Parents, Say "Yes" to Kids Climbing Up the Slide: 7 Unexpected Reasons Why Opinion Fun With Dad

Mike Prochaska
2 years ago

We climb up the slide at the park, and we think you should consider climbing up and allowing your children to climb up the slide, too. Why? Here are my top seven reasons:

  • Climbing up the slide strengthens arms and legs. Children need to be active and exercise. It not easy to climb to the top – it takes determination and will power to get there.
  • Climbing the slide promotes risky play. Risky play is an exciting activity that involves a risk of injury, and play that provides opportunities for challenges, testing limits, exploring boundaries and learning. Children need to learn how to take risks in life and it starts on the playground.
  • Climbing the slide involves conflict. When a child climbs up a slide, another will want to go down the slide. This is a great way for children to practice solving problems. Most of the time, the children learn how to solve the problem on their own. If they are too young to solve by themselves, just ask them, “How can we solve this problem?” I have never seen a child who was not able to figure this out on their own.
  • Climbing the slide teaches children about failure. Children need to learn that when you fall down, you get back up. Climbing the slide is a perfect example of this – children don’t normally get to the top of the slide the first time so they have to get back up and try again.
  • Climbing up the slide encourages creativity and cooperation because they will find tools and ways to work together to get to the top. Last week, my daughter realized she could get to the top if she used a stick she found. Then she held the stick out once at the top so her brother could grab it and climb to the top.
  • Climbing up the slide encourages success. Children won’t give up until they figure out a way to the top.
  • When children are allowed to do risky things like climbing up the slide, they learn to trust their own abilities and that you trust them to try. It’s important kids know we trust them to do risky things because that's how they learn.

Will you let your child climb UP the slide?

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Comments (105)

Ann Marie Patitucci
What an interesting perspective. Thanks, Mike Prochaska !
Donna John
I let my grandson, Dylan, climb up the slide. Unless, a parent starts talking loudly about the child that's going the wrong way. :-) Then I make him stop until that person leaves. Gotta be considerate. But I think climbing up is part of the fun - and didn't realize all the other advantages until Mike Prochaska pointed them out.
I never considered it in this light before. Adventure is enjoyable. Learning through making errors may be dangerous at times. When other people are around, I would never allow my children or grandkids to do that.
Candy Stephens
I definitely allowed my 3 to climb up if they had the slide to themselves. I did make them follow the rules if there was signage posted, and I did not let them climb up if other kids were trying to use it.
Yes! Why wouldn’t we let our children play and figure things out on their own!? Mike gives us many reasons to just let kids play without adults telling them HOW. They are capable of figuring things out, they can resolve conflict and problem solve...we just have to give the opportunities to do so.
Mike Prochaska
@reneeherren I know right if you give kids a chance they will amaze you
Meredith Schneider
Love this Mike Prochaska ! I’ve always let my 4 kids climb up the slide and I join them! 💪
Dennis Smiddle
Mike, When I was a child in the 1950's, we use to play King of the Hill. We would find a hill or pile of dirt, run or climb to the top and whoever got to the top first tried to keep the others from being the "King of the Hill" and vice versa. When I was around 10 years of age and my older brother was around 12, my Mom bought us both a book of short stories. His was entitled Sports, Sports, Sports and mine was Danger, Danger, Danger. Point being, I am not unfamiliar or opposed to risk taking, but children need to be able to assess and manage their risks behaviors. As a retired PA Child Care Inspector and Certified Playground Safety Inspector ( over 20 years experience), I've inspected around 2,000 playgrounds and there are around 200,000 emergency room injuries each year from public playgrounds. Learn more from FANS of Play - and best wishes
Mike Prochaska
I would love to hear more about this but at the playground that where children learn to start taking risks in life. Abd just like life sometimes you fall down but you get back up
Elisa Schmitz
I love your perspective, Mike Prochaska ! We all need to fall in order to learn how to get back up. Resilience is key for kids (and all of us)!
Elisa Schmitz
Thank you for the add-on, Dennis Smiddle . It's great to hear various perspectives. We invite you to share your tips by clicking on "submit tip" in the upper right hand corner. We welcome your contributions!
Dennis Smiddle
Dennis Smiddle Please watch WQED's IQ Smart Parent featuring FANS of Play at 13:39 -
Mike Prochaska
Cool video @dennissmiddle
Dennis Smiddle
Please watch IQ Smart Parent featuring FANS of Play -
Donna John
Hi, Dennis Smiddle ! Watched the videos yesterday. Thanks for sharing! We'd love you to contribute your knowledge, tips and ideas with the tribe. I will send you an email with the details.
What an excellent example of how small moments in play lead to big lessons for life. We offered tips on the importance of play in this newsletter:
Donna John
We'd love for you to submit tips, DoingGoodTogether . Such an important topic. Please shoot me an email at and we can discuss.
We will! Thanks for reaching out.
Mike Prochaska
DoingGoodTogether yes yes yes I love that newsletter! You got it right it my book! I couldn't agree more with you
Donna John
They've joined the tribe, Mike Prochaska ! Hopefully we'll see tips from them soon. :-) DoingGoodTogether
So glad you love the newsletter!
Elisa Schmitz
Great work! Thank you for the add-on, DoingGoodTogether . It's great to see more on the importance of play. We welcome your contributions!
Chantal Harrison
YEP!! I let mine for sure!! Xx
Dan Murphy
I totally disagree with this. If kids want to climb they should climb on playground equipment that is intended for climbing. If they want more risk how about a tree. Basically your saying it’s okay for your kid to have fun blocking other kids who are trying to use the equipment properly. The only time you should allow your kid to climb up a slide is when they are by themselves in the playground. If lots of children are on the playground they should never be allowed to do it.
Of course! Respect is another key lesson! If lots of children are on the playground climbing the slide will disrupt the flow or ruin another child's experience, save it for later. When there are fewer kids around, and the slide is quiet, then go for the climb.

