I wonder how many children will grow up without ever having climbed a tree? More and more in the city I am seeing tree-less backyards. Children aren’t allowed to climb trees in the vast majority of childcare centres or schools either, and kids today just don’t have the free outdoor time we did a generation or two ago. As a result I’m guessing some children will never know the triumph of conquering a tree, or the pleasure of dreaming in the branches.
I have fond memories of tree climbing as a child. My sister and I climbed trees in our own various backyards (we moved around a bit), climbed trees while visiting family and friends, climbed trees when we went camping and climbed trees in our local parks. When were aged around 9 and 11 one of our favourite things to do was ride our bikes to the Milkbar, buy 20c worth of 1c lollies, ride to the park, climb a tree and eat them! Such simple joy.
Miss Four has recently discovered that the macadamia tree in our backyard is quite climbable. (I suspect that both the tree and the child have just grown big enough to enjoy each other’s company!) The first time she tried climbing the tree our conversation went something like this:
LM4 – How high can I climb Mum?
Me – As high as you want to! How high can you get?
LM4 – Cool! (starting to climb) What if I get stuck up here?
Me – Then you’ll have to work out how to get down. If you’re big enough to climb up by yourself, you’re big enough to get yourself back down too.
LM4 – What if I fall?
Me – If you fall it will hurt of course. You’ll probably get some scratches and bruises. But you’re a clever girl. If you think about what your hands and feet are doing you won’t fall down. Bye! Have fun up there!
Since then she has spent hours up in the tree. She has made birds to take up to their “nest” and we’ve hung wind chimes way up high in the branches. I’ve even delivered her morning tea in a little bucket hanging down from a string which she could pull up and enjoy in the tree! She is so happy up there, and I’m happy too – partly because I can see my daughter enjoying herself in nature, and partly because I remember.
Do you have memories of tree climbing as a child? And do your kids climb trees??