The Ultimate Guide to Bouldering Outside with Kids

by Josée

What is bouldering? Is it different than rock climbing?

Bouldering is a type of rock climbing where climbers scale boulders (large rocks) without a harness or rope. Some say bouldering is rock climbing in it’s simplest form, but simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy. While the routes are short, they can be very technical and fun! Bouldering is also great to do with a group of people.

Should I go bouldering outside with kids?

Yes! Because bouldering requires very little gear it can be a good way to ease into family rock climbing. The biggest challenge can be finding a boulder that’s appropriate for kids to climb. It’s also a good idea to bring along a couple extra adults to help with spotting (a technique used to keep bouldering climbers safe).

What do I need to go bouldering outside with kids?

Here are the must-have items for bouldering with kids:

Where should I go bouldering with my kids?

When choosing a place to bring your kids bouldering outside, find a location that is relatively easy and safe to access. Also, find a boulder that has a wide and safe landing (base at the boulder). Choose boulders that aren’t too tall and choose routes that are easy to climb. The trickiest part of bouldering with kids is finding the right place to go. Tip: If aren’t sure where to go, ask around a your local indoor climbing gym.

Interesting in rock climbing with your kids? Hop over and read Why You Should Take Your Kids Rock Climbing by The Adventure Lab.

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Annette, Four Acorns / Quatre graines de chêne September 8, 2017 - 5:01 am

I would love to go bouldering with my kids here in Ireland. But I don’t think there are many bouldering spots/routes here. Also the often wet weather makes rock climbing difficult at the best of times. Still… Great photos!

Josée September 11, 2017 - 7:21 am

Wet rocks definitely make for tricky rock climbing! You’ll have to let me know if you ever come across a place for rock climbing in Ireland. We’d love to visit someday and I’m sure we’ll be bringing our climbing shoes along. 🙂

Su September 9, 2017 - 11:12 am

What a fabulous idea. I had no idea you could do this with children! The video was great too, thank you for sharing.

and Thanks for linking up to #ExplorerKids

Josée September 11, 2017 - 7:22 am

Bouldering with kids is a lot of fun! I’m hoping to get the word out there so parents can raise #ExplorerKids!

Sarah Stockley September 11, 2017 - 3:09 am

I would love to go bouldering – my kids have scaled a climbing wall before but this looks like great fun. Sarah #ExplorerKids

Josée September 11, 2017 - 7:24 am

It’s a great way to make the transition from indoor climbing to outdoor climbing because there isn’t a lot of gear or safety skills to acquire. I hope you have the chance to get your #ExplorerKids trying it out soon!

Robyn Hatfield December 1, 2017 - 8:39 am

Hello Josee! I run a summer camp in McCall, Idaho ( and this summer we will be starting a bouldering program for our campers. Since we’ve never done this before, we don’t have any pictures of kids doing this to show parents what it is all about! I’m wondering if you would be okay with us using the top left picture (the purple shirt/yellow helmet) from this page as a part of our website for this particular camp?


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