We’re about mid-way through the half term holidays, and now’s the time that you’re likely to notice the kids beginning to get a little restless. If you’re pulling your hair out trying to think of fun, affordable activities that all the family will enjoy this week, don’t worry – because we have the answer: bouldering.
Now, you may be wondering – how is bouldering a family-friendly activity? You may even be thinking what on Earth is bouldering?
Well, let me explain. Bouldering is a form of climbing on low boulders, cliffs or indoor walls. It involves no ropes – only bouldering mats – or “crash pads” to keep you safe when you jump off. However, as you never climb higher than a couple of metres, indoor bouldering is a safe activity for all ages.
Despite what you might think, bouldering is indeed a brilliant activity for families to try out together – and we can prove it. Keep reading to find out the top ten reasons why we think indoor bouldering in North Devon is the ideal family bonding activity to try this half term.
1. Fun for all the family
One of the biggest stumbling blocks parents come across when trying to organise family activities for the school holidays is finding something that everyone will enjoy. Your eldest might be super organised sports, whereas your youngest might simply want to run wild. Perhaps there’s an activity you have in mind, but not all of your children are old – or young – enough to join in.
Forget all of this frustration, because bouldering is a fun and fulfilling activity that is accessible to all. Kids of all ages – from toddlers to teens – can climb in our bouldering area, as we’ve set up a range of routes for all ages and abilities to enjoy. The little ones can try the simpler routes, whereas the teens – and the adults too, of course – can have a go on the bouldering cave, with its trickier overhanging routes.
2. All of the kids can climb at once
One of the major benefits that bouldering has over similar sports – and rope climbing itself – is the fact that lots of people can all climb at once. With bouldering, you don’t have to take it in turns to belay – as long as there’s space on the wall, you can climb. This means no more restless kids waiting for their turn – and the adults can have a go in between supervising the kids, too!
3. No rope, no harness, no worries
You might assume that the lack of safety equipment would make bouldering more difficult and complicated, but this is far from reality. Bouldering requires no rope, harness, or belaying equipment, giving you complete freedom to climb unimpeded. You don’t need to check your kids are belaying each other correctly (although we will say this is a great skill for them to learn!) – just turn up, grab some shoes and get climbing!
Of course, the lack of equipment to rent or buy also makes bouldering a particularly affordable way of getting the family climbing together.
4. Learn new skills together
One of the best ways to get the whole family bonding is to share new experiences – all the better if you can all learn something new together. Learning a new skill is a very grounding experience – you’ll all be starting from the same level. This is great if you have particularly competitive kids. However, if you personally already have experience of bouldering, it’s also a great opportunity to pass on your knowledge to your children, which is a truly enriching way to strengthen your bond.
As an individual sport, bouldering takes the pressure off individuals to perform to a certain level. Each family member can simply climb as high and as hard as they feel comfortable with. Each of you will be able to have the satisfaction of reaching the top of the wall – regardless of which grade you’re climbing. Of course, if your child really takes to climbing, they can take it a step further by joining our NICAS Level One scheme, which introduces kids to the basics of climbing safety and techniques.
5. Cheering on the family team
Bouldering gives a whole new meaning to the idea of cheering on the family team. Spending a few hours together at the bouldering wall, you’ll soon be cheering each other on and encouraging one another to get to the top of that tricky climb. This positive affirmation is brilliant for kids’ self-esteem – and your family connection. You can all give each other tips and maybe even work out that challenging route together. This is a brilliant way of showing your children the value of working as a team.
6. Building confidence at all ages
Whether you’re bouldering as a family, or just bringing your child in for a go on the wall, this is a fantastic sport for building confidence in young people. Bouldering simply involves the body and the wall, meaning that the climber is in complete control of their movement and progress. The sport is a great way of building strength, agility and flexibility, as well as boosting confidence every time you reach the top of the route.
7. Entertainment whatever the weather
We all know that one of the main problems for family time in the UK is the weather. What was supposed to be a relaxing family walk can soon turn into a stressful outing when the weather changes from sun to rain unexpectedly. Luckily, bouldering for families is best experienced indoors, so you can always climb whatever the weather. We’re open on weekdays from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., so whenever you feel like getting out of the house, all you need to do is pop by!
8. Make new friends
Outside of school, it can be difficult for kids to get a chance to socialise. But we all know that social skills incredibly important, so why not come in for one of our kids’ club sessions? We run kids’ clubs on Wednesday evenings, Saturday mornings and Sunday mornings, where your children could come along and climb with other kids of their age, all supervised and coached by our expert instructors. We also offer our specialised Little Lemurs nights on Thursdays from 4-5pm, which has been specifically designed for 4 to 7 year-olds, full of fun activities and educational games. Bouldering is a great option for both shy and sociable kids – because they can either climb quietly on their own or try each route one after the other in groups.
9. Don’t want to climb? Just chill instead!
The beauty of bouldering is that everyone can take it at their own pace. If one of the kids – or adults – feels like taking a break, they can simply sit on the edge of our comfortable bouldering mats and relax. Alternatively, you can head into our cosy cafe area and have a relaxing drink whilst reading a magazine or watching the climbers scale the big walls.
10. We’ll bring the food…
Finally, one of the main concerns you’ll have when planning a family bonding day out is always going to be the food. Do you need to split your day up to visit a cafe, or bring a packed lunch? Neither of these options are ideal, and require a lot of extra planning. Luckily, here at Rock and Rapid Adventures, we have a cafe on-site, where we serve tasty food such as pizzas and chips, along with a range of light snacks. So, the whole family can enjoy lunch together – or the grown-ups can sit back with a coffee whilst we look after your budding boulderers!
So there you have it – ten reasons why you should go for a fun family bouldering session this half term! Just pop by any time between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekends for a casual boulder, or contact us on 01769 309002 to book your child in for a kids’ club session. All of our taster sessions, clubs and courses can now be booked online here, to save you even more time!
See you in the bouldering room!