In a moment of randomness, I went out to the backyard tonight and grabbed a knotted rope that was once part of a jungle gym set. I looped it over the top of the brachiation ladder and – violá! – a climbing rope! I’ve wanted to install one of these for a while, and now I finally have.
Hunter, as you can tell from this picture, already loves it. And what kid wouldn’t? He probably jumped off of the bed and flung himself into the air, swinging triumphantly three dozen times before calling it quits. Later, when we did brachiation before he went to bed, he complained about his hands hurting. “From the rope?” “Yeah.” Well, it’s no fun to have your hands hurt but in reality that is a good thing: it means he’s building strong and sturdy hands which will help him brachiate, and a hundred other things.
Swinging on a rope is a fun way to build upper body strength and strong hands. I know having this will speed up the time before he will be able to brachiate on his own. And climbing and swinging on a rope stimulates the brain in a different way than brachiating does. And if you’re new to all this stuff – movement develops the neural pathways of the brain and improves all areas of human function. Specific cross-pattern movements, such as crawling, running, and brachiating, strengthen the connection between both sides of the brain and grows the cortex. And all these activities strengthen the overall health and wellbeing of a person.
I realize my room has turned into quite an interesting sight with all this “playground” equipment, but I really don’t care. Mobility plays such an important role in our lives and I want to give Hunter the best opportunity possible to develop not only his body but his cortex (brain). This is my idea of a “child-friendly” room, and I would much rather have the “unusual” children’s things that I have in my room than what the modern picture of “child friendly” is, with toys, a computer, TV, video games, a couple books maybe. “Child friendly” usually means more friendly to the convenience of adults (keeping them occupied and out of the way) than it means friendly to the development of the child (the best environment to learn and grow).
So, here’s to my crazy, truly child development-friendly room. I love you Hunter: you only deserve the best!
“They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks:”Joel 2:7
Hunter is 3 years, 4 months old