Monkeying around

Monkey bars are more than just playground equipment. They have immense benefits in child development.

Not only do monkey bars allow for hours of fun and unstructured play, but they also play a key role in children’s development.  AIM Therapy for Children Senior Occupational Therapist Tessa Jones takes us through some of the reasons that paediatric OTs and physios regularly use monkey bars in their therapy programs.

Playing on monkey bars is a simple and unique activity that ticks all boxes when it comes to addressing children's needs of physical activity and well-being.
— Tessa Jones, Senior Occupational Therapist

Children are exposed to an abundance of sedentary activities (i.e., screen time). With less focus on outdoor activities, children are lacking the opportunity to develop strength and other motor skills.

Fine motor skills

More often teachers are noticing children are lacking fundamental fine motor skills, such as being able to hold a pencil. Before children can develop fine motor skills, we need to help them develop stability centrally and in their large muscle groups, including their core and shoulder stabilisers.

Play that involves swinging, hanging, and climbing are effective at developing these precursors.

Strength, posture and muscle development

The motion of swinging from one bar to another helps children strengthen and tone their whole body. Hands and arms are challenged through grasping and reaching, postural muscles develop endurance while keeping the trunk stable, and the legs help propel the body forwards towards the next rung. When a child has strong trunk muscles, they can sit at a desk for longer.


Hanging upside down on monkey bars for short periods of time can increase concentration levels. This position stimulates an area in the inner ear that detects body movement, a sensation that some children seek. Through meeting this quota, the child feels regulated and their concentration improves.

Social Skills

Monkey bars are great for encouraging children to take turns, play creatively and “make up” new game rules (e.g., pretending the floor is lava).

Monkey bars allow children to play together for hours in an unstructured setting. They also teach and encourage teamwork, by allowing children to help each other solve problems and overcome challenges together.

Playing on monkey bars is a simple and unique activity that ticks all boxes when it comes to addressing children’s needs of physical activity and well-being.

AIM Therapy for Children provide OT, speech, psychology and physiotherapy at their clinics in Wembley, Joondalup, Canning Vale, Rockingham and Mandurah.   Photos supplied courtesy of Grow Play Monkey Bars.

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