It’s changed a little bit now, but this is how we had it for about 12 years.
There is a gate. The kids just never used it. I would estimate they went over a decade without using the gate. Why would you, when you could climb over a tough mudder obstacle?
Truth be told, I rarely use the gate either.
The ladder wall just was enforcing and looked fun!
This picture is significant to me because as much as we had a typical suburban swing set, my kids spent significantly more amount of time doing ninja warrior type stuff. In fact, our swing set quickly merged into ninja warrior, forts, climbing walls and angled rock-climbing set ups. Even when the kids were little.
None of my children have ever had any fear of climbing, falling or injury.
We never told them they should. We never warned them to be careful of small silly things like running on cement, surfing, bikes or one wheels. They’re kids. They’re smart. They figure this stuff out.
Now we have been fortunately blessed that our kids are very athletic. Not everybody’s family is like that, so I get that we’re not all the same. And I would never expect anyone to ever raise their family the same way we raise our family. That being said, why instill fear in places there shouldn’t be?
So back to the backyard fence. I’m not exceptionally handy by any means but it was pretty easy for me to build a ladder instead of a fence section. It had a little bit of an angle on one side and straight up and down on the other side. From the outside of my yard, it looked much like a fence but on the inside much more like a ladder. Look at the wall behind it. That is a 15-foot climbing wall with hand holes and plastic foot holds. My kids climbed. All the time. It wasn’t pushed on them it was just there for play. It was a part of their norm.
One time our homeowner’s association guy came by the house and told me I was going to have to take the fence and climbing wall down. It didn’t fit into the specs of the neighborhood.
Although I did not agree with this guy in the least, starting out any conversation with attack and argument is never a great way to sway someone to your side of thinking.
I assured him that it was by no means permanent but that my kids love to climb and play on things, so I wanted to make sure that I had the equipment to keep them stimulated while growing strong and healthy. I told him how as a sports base chiropractor it is sickening to me to see how much more time kids spend indoors on computer games and they do outdoors.
He slowly started nodding his head in agreement and told me he was outside as a kid from sunup to sundown. That was my signal to walk him to my back yard so he could see what we had done and how my kids played.
I then assured him, “All of this equipment, the climbing wall, the ladder gate, the pirate ship sandbox made out of plywood and the swing set (that had been crafted into a ninja warrior warped wall) would surely come down one day.
I promised him that I would indeed take down all of it when my kids were done playing with it.
He shook my hand, told me he thought what I was doing with the yard was absolutely fantastic and that everyone should have so much fun.