Teaching Children How to Play on the Monkey Bars

It’s no secret that children build core memories on playgrounds. One of the most popular parts of a playground is the monkey bars, and children can benefit physically, emotionally, cognitively and socially by using them. This playground staple can have a bit of a learning curve, so it’s helpful to know how to show children the right way to use it.

Read the full article or jump to a specific section:

  1. How to Teach Monkey Bars in 6 Easy Steps 
  2. 7 Benefits of Teaching Children to Use Monkey Bars
  3. Build Your Playground With Help From Playworld

How to Teach Monkey Bars in 6 Easy Steps 

With these simple monkey bar training tips, you can teach kids how to use this classic piece of playground equipment.

1. Have Them Get Comfortable With Grip

Encourage children to get comfortable with their grip. Have the child keep their feet on one of the bars of the ladder leading up to the monkey bars and extend their hand to grab the first bar. Then, the child can understand the best way to grip the bar, which should be with the base of the fingers and the palm extending over the bar, not curling the fingers under the bar. This grip is the most comfortable, supportive and safe way to position the hands.

2. Ask Them to Hold Onto the First Bar

Once the child has a good grip, let them grab the first bar with both hands and hang from the bar comfortably. Encourage them to hang from the first bar for as long as they can, so they can get comfortable with how the bar feels and the feeling of extending their body.

3. Explore Positions and Movement With Them

Now, you can ask the child to try maneuvering their body while holding onto the first bar. Maybe they can swing their legs back and forth in the air, or they can release one hand and hang on with the other. The goal here is to get them comfortable with the motions they’ll be using to eventually move from bar to bar. Be sure to keep an eye on them to ensure they stay safe while trying out different positions.

4. Give Them a Boost

The child can move on from the first bar once they’re comfortable. They may require a physical boost from you to get their momentum going.

Monkey bars require upper-body strength, core strength and coordination, so remind children to be patient as they learn. A good step is reassuring the child that you can steady their legs while they focus on upper-body coordination.

5. Have Them Try It Alone

After completing these steps, the child can try the monkey bars by themselves under your supervision. At first, the child may only be able to swing from the first bar to the second, which is OK! Practice makes perfect, so keep encouraging the child to go one bar further every time. Eventually, they’ll be able to swing across the span of the monkey bars. The feeling of getting to the other side alone will be one of accomplishment.

6. Encourage Climbing

Children can build their strength and confidence and master the monkey bars by trying other forms of climbing. For example, they can climb the ladders on slides to get a better feel for how using the monkey bars might feel. If the playground has other components for climbing, they can practice their skills even more.

7 Benefits of Teaching Children to Use Monkey Bars

From developing strength and social skills to exploring healthy risk-taking and creativity, learning how to use monkey bars is excellent for childhood development.

1. Stretching and Posture

Children’s bodies develop as rapidly as their brains do. We forget it as we age, but growing pains are a real part of childhood. Stretching can ease children’s growing pains, and it’s also vital for:

  • Increasing range of motion and flexibility.
  • Relaxing and warming up muscles.
  • Helping prevent injury.

Monkey bars also help children stretch out their spines, which can improve posture. Good posture has many benefits, from increasing energy levels to improving confidence. There is also evidence that posture affects a child’s balance in a positive way. 

2. Strength and Health

Kids need strength and dexterity in their hands, back, shoulders, arms and core to move across monkey bars with agility. We also know that play areas encourage a healthy lifestyle for kids. When kids play on monkey bars and other playground equipment, they can exercise their bodies, which also benefits their minds.

3. Social Skills

Play areas expose children to social settings in a fun and healthy way. Kids learn how to share, cooperate, work in teams, encourage each other and have fun together while playing. The group aspect of monkey bars and play areas in general helps children develop their social skills.

4. Decision-Making

Playgrounds present children with obstacles in a way that’s fun to overcome. Kids constantly use their reasoning skills and decision-making abilities to navigate play areas.

5. Safe Risk-Taking

Play areas can encourage taking healthy and safe risks, which teaches children courage and bravery. Getting across the monkey bars can be difficult for some children, but you can motivate them to overcome their hesitations. Safe risk-taking — like playing on the monkey bars with your supervision — builds a “can-do” narrative that will serve children positively throughout life.

6. Fun and Creativity 

Playgrounds provide children with the ultimate backdrop for their imaginations. Children love honing their creative skills as they play. For example, on monkey bars, they can pretend like they’re in a jungle, swinging from tree to tree. These experiences give children a keen sense of creativity that enhances and develops qualities like:

  • Social skills
  • Storytelling abilities
  • Language skills
  • Emotional capacity

7. Confidence

A healthy child is a confident child. The physical and social benefits of playing on equipment like monkey bars give children skills that build their overall confidence.

Build Your Playground With Help From Playworld

At Playworld, we aim to unify communities through play and innovation that creates equal opportunities for all children. We believe in enriching children’s lives through playgrounds with inclusive designs that enhance outdoor and unstructured play. We offer superior craftsmanship and manufacture our playgrounds in the United States.

Whether you’re interested in playground equipment for your park, school, daycare, place of worship or other establishment, we can help. Explore our Buyers Guide to see our range of playground equipment for all ages and abilities. Contact Playworld for a quote today.

Previous Article Why You Should Add Signs to Your Playground Next Article9 Indoor Recess Activities