When I was growing up we had a climbing frame with slide in our back garden. My best friend lived next door and had a climbing frame too. Most of my childhood was spent on either hers or my climbing frame! I believe I acquired many life skills hanging around on those bars.

Now this was the eighties, so the climbing frames were metal. They rusted easily so your parents always ensured your tetanus jab was up to date. Health and safety wasn’t what it is now, so the softest landing was at my house where you landed on grass at best, or at worst, the weird muddy patch where the grass no longer grows. My friend’s house was hardcore though. Her climbing frame was on gravel! I can still remember the burn!

Kids today have far more choice than we did with amazing wooden climbing frames. Wickey have everything from standard frames to in built playhouses and pirate ships. You can add swings, slides and sandpits to create your dream climbing frame.

climbing frame

These are five important life skills kids learn on a climbing frame…

Overcoming Fears

I think probably the first fear I remember over coming is climbing to the very top of my friend’s climbing frame. My legs felt wobbly, I held on tight, and I kept telling myself I could do it by myself.

Of course the only reason I was scared of going to the top was because I had witnessed the very bloody outcome of my friend’s little brother falling off the climbing frame.

“Watch me! I can hang with two hands. Watch! I can hang with one hand. Watch! I can hang with no…”


I think he may have learnt some life skills that day too.


Perfecting the forward roll on the first bar was easy. Any kid could do that. The second bar was a bit trickier, but a bit of practice and it was soon nailed. But only the true master of the climbing frame could pull off a forward roll on the highest bar.

As well as mastering the spin from the dizzying height, there was less room to manoeuvre as the frame was narrower near the top. One false move and you would wack your head on the middle bar on the way round!

Climbing frames taught me to try, try and try again. I bore the bruises to prove it!

Being nosy

Or maybe the more socially acceptable life skill would be being inquisitive! My best friend and I used to spend hours perched on top of her climbing frame. A lot of time was spent discussing the secret club we were going to start, and planning our future weddings. But the rest of the time was spent spying on our neighbours and generally just being nosy.

Knowing Your Limitations

As a kid I was obsessed with the movie Mary Poppins. I would spend hours in my room clicking my fingers at my toys in a desperate wish that they would tidy themselves away.

I also really wanted to fly like Mary Poppins. What better launch pad than a climbing frame. Needless to say I learnt pretty quickly that I couldn’t fly. Although I did give it another go after watching Peter Pan. I have since learnt that happy thoughts on their own are not enough. You need the magic fairy dust.

How to scare the crap out of your parents

From showing not a single ounce of fear, to getting stuck at the top. Climbing frames the world over are the perfect place for kids to practice and hone the lifelong skill of scaring the crap out of their parents.

Wickey have climbing frames to ignite every child’s imagination for years to come. They are made from spruce and pine wood from sustainably managed forests. Check out the full range on the Wickey website.

climbing frame

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All kids should have a climbing frame to keep them entertained in the garden.  It's essential for teaching them invaluable life skills.




Claire Kirby

2 Comments on 5 Life Skills Learnt From a Climbing Frame

  1. Definitely scaring the crap out of your parent – especially when my daughter hangs upside down on one by her legs!!!

  2. I remember those days in the 80s. We had a metal swing set with a sea saw attached to it and an old rusty slide, we also had stone steps in our garden which we used to sledge down… Gosh, those wooden ones are awesome!

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