a climbing wall, one they are allowed to climb, and by extension, a safe one.
Unlike our growing days, where we grew up climbing trees, swinging with plant vines, and sliding down steep slopes in huge tire tubes, you have a chance to create more fun and safer option for your toddler. A climbing wall is a simple project that anyone, even one with few skills, can build.
Why build a climbing wall for your toddler? Most parents will have this question. With all the time and effort, they put trying to prevent their kids from climbing, a climbing wall may not sound like a good idea.
Well, it’s best to look at it from these vantage perspectives:
Having a climbing ball is an actual way to keep your child safe while still climbing. A climbing wall for toddlers usually has a safe height, and at the bottom of the climbing wall is a crash mat.
A climbing wall creates a fun indoor activity for your toddlers when you do not want them playing outside.
Having a climbing wall keeps your toddler active and creates a fun way to get them to exercise.
So, are you the parents who try to prevent your toddler from climbing? These are the reasons you should allow your toddler to climb;
Benefits of climbing wall for toddlers
Stamina and Strength build up; for a growing child, Strength and endurance are vital aspects that a parent should consider. Through a proper diet and a fun and challenging activity like wall climbing is all that your child needs
Concentration, patience, and focus build up; kids, together with adults, have much attention demands. Toddlers benefit significantly from activities encouraging concentration and focus. Wall climbing for a toddler is an activity that demonstrates the value of perseverance, determination, and patience and helps them to focus on their goals.
Coordination; Rock climbing’s movement involves agility, so this helps significantly in eye-hand coordination development. Children are continuously changing and growing, and so, it gets challenging for them to coordinate their body and mind as both keep changing very rapidly. Wall climbing helps kids in coordination, thus making growing up more comfortable.
Confidence and Discipline; As toddlers aim to improve their mental and physical skills, they require to deal with complex tasks and try to overcome them. While wall climbing, they get to grow in their abilities and confidence. After attaining this confidence, they can apply it to their every life aspect. Toddlers also learn discipline when they continuously aim to overcome life challenges and better themselves.
Problem-solving skills; toddlers as they grow while wall climbing can face many problems and find a solution to each on themselves. Through wall climbing, the toddler can determine their capability and also their limits. When these toddlers traverse the wall, they are forced to define problems associated with scaling the wall. They are forced to applying their ideas to solve difficult problems.
How can You build your toddler a climbing wall?
Below are steps to follow so as to accomplish this.
Building a climbing wall will require a few supplies and tools. Below is a list of the materials you will need to build a climbing wall.
- Tape measure
- Work gloves
- Work boots
- Chalk line
- Safety goggles
- Three, two by four wood boards (8feet long)
- Wood screws (5 inches)
- Bolt-on climbing holds
- Sanded 3/4 plywood (4 by 8 feet)
- Allen wrench
- Deck screw
- Braided climbing ropes (14 feet)
- Crash mats
Note; purchase screws with nuts just in case your climbing holds comes with none.
The higher your climbing wall, the thicker your crush mats should be.
Step by Step Process to build climbing wall for toddlers:
While working on any project, small or big, planning is a vital and important first step to take. Having a clear image of the result you want should be your first step. So, go to the internet and look at the countless different pictures of a climbing wall made by other people.
After getting the best climbing wall design, the next step should be identifying the place to build it in your house. Safety should be your number one factor when choosing the ideal location for your climbing wall. Your selected area should be;
- Far away from any external electrical wires
- An area with free space
- Easily accessible by you in case of any emergency.
After selecting the ideal place to build your climbing wall, the next step in your planning phase should be drawing your design. Using a paper and a pen, create your preferred design. Your design should include;
- Position and measurement of every climbing hold. (your positioning and measurement should take consideration of your toddler’s height and reach capability)
- The color to paint (remember, this is your toddler climbing wall, so bright colors are preferred)
Removing obstacles in your climbing wall building area is your second step. This is important because of safety reasons. If your selected area has other tools and appliances that may cause harm to your toddler, you should move them.
With the design plan with you, select the best ply woodside to work with. After choosing the best side of the plywood, place it facing the wall. Why? This way, you can draw the chalk marking on the not preferred side and leave the good side clean and neat.
The next thing to do should be dividing your plywood panel from the left side. You should make 6 Divided sections that are eight-inch wide. Do this for both the top and bottom of the plywood. By the end of this step, you should have grid patterns.
4. wood structure making
A wood structure is essential because it protects your drywall from damage. The wood structure is used for reinforcing your wall. You will need a T-nut. Taking the two by four wood board you bought, make box structures. Secure the board-corners using deck screws. You can brace the inner part of your structure by using the remaining boards. This process will involve attaching a single board after two feet. Make sure to secure these boards with deck screws also.
With the help of stud finders, locate your studs in your wall. Screw the frame into these studs making sure the strapping is horizontally overlapping the joints.
5. Installation of climbing holds
Create many equidistant holes on your previously created grid patterns. To do this, you simply drill two or three holes on each intersection.
Since the climbing wall is a fun alternative activity for other activities like riding a bicycle for your toddlers, avoid making it complex and challenging. Positioning the climbing holds ¾ way up your wall will simplify climbing for your toddler.
Insert T-nuts (3/8 inch) in each hole. Next, you need to hammer every T-nut till it flushes with the surface of the plywood. Mounting the climbing holds and the braided ropes, use an Allen wrench to turn the plywood.
6. Install the climbing wall
After successfully mounting your climbing holds, the next and final steps should be mounting the climbing wall. Having our frame and also have identified the stud’s position in our previous steps, place the panel against the frame. Be careful not to put any hold screws over your drywall.
Using a drill, mount your plywood panel to the frame. This will mark the final step in building your toddler’s climbing wall.
For your braided rope, it is important to tie a knot at the carabiner. Tie other few knots along the rope is making sure the knots are equally spaced out.
Adding some beautiful and different colors to the climbing wall will make your finishing appealing to your toddler.
Instead of paint color, adding wallpaper can also work. Put your toddler’s best cartoon character like SpongeBob or your toddler’s favorite superhero character. It is important to first use a textured paint before adding your wallpaper in order to protect your wood.
All this and other art designs should be done before you mount climbing holds.
For the over-concerned parents, here is an advice for calming your nerves;
If you are not okay with your toddler climbing the climbing wall without your supervision follow these steps,
- Drill holes in the outer layer of your crushing
mats where the seam is located.
- Run hooks through the previously drilled holes.
- Put several screw eyes into every wall side.
- Hook the S hooks on the crush mats through the screw eyes.
- This way, the climbing holdings are covered by the crush mats.
This method will make sure that the climbing wall is inaccessible to your toddlers when you are not around.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions on wall climbing for kids;
What should be the approximate weight limit for a climbing wall for toddlers? A climbing wall doesn’t have a set weight limit but I can tell you this; to be safe, your climbing wall should be able to hold an average sized adult.
What are the average dimensions of a climbing wall boards? Here are various dimensions for reference. Bottom right panels should be around 29 “h” by 26 “w”. for the opposite left side wall, the dimensions should be around, 15 “h” by 17 “w”.