Even as we're teaching kids to take risks and try new things, we need to teach them respect and good decision-making skills.
I agree with Dan Murphy, and not just because he sells all the good booze. There are better ways to strengthen your children's limbs, such as arm wrestling, whale hunting and aerial motorcycle jousting. Sitting at the top of the slide and blocking all the other kids is anti-social, and the pressure that builds up at the top of the 9ft tall play equipment will result in volcanic child-ruptions (and it's a pain sorting out all the limbs afterwards).
S Roberts
Oh hell yes! Climbing up the slide is a rite of passage, isn't it? Thank you for pointing out there’s more to it than just going against the current. You left out the part though when one kid climbs up the enclosed spiral slide and in a few seconds 3 come tumbling out with one holding their arm screaming in pain, another with a couple scrapes and the other is doing the victory dance while yelling “strike”!
Mike Prochaska
This is the funniest comment yet! Have a great playful day!
Donna John
My grandson has learned to straddle the slide at Chick-fil-a when there's a kid coming down. They do right underneath him. Problem solving! :-) Stacey Roberts Mike Prochaska Chantal Harrison DoingGoodTogether Dennis Smiddle Meredith Schneider
Mike Prochaska
L. L. Walters do Santa’s elves climb up the slide?
L. L. Walters
The "Elves Up North" LOVE to climb UP the slide! After reading this article, Mrs. Claus (in charge of Elfiin Resources) has decided to dedicate a special "Up the Slide" day in their indoor playground to helps the Elves think "outside the box" while having fun! She sends a special thanks to you for the idea and will be reading more! :)
Mike Prochaska
Jeff Jackson do u let your kids climb up
The slide
Jeff Jackson
I do, or did, we don't do the playground thing as often as we used to, but I definitely let them do it... my approach was to be as hands-off as possible on their playing so that they can explore and risk on their own, I mean I would keep watch, but generally let them do whatever they thought of doing, with all respect to the other kids of course...
Julie Kurrasch, MS, OTR/L
Mike Prochaska I love all of your reasons, but would like to add one from a pediatric occupational therapist’s perspective. Climbing slides is an example of heavy work, an activity that provides muscles with proprioceptive input. This input gives the joints and muscles feedback on how much force to use in daily activities, where one body part is in relation to the rest of the body, and how to coordinate actions without needing vision to guide movement. There are lots of heavy work activities available on a playground, such as climbing walls, ladders, or monkey bars, but often times the children that need proprioceptive input the most do not have the coordination or strength to participate in these activities safely or at all. Slides, on the other hand, often come in various sizes, require less motor planning and depth perception to climb than a ladder or climbing wall, and the activity can be adjusted by an adult to ensure success (ie: hold child in place each time they move their hands further up the slide) I️ have several children on my caseload who demonstrate increased regulation, coordination, and joint attention after climbing up slides. Yes, we need to be respectful to other children playing, but slide climbing provides an excellent opportunity to practice this skill, as well!
Elisa Schmitz
I love this, Julie VanHoy Kurrasch ! Please consider submitting your own tips to - it sounds like you have wondeful insights to share! Thank you!!
Donna John
Yes, Julie Kurrasch, MS, OTR/L , please submit this as a tip! We'd love to have you contribute!
Brian Mackenzie
I agree with these all the way...and it seemed so easy for me to let my kids know while they were doing it...let the very little kids go down unobstructed...and if someone is already coming down, let them come ...unless they have had some sort of interaction with the other slide kids already...

