Why does my child want to climb all the time? The on top schema explained

Is your child always climbing all over the furniture?
Do they enjoy walking along beams?
Do they love to balance things on their head?

If you have answered yes to one or more of these statements, then you have a child with an on top schema.

Children investigating an on top schema are interested in the concepts of ‘up/down’, ‘under’, and ‘on top’. They are experts in what they do, constantly climbing again and again, and are therefore gaining lots of experience.

Whilst they’re having fun, the supervising adult is often watching on, terrified to see a child climbing considerably higher than their peers.
We worry about them falling but because of all the practice they’ve had with height, they will usually never climb any higher than they feel comfortable with.

This schema is very important in the development of children’s physical skills – and gross motor skills. Exploring an on top schema helps to give children a different perspective on the world, which can be a useful skill to have when playing games or sports where we need to anticipate how a player might move.

Here are some play ideas to encourage the top schema child:

  • Walking along walls
  • Climbing up steps
  • Soft play
  • Climbing frames and swings

And of course, climbing trees. Any movement that requires them to find different heights and levels will be something they love!