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Up A Tree tree climbing afternoon for children

Thursday 03 October 2019

“My mum wouldn’t let me climb right up to the top. Climbing trees are more fun than tablets,” said five-year-old ‘Up a Tree’ participant Hidde. Together with his classmates, Hidde had the chance to spend a couple of hours at Ebben’s nursery during the first ‘Up A Tree’ tree climbing afternoon. After some climbing tips and tricks, Toon Ebben sent the children into the tree. And he didn't have to ask twice. As soon as they were given the green light, the group of children from De Waai primary school in Cuijk stormed towards the trees and clambered upwards like agile little monkeys.

The ‘Up a Tree’ event by Ebben Nurseries will be a recurring annual event for primary school pupils. On the last day of the school year, the group of children from De Waai primary school was picked up in a real American school bus and brought to the nursery. With some handy tips on how to climb higher safely, the children were challenged to try out different kinds of climbing trees. First a bit of practice with the smaller tree species, ready to then conquer the very biggest trees in the nursery.

Encouraging climbing and outside play
Eight out of ten children answer the question ‘what's your favourite way to play?’ with: ‘build a hut, climb or make a tree house’. And that has actually always been the case. So it's a shame that climbable trees are becoming scarce in the built-up environment. Ebben Nurseries thought it was time to make a change. With the motto ‘fewer screens, more in the cloud’, children were encouraged to play outside and climb trees during the ‘Up a Tree’ tree climbing afternoon.

Climbing in trees is learning
Climbing into a tree requires daring, courage and persistence. You come across unexpected situations, you have to estimate which movement is best for you to make and you have to trust yourself as well as the branches you're standing on. And social development plays a part too: watching and warning each other and helping each other up and down again. Children get to know a tree well as they climb it and descend it. They become aware of all the different parts: trunk, branches, leaves, fruits and bark. And the reward is an amazing view from high above the ground, hidden from adults’ view, in your own green world.

‘Up a Tree’ favourite: the big wingnut
Judging by the children’s reactions, it seems that the ‘Up A Tree’ tree climbing afternoon was a great success. According to most of the children, the big wingnut is the best climbing tree. But the plane tree, walnut tree and hornbeam were also worth climbing according to the young scramblers. Roll on next year! In the hope that a playing trees competition for primary school children will be part of the national climbing championships one day.

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