It’s no secret that outdoor play for kids is important for their physical development. But sometimes, it’s just not possible to go outside due to weather, location or safety. That’s when you want to get them the best climbing toys for toddlers to keep their active tendencies going.
Anticipating the benefits of such a fixture inside, we did a bunch of research on these climbing toys for our two-year-old and got one for him. At first, he didn’t really know what to do with it and we purposely didn’t give him much direction so he could explore. But it definitely peaked his interest and he kept trying it out every now and then, even after coming home from the playground sometimes.
A year later, he is inventing new ways to climb, slide and hang off the structure daily. The truth is that I was skeptical at first, but my wife insisted on the purchase and it’s been one of the best investments we’ve made for our child. Just the mere convenience of our son being able to be physically active, without having to go outside if it’s raining or if we didn’t have too much time before dinner makes it worth it. And you don’t have to bring a diaper bag with you.
So how did we decide which climbing toy to get and what options did we choose between? Read on to see what to consider for the best climbing toys for toddlers.
Best All Around
Ette Tete Pikler Triangle
- Versatile and promotes imaginative play for all ages
- Compact and foldable
- Safe and durable material
Best For Babies
Children’s Factory Tunnel Climber
- Baby-friendly material
- Multiple functions
- Easy to store
Best for Younger Toddlers
Little Tikes Wheels on the Bus
- Fun design
- Musical and educational interaction
Best For Older Toddlers
ECR4Kids GUS Climb-N-Crawl Caterpillar Tunnel
- Safe and durable materials
- Adjustable size
Best For Backyard
Lifetime Geometric Dome Climber Jungle Gym
- Endless options available
- Hours of fun
Gym1 Deluxe Indoor Playground
- Takes up no space and can be taken down easily
- Includes multiple attachments
How to Choose the best climbing toys for toddlers
Climbing toys come in various setups and offer different functionalities. You may want to look into the following factors before deciding which one to get.
Age and Size of Child
Climbing toys can only handle certain amount of weight and most specify what age it is suitable for. It is important to choose one that offers a bit of challenge but is not too big or seem too scary for your child. They need to have a sense of adventure as well as the feeling of achieving success. The best is if you can choose one that will grow with you child.
Indoors or Outdoors
Most parents only consider the more compact indoor option for climbing toys, but if you have a yard and the space, an outdoor climbing toy is larger and offers more possibilities. It will almost be like your own personal playground at home, which is useful if you don’t live near a playground. Ask yourself if you have enough space inside, do you have storage space, and what is the weather like in your area. These will help determine where you want your climbing toy.
How Many Kids Is It For?
Some climbing toys are only suitable for 1 child to use, while others offer multiple functions for many kids to use at the same time. This will tie in the weight capacity as well. Multipurpose is a key feature to keep your kids entertained no matter how many.
The built-material will determine the climbing toys durability and safety. Try to get something that use strong materials that can handle the weights and won’t wear quickly. Wood and steel are stronger than plastic. Of course the heavier the material, the less mobile or movable it can be. For outdoor climbers you will need to consider how it will handle weather as well.
Where Will It Be Installed?
Try to figure out an ideal location for the climbing toy prior to purchasing. This will help you determine size restrictions. You will want as open a space as possible so that your child can maximize its use. If you have hard floors, you may want to put a non slip rug underneath or get some foam mats to break the fall because there is a good chance there will be falls. For outdoor locations, make sure you have a level spot that’s away from any hazards.
The Best Climbing Toys For Toddlers
Ette Tete Pikler Triangle (Best All Around)
This is the one we ultimately chose for our child. For us, it was the most versatile yet compact at the same time. Ideal for kids six-months up to seven-years-old.
The minimalist climbing toy is built entirely out of high-quality aspen wood and encouraged Montessori learning. The triangle shape allows for climbing and hanging at adjustable heights. You can also get the optional slide ramp piece, which I would totally recommend. Our son even uses the structure as a tent and a garage for his ride-on car. For babies, it can be used to hang mobiles or other toys on for endless stimulation.
There are no sharp edges and all surfaces are smooth coated in baby-proof eco wax. The structure sits around 47.2 x 47.2 x 34.6 inches.
Installation is not too difficult, although getting the dowels to line up perfectly when attaching the pieces can be challenging. But the best part is that if disassembles and is compact when stored away.
Other comparable climbing toys we liked includes the Dani Wooden Playground for Kids SportPlanet and ECR4Kids SoftZone Climb and Crawl Activity Set.
Children’s Factory Tunnel Climber (Best For Babies)
The most important aspects for baby toys are safety and simplicity (yet intriguing). This set of soft colorful blocks check these boxes and are perfect for babies and young toddlers up to three-years-old to crawl and roam around on.
This set includes a tunnel, staircase, slide and floor mat, which helps encourage physical activity for the little ones just starting out. The material is easy to wipe and keep clean and they come apart easy to be stored away. It’s important to encourage movement for babies and what better way than with the Children’s Factory over and under tunnel climber.
Similar baby friendly climbing toys that we liked include the ECR4Kids SoftZone Corner Climber and Tent Canoe and Tumbler Too.
Little Tikes Wheels on the Bus (Best for Younger Toddlers)
Inspired by the popular Little Baby Bum video series, this adorable bus is both a climbing and a musical toy. There are also interactive bus features such as a horn, ignition and gear shifter for imaginative play.
