As the kids have got older we’ve been able to try more adventurous activities as a family. One of these was a trip to Reading climbing wall, which we decided upon after we saw an offer on Groupon.
We booked a 1 hour introductory climbing lesson. My son has never climbed before so it was a new experience for him, but my daughter has been a couple of times.
Our instructor supervised us putting on the harnesses and clipping into the ropes. He then gave us a quick demo, showing how we should put just our tiptoes onto the climbing holds, along with the best way to use hand holds and position our arms. We were also shown how to belay the climber by keeping the rope tight as they were climbing.
We started off on an easy route. Our son was a little nervous to begin with and didn’t want to go too high on his first climb. The instructor was very patient and encouraged him to go as high as he could but didn’t force him to do anything he was unsure of. Meanwhile our daughter zoomed to top so the instructor suggested she made her next climb harder by just using the climbing holds of one colour.
Once we reached the top we abseiled back down. Even though I’ve climbed before it’s still a little unnerving to sit back and walk your feet back down the wall but you do get used to it.
The hour passed really quickly. At the end the instructor gave us a quick introduction to the bouldering wall (climbing practise at low level without ropes) and then left us to our own devices for as long as we wanted. My son was happier here because he could climb up just a little way and then jump off onto the safety mat. I, on the other hand, preferred the wall as I enjoyed the challenge of getting to the top.
If you have a climbing wall near you it’s definitely worth popping along and having a go. My daughter isn’t really into competitive sport but she likes climbing so it’s a great chance for her to get active. Many walls have weekly classes for children but as we found it’s a good activity to do as a family too.
- We visited Reading Climbing Centre, details here. We had a 1 hour introductory session which usually costs £80 for a family of four. We only paid £29 as we took advantage of a Groupon offer; it’s worthwhile keeping your eye out for these!
- There’s a small cafe with cakes, drinks and some limited snacks. Prices were reasonable, for example £3 for beans on toast or potato wedges. The cafe overlooks the climbing wall so you can watch the climbers as you eat.