kids can want to climb up the slides and also also want everyone to have a good time, if they know it's something to consider :) #upAndAtThem
Pam McCormick
I absolutely agree with all your points! I think the next time I'm at the playground (when the snow is gone here) I'll be the "adult" going UP the slide with my daughter! We are never too old to PLAY! Thanks, Mike.
Meredith Newlin
My gut has always told me to let my kids climb up the slide. This really helps confirm why!
Mike Prochaska
Thank you! Childhood is short
Gina Valley
I think this falls under "Life is short and I'm shocked people would spend time arguing about this." That being said - should kids have the freedom to climb up slides? Yes, of course. Creative play is vital to development. Should they also be taught to be polite to others and to take turns? Absolutely. Can both be accomplished? Yes. I can't imagine why there is a debate, much less why anyone takes time to argue about it.
Egan Patricia
I like this, if the children on the playground don't mind joining in, I will let them climb.
Nanci Burn
Mike, I love this tip! By looking at this simple activity in depth, you really identified important life lessons and skills which can be learned through play. When I take my granddaughter to the park, we will be climbing UP that slide, if she wants!
Mike Prochaska
Thank you. This tip causes so many discussions. Last week it got me banned for a nanny group lol. They got argument over it and blamed me for posting it lol!! Ha
Nanci Burn
Ohmygosh!! That’s so crazy! Oh well I’m sure there’s a more open-minded group for you to join!
Roslyn Elliott
I am a PreK Teacher, and I can’t let my kids go up the slide. We used to but one kid slipped and got a dime sized bruise on his cheek from the side of the plastic slide, and the Parent went ballistic threatening to sue or get us all fired, so now nope. However with my own kids on a playground away from school, YES!
Alice V
I let my 3 and 4 year olds climb up the slide because I did it too when I was little. Often when I see them doing something that is not how it should be done, I think about the "what ifs" and if I think the risk isn't too bad I let them continue but I warn them about being careful. If the risk is too great, I tell them to stop and why they need to stop so that they know I'm not being a mean mom, I'm being a concerned mom.
Marjorie A. Carter
Never thought of it in this way. Adventure is fun. Learning by mistakes is risky at times. When other people are around I would never let my children when small do it nor with my grandchildren.
One of my favourite activities as an early childhood teacher is to sprinkle cornflour all over the slide and then practice my evil laugh as I loudly proclaim to the children that I'm being really mean and making the slide too slippery to climb up anymore.
Carole Pagan
Letting your kids be more adventurous will help them grow into capable adults.
Rick St. Peter
Yes to all of this Mike!!
Rick St. Peter
As a person currently working with college actors to ignite their imaginations, I can also tell you climbing a slide promotes imagination. That's no slide, it's a mountain!!
Donna John
I watched the pilot of "Single Parents" last night, and in the ending scene one of the Brad Garrett's character tells another character not to go up the slide. Made me think of this tip, Mike Prochaska . :-)
Donna John
What about climbing up a frozen slide, Mike Prochaska ? ;-)
Mike Prochaska
Yes! I have video of my kids doing on Saturday
Erica Hornthal
This is such a great perspective!!
totally agree, this is awesome!
Gwen Johnson
Um, not so sure about this. There are rules. Kids need to learn to following rules. That's just life. Mike Prochaska
Esperanza Sevillano
who hasn't been on a slide since they were little ? or older... the truth is that with care everything can be done and it's beneficial
Gwen Johnson
No playgrounds for my kids yet, but I would let them climb up the slide! Mike Prochaska
Yes! Yes! Yes! I let my child play and explore on his own but with supervision of course, let them climb and jump its one way to make them braver and more independent to do things on their own. We just have to be there to prevent any accidents. Falling and bums are part of growing up as a kid let them play and have fun. :)
500 Laptops
Wow! What an explanation regarding building trust in the children. I have great research on it because I am a dad, and it's really perfect to believe in your children.
Marilyn Fox
Everything about little children is always exciting, but we must behave as calmly as possible and not think about bad things.
La salute fisica è importante, quindi sviluppare abitudini sane come ottenere controlli regolari da un medico. Fissare un appuntamento almeno una volta all'anno.
Mathew George
I love this tip! By looking at this simple activity in depth, you really identified important life lessons and skills which can be learned through play.
Hello, I am a childcare worker and most of the places where I've worked had slides and most importantly, we used the rule of only go down the slide. I bring this up because I have used that rule a lot as a teacher. While I don't think there's anything wrong with a child doing that under supervision, the reality is that opportunity might come along. But more often than not, there will be multiple kids on a slide and allowing both directions usually ends up with a conflict, though not always. The reasoning is important to mention for all the teachers out there. We use that rule to keep our lives easier and parents. Most parents wince at the thought of risky play when they aren't around. Anyway, something to keep in mind perhaps.
I totally agree with all this. Great article!
Jose Manuel Gomez Arrayas
It's a great perspective. I totally agree with you, Mike Prochaska
I believe in letting kids to live through situations that help them learn bigger lessons like conflict resolution.
DAC Developments
Thank you for sharing
Barry And Mary Humfrey
Great Video.......Thanks for sharing
Barry Humfrey Geraldton
What a fascinating point of view you have. Thank you very much for sharing!
That's interesting!
Julio Caro
Thank you For Sharing.
Kaushik Palicha
Thanks for Sharing
Kaushik Palicha
Thanks for Sharing
Kids can get some skills via trying. Let them do, just like Mikes' suggestion.
That's interesting!
Albert Fouerti
Thanks for Sharing
Jacob Clark
Thanks for sharing this post! I never realized the benefits of letting kids climb up the slide, but your seven reasons make a lot of sense. It's great to know that this activity can help develop problem-solving skills and encourage creativity. I'll definitely be more open to letting my kids climb up the slide in the future!
Spesialis Terdekat
Thank you for the information
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Thank you for the information
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