When they are not climbing up and sliding down, your child will be proudly driving the bus and playing the song “Wheels on the Bus” from the steering wheel. The dashboard will also help with letters, numbers, and animal recognition.
The durable material is suitable for both indoors and outdoors. Your vehicle-obsessed toddler will soon have a new favorite toy with one of the best climbing toys for toddlers.
You can also check out similar options we liked in the Simplay3 Young Explorers Adventure Climber, Children’s Factory Up & Down 2 Piece Set, and Eezy Peezy Jungle Gym PlaySet.
ECR4Kids GUS Climb-N-Crawl Caterpillar Tunnel (Best For Older Toddlers)
This colorful climbing caterpillar is definitely a magnet for kids age 3 to 8. The tunnel allows for climbing and crawling, while the durable water-resistant plastic material allows for both indoor and outdoor use. Your child will love interacting with the caterpillar with imaginative play.
Measuring in at 85.5” x 39.5” and 44 lb, the structure is set up in segments and can be rearranged in a different order or with new parts to fit different spaces. It’s also not too high, so it’s suitable for younger toddlers as well.
If you like this, you may also like the Ecr4kids Kids Softzone Climber Tunnel Maze, Kids Jungle Gymnastics Expandable Junior Training, and Lil’ Monkey Olympus Jungle Gym as other climbing toys for toddlers.
Lifetime Geometric Dome Climber Jungle Gym (Best For Backyard)
Dome climbers are the ultimate outdoor toys and this one from Lifetime is one of the best for kids aged 3 to 10.
The geometric shape allows for various climbing and hanging situations. And with rock climbing hand grips, your kids can easily grab and hold on to strengthen their muscles. You can hang swings, rings, ladders, hammocks, tires and other accessories to create a personal gym that they will use for hours.
It’s made up of a sturdy power-coated steel that is water and rust-resistant and keeps from getting too hot when in the sun. The possibilities are endless with this system.
As an extra bonus, your kids will love assembling this with you. The 10 ft diameter structure stands 5 ft tall.
Comparable climbers include the Little Tikes Climb ‘N Slide Trampoline and Step2 Naturally Playful Woodland Climber.
Gym1 Deluxe Indoor Playground (Most Compact)
If you’re lacking in space, why not put up this multi-use indoor gym in your doorway? This takes up no space and can be easily taken down if in the way.
The system includes a swing, ladder, rope and rings. We have this installed in the grandparent’s place whenever we visit and our toddler just loves it. And although it doesn’t replace the need for a playground, it does a pretty good job for substituting for it. The only issue is that you can’t use more than one attachment at a time.
Suitable for kids aged 3 and up, it has a max capacity of 300lbs. Similar products include the WEDANTA Swedish Wall Gym and Pine View Rock Climbing Holds with Safety Handles.
What Are The Benefits Of Climbing Toys For Toddlers
Climbing toys can help in the development of your child. They are not merely just for playing purposes, but can have many benefits as well.
Active play is important in the development of your child’s gross motor skills and building of your their strength and conditioning. They have all this energy that can be exerted in a useful way. And while physical activities outside is the best, having regular active play indoors is important as well. Climbing and tumbling is a fun way for your child to get exercise and make them stronger and healthier.
Improves Balance and Coordination
Climbing is a great way to enhance your kid’s sense of balance and coordination. And as this improves, so does their peripheral vision, reaction time, and general sense of awareness. Physical activity early on will help prepare them to become more athletic and reduce the risk of injury later on.
A climbing toy can be a castle, a tent, a bridge, a boat or whatever your child thinks it can be. Their imagination is endless and a large climbing structure offers plenty opportunities for them to explore and create their story In larger scale than say a doll house or action figures.
Just like activities at the playground, a climbing toy provides something that kids can play together with. They can invent games or fun competitions that can develop their social skills. And doing something physical can give them a sense of success when completed. Which is good for self esteem.
Safety Tips on Climbing toys for Toddlers
Safety is always the main thing to think about with our children, but it is especially important for something that encourages physical play. I personally encourage my toddler for some risky play and allow him to push his boundaries a bit. This helps him find his own limits and he will develop better physically for this. So as parents we need to ensure safe environments for our children to be able to push their limits and be ok. Here are some tips for climbing toys.
Ensure there is enough space not just for the climbing toy, but for the activity that the toy promotes as well. Soft landing spots are ideal, so set it up on top of a rug or some mats. And make sure there aren’t any objects nearby that could fall or break due heavy impacts with the ground.
Avoid Sharp Edges
This would be an injury waiting to happen. Luckily, most climbing toys have smooth and rounded corners generally and are designed specifically with children’s safety in mind. But double check on the the objects around. Don’t put the climber near the dining table for instance.
Check what ages the structure is suitable for. It’s good to offer some challenge to your kid, but something too advanced can be a safety issue or discourage usage. Some climbers may require supervision as well.
If the apparatus has ropes or hanging objects, make sure your toddler can’t get it wrapped up around their neck.
Ensure that the structure is in good shape and not at the risk of breaking down. If the wear is too much, then don’t use the climber.
Now Go Do Some Climbing
Hopefully you can see how beneficial a climbing toy can be for your kid. I personally like the Ette Tete Pikler Triangle that my toddler use all the time. But as you can see, there are many good options depending on what suits your child the best.