5 Tips for Climbing With Kids

Shoes, check. Harness, check. Water, check. Boppy? Toys? Snacks? Do we have enough snacks?

Climbing without kids is enough of an endeavor most days, but imagine packing your toddlers up too! For some this can feel like an insurmountable barrier. But, it can be done as evidenced by the unsung heroes who head out with toddlers in tow. What does it take to have successful days outside with your family?

In a nutshell, it takes some pre-planning, snacks and an element of surprise to keep your kiddos stoked for a day of cragging. My husband and I are self-proclaimed professionals at taking kids out climbing. We don’t let it hold us back one bit. One of our biggest parenting philosophies is that our kids become part of our world, not the other way around.

Step 1: Pack snacks for climbing with kids

  • Aim for wholesome, nutrient-dense snacks. You don’t won’t your kiddo having a sugar crash an hour into your day. Save the sweets for Step 3 (an element of surprise). If your kid is nutritiously fed and adequately fueled they will be in a positive state of mind.
  • Bring a lot of snacks and have a lot of options. Snacks need to feel like a surprise. A what did you bring for me today? type of vibe.
  • Consider the elements. The heat, humidity, cold and other weather conditions will require your little one to eat and drink more. Pack fluids that match the weather. In colder months, bring warm tea or cocoa. In hotter weather, pack some iced water or lemonade. If their needs are met, they won’t mind a little bit of nature’s wrath.

Step 2: Bring toys

You don’t need to pack a separate duffel, but plan to bring a toy or two. Like snacks, vary the toys you bring each time. They may gravitate to sticks and rocks, but keep the toy selection fresh. This adds to the surprise element of the day.

Step 3: Have an element of surprise (for when they fall apart)

There will be a point in the day where your kid falls apart. That is just natural law. It is at this point that you have to pull the rabbit out of the hat. Hide a sweet treat, new toy, or other desirable item in your bag and pull it out right when you need it most. This can buy you an extra hour or more of climbing time.

Step 4: Make sure your kid is comfy while climbing

Comfort is key to spending hours outside. Have blankets, a pillow or a chair available for your kid to rest on when they are tired. Mini crash pads are great for this. Kids might also use the blankets to build forts (added bonus).

Step 5: Allot time just for your kids

Plan an experience as part of the day that is just for your kid. Build a sweet fort, construct rock towers or read a book… For our son, we put up some epic swings. We harness him up and send him flying. He looks forward to it everytime and it is the part of the day that is all about him. What can you do for even 30 minutes that is all about your kid?

It is possible to keep climbing with your kids. In fact, climbing is one way to develop a love for nature at an early age. If your kids are comfortable and well-fed, that’s half the battle. Burst through those witching hours with an element of surprise.  If each climbing trip feels unique in some way, they won’t sigh at the thought of heading out for yet another day of climbing.

This article was written by Kaila Dickey.

Kaila and her family on a climbing adventure with lots of snacks

~This is general information only and not personalized advice. Each child and family is different. Be sure to follow all safety rules.

Want to learn more? Check out our on-demand masterclass Nutrition for Climbers, or our book Nutrition for Climbers: Fuel for the Send.