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Learning Outside School


Many after-school lessons involve athletic activities. One of the more exotic of these is bouldering, or indoor climbing. Kids climb manmade walls at a gym or other facility using hand and footholds made to resemble rocks. In some cases they even climb real rocks in outdoors settings.

Recently climbing has been featured a lot on TV, and indoor climbing in particular is gaining more and more fans. In November 2008, the biggest indoor climbing gym in all Japan was opened in the city of Sapporo, on the northern island of Hokkaido. There are a growing number of classes that teach children how to climb.

For kids, indoor climbing offers the same total-body exercise as climbing trees or playing on a jungle gym. Climbing instructors say that as kids tend to be very agile, they are able to improve easily. When they first start climbing, of course, kids have to wear safety ropes to prevent accidents, and they must also learn how to land safely from a fall.

(Updated in March 2009)