The next time your kids are driving you up the proverbial wall, tell them to go — literally — climb the walls instead! They’ll not only get to work off excess energy, but also practise problem-solving skills while increasing strength, endurance, and agility. Best of all, they’ll have fun and build self-confidence on their way to the top. If your littler ones aren’t quite ready to conquer heights just yet, introduce them to bouldering, where horizontal challenges abound. Read on to find out where in Singapore to find either or both bouldering and rock climbing for kids.
But first, let’s check out what went down when our favourite roving reporter Elliott went up the walls at Upwall Climbing last month. His mum, Monica, shares their experience.
Elliott Goes Upwall Climbing
“Having been stuck with home-based activities for almost a year, we were looking forward to finding exciting adventures as we entered Phase 3 with caution. Downtown East has always been our go-to place for activities, so we were super excited to learn that there was a new rock wall climbing place opening there.
Elliott has always been quite a climber and loves to scale the little wall structures at playgrounds. I have seen how it boosts his confidence with every little wall he conquers too. Now that he’s in Primary One, I felt this was a good time to let him try the real thing. After all, I have read so much about the benefits of rock climbing for kids. And on top of all that, it is a lot of fun!
So off we went, Elliott bursting with enthusiasm, to make an appointment for a one-on-one lesson. The staff were very professional and were able to recommend the best climb experience for a first timer. Elliott was paired with instructor Kai.
After the usual COVID-19 safety measures, Kai proceeded to help Elliott find the perfect pair of climbing shoes. He explained that these are really important as suitable shoes offer more power when ‘edging’. That way your feet don’t need to work as hard to navigate the little holds embedded in the wall. For beginners like Elliott, a moderately stiff shoe can also help develop toe muscles and ligaments.
Once Elliott was all geared up, harness and all, Kai gave him a safety briefing. Next up, a series of warm-up exercises. At last, the moment Elliott had been waiting for finally arrived. The lesson started with bouldering, which is free climbing on a horizontal wall. It helps beginners build confidence and learn techniques before trying out the vertical walls.
(See also: Why You Need to Let Your Child Be Bored)
Time to Go Upwall
After spending a bit of time bouldering, they headed to the easiest vertical wall and Kai hooked Elliott’s harness up to the ropes. The colour of each rock on the wall represents a different difficulty level. What appears easy can sometimes be one of the more difficult walls, so don’t be deceived!
With guidance and encouragement from Kai, Elliott made it almost halfway up the entire wall. That was eye level with the second floor of the building! He was pretty nervous about dangling on a rope so high up and asked to come back down to earth. He gave it another try after a bit more practice bouldering. That time he managed to make it a bit higher than before.
That was as high as he was ready for that day and he was mighty proud of his achievement. In fact, he wouldn’t stop talking about it all week! He is determined to go a little higher next time. I hope rock climbing can help him gradually overcome his fear of heights.
The lesson concluded with a debriefing and some cooling down exercises. I really appreciate how patient Kai was with Elliott, and how he kept encouraging and motivating him. I learnt that Upwall Climbing offers holiday camps for kids as well, which Elliott will definitely love. That day, he left Upwall upbeat, full of confidence, and super hungry!”
Where #01-105, E!Hub @ Downtown East, 1 Pasir Ris Close
12 More Bouldering and Rock Climbing for Kids in Singapore
1. Boulder World
The largest bouldering gym in Singapore at SingPost Centre caters to everyone from beginners to experts. Kids from five years can climb. www.boulderworld.com
2. BFF Climb
Located by King Albert Park MRT station, find fun climbing action for families with kids five and up at the Play Zone, complete with an AR wall. There’s also a Boulder Zone for more serious fun. www.bffclimb.com
3. The Cliff @ Snow City
After sweating it out on the first vertigo climbing wall in Singapore, head into Snow City for a two-in-one experience. Suitable for kids from three years. www.snowcity.com.sg/the-cliff
4. Climb Central
Occupying eye-catching locations in Kallang Wave Mall, Novena Square, and Funan Mall, climbing lanes are colour-coded according to difficulty level. Must be at least five years old.www.climbcentral.sg
5. Clip ‘n Climb @ HomeTeamNS Tampines
An unconventional climbing theme park featuring 19 colourful abstract climbing challenges. There’s no age limit, as long as you weigh at least 10 kg. www.hometeamns.sg/clipnclimb
6. Ground Up
Within the Civil Service Club at Tessensohn Road, discover both bouldering and indoor and outdoor rock climbing for kids and adults. Climbers can start at five years. www.groundupsg.com
7. Kinetics Climbing
Located at Serangoon Road, it specialises in bouldering, but also has a top rope wall. Beginner-friendly, the minimum age is four years. www.kineticsclimbing.com.sg
8. My Little Climbing Room
Located at Jalan Pelikat, it’s the first indoor climbing playground in Singapore that’s specially designed and built for kiddos. Suitable for children from two to 12 years. www.mylittleclimbingroom.com
10. The Rock School
The indoor bouldering room and top-rope wall at Bedok Community Centre caters specially to kids from two to 14 years. Or head to the Our Tampines Hub facility for greater challenges, suitable for kids from four years and up. www.therockschool.sg
9. OYEYO Boulder Home
A stone’s throw from Little India MRT station, OYEYO Boulder Home is a cosy but comprehensive bouldering gym. Ideal for newbies as young as four years. www.oyeyoboulderhome.com
Over 20 challenging thematic walls for both serious and fun climbs, including a state-of-the-art augmented climbing wall. Suitable for kids from five years. www.t-hall.sg
Singapore’s first gamified indoor rock-climbing studio for the whole family, featuring as many as 20 routes to play and win. Suitable for kids aged four and up. www.singaporerockclimbing.com