I'm always on the look out for new, fun and exciting things to get my son involved in
Especially things that get us out of the house and away from all kinds of technology.
Don't get me wrong - I love me a little bit of (*read as "a lot of") social media, but I think stepping away from it from time to time - especially for the kiddies - has got to be a must.
I thought we had exhausted pritty much every different angle and different thing to try and was becoming a little unstuck as to what to suggest to him if I'm honest - that was until Christmas Day arrived.
My Auntie (who has always been amazing at pressie giving) presented my son with a gift voucher for a child's package to try his hand at bouldering at City Bloc in Leeds.
Local, different and it sounded really fun too
There was a little hiccup with booking a time slot to begin with, but we just cancelled a few of our plans and turned up last minute to make sure there was no missing out on the session...and...well I'm still waiting to hear back about booking our second-free-included-in-the-gift-session (which seemed to pose another hiccup) but apart from this, I was really impressed with the set up.
Now, I (obviously rather stupidly) thought that bouldering would include ropes, harnesses and all that safety equipment malarkey.
How I was wrong
Basically, bouldering is climbing up a wall/mountain/rock face using nothing but yourself...oh and a pair of rock climbing shoes...and a little dusting of chalk for the hands...
~ No rope
~ No safety harness
~ No nothing to stop a fall...
...for an overprotective, worrier of a mother like me, this could never be good for the nerves...
But my son was so up for trying it and Mum has to learn to back away a little bit...
...back very slowly away...
* s i g h *
Anyway, City Bloc provided free shoe hire and helped my son choose a suitable fitting pair
And once the rest of the little group had arrived, into the wall climbing room we all went.
And it was freezing - the same temperature as outside, or so we were informed - but kids don't feel the cold at all do they, and off they went.
For an hour on a Saturday and an hour on a Sunday, an instructor will talk children of a similar age through the age appropriate basic steps of bouldering, and will help them to progress their skills at a steady pace, safely.
The session begins with a full body warm up and then the group stays together and all take turns to learn how to safely navigate the different numbered climbing sections of the wall, obviously progressing from easy to hard.
It was obvious to see that the few other children in the group had attended sessions before, but not once was my son made to feel slow or left behind or lacking at all - which is really important, especially for his confidence levels.
As he climbed he was coxed in how to position his hands or how to distribute the weight on his feet to make the climb easier and more comfortable.
Everything was really relaxed, quite calm and not formal in the slightest.
My son really seemed to enjoy himself and looked to give everything a real good go
Myself and the Hubby stayed around for a little while watching everything but then, when our fingers were just about to drop off, we headed upstairs to where the others parents seemed to have already retreated and came across a very spacious, airy cafe and opted for a lovely warming cuppa.
Everyone was really friendly - although my Hubby's toasted teacake seemed to take a lifetime to arrive - keeping him from his grub is never a good thing.
Once I had thawed out (and whilst he waited to fill his belly) I headed back downstairs to catch the back end of my sons session.
He certainly seemed to be enjoying himself and even ran over and said that he really wanted to come back again.
Hopefully, I'll get my second session sorted out soon and then I can block book another set for him.
It's really great to find interesting things, not too far away from us, that he is really keen to continue with.
But then I'll no doubt be worrying that one day he'll decide to take his newly developed skills into the great outdoors, onto all of those huge, dangerous, real-life boulders...where there is no spongy-safe flooring...
~ Eeek ~
For now, I'll just concentrate on letting him enjoy himself safely indoors