How to Build a Climbing Wall for Kids

Wondering what to do with your little climber who enjoys climbing almost everything at home? Get him or her a climbing wall and watch your little bundle of joy display some real spider man’s skills!

Kids are adventurous and they also learn by imitation. After seeing those superheroes climb walls in movies and cartoons, they will surely try to do the same. They also want to be able to observe from a higher altitude just like the adults around them that have tall legs to ‘stand’ on.

If you don’t give them something to climb, they might find something else to climb. As a parent, you already have good ideas of what your kid might find. They take their role-playing very seriously.

Building a climbing wall for your kids is not rocket science as some people see it. It’s very simple if you follow the simple steps here. All you need to do is get all the materials ready and let’s build together.

Essential Materials for Building a Climbing Wall for Kids

First and foremost, you have to decide the type of wall you want. If you decide to go for a concrete wall, you would be needing a special type of anchor like a concrete drop-in anchor.

Climbing Wall for Kids

You can also decide to choose an oriented strand board (OSB) as it is not very expensive. But bear it in mind that the weather condition affects OSB. It absorbs moisture easily and as such, you have to think of an area with less moisture.

For safety and durability, I use plywoods for my kids’ climbing walls. So, let’s build with plywood for today. You will need the following:

  • drills
  • stud finders
  • chalk
  • tape measure
  • Hammer
  • pencil
  • Allen wrench
  • sandpapers
  • mat
  • climbing holds
  • plywood of 4 feet by 8 feet
  • 5inches wood screws
  • 8 feet 2 by 4 planks of wood
  • screws with nuts
  • deck screws

For your safety while working, you need the following:

Step by Step Guide to Building a Climbing Wall for Kids

Guide to Building a Climbing Wall for Kids

Step 1:

This is the planning stage. You get to choose the type of climbing wall you want for your kid and the best place to build it. It could be in your basement, hall wall, a room, attics, etc.

Go online and pick the best design that you want. You can also visit co-parents’ houses to check out the type of climbing walls they have built for their kids and make your choice.

Sketch the design with a pencil and paper just to keep the image fresh in your memory. You can even get creative and alter some designs, to create your unique design

Step 2:

Create space for your climbing wall by clearing every obstacle from the chosen wall. Measure the wall and mark the area you are going to fix the climbing wall.

Get your plywood out, use the sandpaper to smoothen all the rough edges, and paint it using oil paint or any paint of your choice and leave it to dry. Carefully turn to the wrong side for your markings (after drying). On the plywood, measure 12 inches from the top and mark, this will be the top margins. Take another 12 inches from the bottom to create the bottom margins.

Vertically, divide the plywood panel into 8 inches wide sections from the top. Do the same for the sides and mark. This finished work should give you a form of a grid pattern.

Step 3:

Get the wooden frame ready. If you fix the plywood directly to the wall, it will create a hole in the wall. This may not be very nice as you may want to make adjustments with time, plus, leaving a hole on the wall for everyone to see is not trending. So, let’s create a barrier between the wall and the plywood.

Bring out 4 of the 8 feet 2 by 4 planks of wood and place them corner to corner. This gives it a quadrilateral shape. Secure them together, using a deck screw.

Use the remaining woods to brace the inner part. Do this by placing them 2feets away from each other and fasten with a deck screw.

Step 4:

Using the stud finder, locate the studs in the wall and secure the frame firmly to them. This step seems like the easiest but care must be taken to overlap the strappings and the joints

Step 5:

It’s time to attach the climbing holds to the plywood. It is always better to do this before getting the plywood attached to the frame on the wall to ensure a neat job.

Using the grid pattern you created on the plywood, make 3 holes on each intersection. Insert your 4 prongs T-nut (3/8 inch) into all the holes. Turn the good side of the plywood and attach your climbing holds with the help of an Allen wrench.

Remember that the spacing of the climbing holds depends on the size/age of your kid. The wider the spacing, the more challenging it will be for your kid. Toddlers cannot climb the ones that are widely spaced. Most importantly, use only about 3/4 of the Plymouth. Don’t cover it to the top as it may be too high for your kids’ safety.

Step 6:

Attach the plywood panel to the frame on the wall and use a wood screw to secure it firmly. Place your mat on the floor to serve as the landing area. If your climbing wall is quite high, get a thicker mat. Remember, it’s for your little climber’s safety.

In Conclusion

If you have followed the simple steps above, congratulations! Your kids will not only have fun but their sense of adventure will also get heightened. Don’t forget to be creative, paint the plywood in your kids’ favorite colors, and get climbing holds of different colors. You can choose to alter the design and come up with something new. Most importantly, let your kid have fun with their new climbing wall.


Calvin Rivers

Hey, I’m Calvin Rivers, a climbing veteran with 10+ years on crags and walls around the world. I can’t wait for you to explore our site and fall in love with the outdoors just like I have.

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