The 5 best climbing frame games for kids to play

11 August 2015

Climbing frames have been a popular choice with children for generations, offering them the chance to climb and explore freely in the outside world. As well as being great venues for creative play, climbing frame games help to keep your little ones fit, healthy and energetic!

Kids are sure to love some structured games to play together which will teach them a whole host of new skills involving cooperation, logic and problem-solving. So, if you’re looking for some inspiration on how to expand their horizons and give them new experiences, the following climbing frame games are great to play in your garden:

Kick the Can

Aim of the game: to avoid being captured in a twist on hide and seek.

Designate one player to be ‘It’ and place an empty can in an open space on the climbing frame, such as under the tower. ‘It’ counts to 20 to give the other players time to hide, before attempting to find them. Players who are tagged are sent to an agreed area – the jail – near to the can. The remaining players must attempt to reach the tower without being tagged by ‘It’ and must kick the can to set any imprisoned players free. ‘It’ must attempt to capture all the players by tagging them, so that no-one is available to kick the can to set them free.

Army Assault Course

Aim of the game: to complete an army-style assault course over the climbing frame in the fastest time possible.

Climbing frames are great for developing children’s climbing, jumping, crawling and sliding skills, all of which can be easily incorporated into an army-style assault course. Create a course that is suitable for the ages of your children, remembering that younger kids can achieve less than their older siblings. The course should require them to navigate their way across the climbing frame in different ways, for example by climbing a net, sliding down a pole, crawling through a tunnel and so on.

You can add challenges along the way, such as carrying a cup of water without spilling it over a section of the course, and you can also extend the assault course by using other areas of the garden. Allow each child a chance to complete the assault course individually, timing them to see who can finish most quickly.

Tower Defence

Aim of the game: to secure possession of the tower.

In history, medieval castles were defended with barrels of boiling oil which were tipped over enemy soldiers attempting to force their way in. For kids, a modern day alternative – best played on a hot summer’s day – makes use of cold water instead. Best played in two teams (so invite your children’s friends over!), one team must defend the tower while the opposing team tries to reach it. The teams can hurl water balloons at each other, with each direct hit meaning a player is out of the game, but remind the children not to use physical force to try to prevent players from entering the ‘castle’ or from climbing the tower.

If the attacking team manage to place their flag on the tower after dislodging the defending team’s standard, they win the game.


Aim of the game: to cross the ‘river’ without falling to the hungry alligators below!

Monkey bars are ideal for helping children to develop upper body strength but take practice to master. This simple game, which may be more suited for older kids, gives the monkey bars a context by placing imaginary alligators on the grass below.

alligator game for climbing frame

The children must attempt to navigate their way across the monkey bars, without falling to their deaths, as quickly as possible (bearing in mind that alligators can reach and snap at dangling legs). You can time the children’s crossings so they have a target to improve on or place coloured markers on the grass to represent the alligators which the kids must avoid if they fall off.

Swinging between bars is challenging, so younger children should have an adult on hand to help them off if they get tired midway!

The Decathlon

Aim of the game: to complete a series of 10 challenges Daley Thompson famously won gold for Great Britain in the 1980 and 1984 Olympic Games in this event, and now the children can play out their own version on their garden climbing frame!

All you need to do is create ten different challenges using all the parts of the climbing frame requiring a variety of skills, time the children complete each one and award points according to how quickly they perform. For example, they could be asked to climb up and down the net a certain number of times, complete a full circuit, swing a certain number of times or throw balls into a bucket from the top of the tower. Involve the children and ask them to design their own decathlon – they’ll come up with a list of activities they’ll love to have a go at!

With these ideas, your children are sure to enjoy many hours of exciting and creative play that will help to keep them fit as well as developing their coordination and gross motor skills! All energetic play carries a small element of risk, so taking sensible precautions to prevent accidents will help to ensure your kids stay safe and have fun.

Of course, a great many other games are possible, so why not share your ideas with other families by popping a quick comment on our contact us page?



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