If you're choosing a new climbing frame for your back garden, you're probably wondering which features you want your play equipment to have. Monkey bars are a relatively inexpensive option available on most climbing frame systems, that can add hours of entertainment and educational value to your new frame.
Exercising on the monkey bars provides a number of benefits for your child's body: * Gripping the bars develops hand strength which is useful for fine motor activities such as using a pen and manipulating LEGO pieces. * Exercising the muscles in the arms builds strength and tone. * Raising the heart rate improves overall fitness levels. * Gentle exercise helps relieve stress and tension. * Tucking legs up, and swinging the body to build momentum helps strengthen core abdominal muscles, essential for good posture, and protecting the spine.
Encouraging A Positive Mental Attitude
The monkey bars offer a different type of challenge to your child. Sure they needed to climb a ladder for the first time, or be brave enough to whizz down the slide. But these accomplishments were pretty much inevitable from the day you erected a play frame in your back garden. The monkey bars are not like learning to walk, a milestone of childhood development that every child passes through. Mastering the monkey bars is more like learning to ride a bike, or climb a rock wall: lots of children do achieve it, it's great fun, but not everyone can do it. The monkey bars offer a high degree of challenge for children of all ages, and if you've ever seen adults swinging off a climbing frame in the park, you'll know its a challenge they never grow out of. While learning to swing from rung to rung is difficult and can be a source of frustration, it also provides the opportunity to develop perseverance and feel a great sense of accomplishment once your child has made it from one side to the other.
When you're child is learning to swing across the monkey bars, here's a few tips to help keep them motivated: * Make it clear that completing a monkey bars ladder is not something that everyone can do. Feel free to demonstrate this by struggling across as far as you can. * Break the overall goal down into smaller, more manageable targets, so your child doesn't get disheartened. Aim to make it across two rungs, then three, and so on. * Show your child how alternating between pieces of play equipment gives their arm muscles an opportunity to rest, and try again later.
Science Lesson Opportunities
There are also a number of science lessons offered by the humble monkey bars.
Encourage your child to look at the tension in their muscles while they are gripping onto the bars. Later you could use the Internet or a biology book to look at the muscles present in the arm and talk about how they work to grip and swing.
You can also talk about momentum, and how swinging their body makes it easier to move from one rung to the other than if they were hanging in a static position.
You child may also notice heat developing in the palm of their hands. This is generated by the friction between their skin and the metal on the bars, and provides a good opportunity to learn about energy transfer.