Work Hard, Play Hard: Climb a Tree

Work Hard, Play Hard: Climb a Tree

Why Climb a Tree?

Climbing a tree is AWESOME for developing the proprioception sense in children.  Did you know there are actually 7 senses?  We were totally lied to in preschool LOL.  Read all about the 7 senses and sensory integration disorder here.

“When children move and play, their muscles stretch and contract.  Proprioception refers to the way joints and muscles send messages to the brain to help coordinate movement.  This sense also allows us to grade the force and direction of our movements – our bodies instinctively know to apply more effort when lifting a heavy box and less effort when lifting a piece of paper.  While the vestibular system tells the brain about balance and moving against gravity, the proprioceptive system helps us coordinate the movement of our arms and legs in an efficient manner to play and move without even having to look.”

So you can see how hanging out of a tree puts significant force on your joints and muscles to help your brain learn to coordinate them better.

How To:

  1. First find a nice tree with lots of low branches and only soft grass underneath it.  You don’t want a tree right next to the driveway (i.e. concrete) in case they fall out!
  2. Make sure your child either has appropriate shoes or has bare feet.  Also make sure they have decent clothes that won’t snag on the tree.
  3. If the child requires a ladder to get into the tree then the tree is too big for them.

Some of the best trees to climb are apple trees, weeping willows, maples, some birches, short white pines or short oaks according to Master tree-climbing instructor Tim Kovar in an article on


At Mr Rockstar’s first preschool, there was a pussy willow tree the children were allowed to climb in.  Mr Rockstar was only 3 but it was one of his favorite activities.  He fell out a time or two and scrapped up his knees and elbows but it didn’t stop him from trying again the next day.  As we have learned more about his needs to develop his proprioceptive sense it is no wonder he LOVED climbing that tree.  We have a few trees in our yard that he can climb now that he is 6 but are too large for the twins.  I dream of clearing out a spot to plant the perfect climbing tree.

Do you have any found memories of tree climbing?  Do you let your kids climb trees?

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