Toys

15 Montessori Climbing Toys + DIY Ideas

Updated on 15 minute read

 

What Are Montessori Climbing Toys?

These are climbing structures designed to develop your child’s balance control, gross motor skills, strength, and spatial awareness. 

They are also good for developing self-confidence.

Many of them are ideal for outdoor or indoor play, though it’s best to check the brand’s recommendations, especially because these climbers are made of wood and natural materials.

So, what are Montessori toys, and how are they different from other educational toys?

 

All About The Montessori Method

Montessori toys follow the Montessori philosophy created in the 1900s by Maria Montessori, an Italian doctor and educator. (1)

Most of these toys are made of natural materials, such as wood, and are designed for children to explore and learn about sensory concepts, including color, dimension, texture, and shape. These toys also incorporate some academic concepts such as science, literacy, mathematics, history, and geography. (1)

While Montessori created some wooden toys for the program, several non-Montessori creations have also made it into Montessori-inspired homes and classrooms.

For example, the Pikler triangle was created by Dr. Emmi Pikler, a Hungarian pediatrician, not by Montessori

 

What’s A Pikler Triangle & What Makes It Different?

Also known as a climbing triangle or climbing frame, the Pikler triangle helps your little one develop their strength, gross motor skills, coordination, and balance control.

It’s shaped like a triangle with rungs similar to a ladder your child can climb. 

Many Pickler triangles come as a play set with ramps, slides, climbing cubes, tunnels, and climbing walls.

While most climbing toys are designed for older kids, the Pickler triangle is designed for children as young as six months old.

 

Is The Pikler Triangle A Montessori Climbing Toy?

Although not created by Montessori, the Pikler triangle has long been considered by many parents as a Montessori-inspired climbing toy because it fits the criteria for these toys.

 

When Should You Introduce A Montessori Climber?

Young children can begin using a Montessori climber as early as six months old. However, it’s an activity that they should be ready for. So, it’s not a good idea to force them to climb.

Instead, you can put the climber inside their nursery or play area and let them explore it.

One way to encourage climbing is to put some toys at the top of the climber for your baby to reach.

 

Safety With Montessori Climbing Toys

SAFETY WARNING: Always supervise your children when they’re playing with any Montessori climbing toy.

Younger kids, particularly those below one year of age, might not know how to climb down yet. So, they require an adult’s constant supervision.

Be sure you are always within arm’s reach of your little one.

Also, because these climbing toys are usually made of wood, always check for splinters or cracks, especially on the rungs.

 

Are Montessori Climbing Toys & Pikler Triangles Worth It?

Yes. For many parents who have these equipment at home, Montessori climbing toys and Pikler triangles are worth it.

They can be more expensive than other play gyms or monkey bars, but these indoor climbing toys help your child’s motor skill development. These can also promote physical strength, bravery, independence, and self-confidence.

These play structures can be a good addition to your Montessori or Waldorf home and classroom.

 

Types & Styles Of Montessori Climbing Toys 

  • Pikler Triangles
  • Ramps
  • Pikler Arches
  • Multi-use Climbing Toys
  • Indoor Jungle Gyms
  • Swedish Climbing Walls
  • Foam Climbers & Play Couches
  • Balance Board

 

Continue reading for our recommendations below.

 

The Best Montessori Climbing Toys

Pickler Triangles

Little Partners Learn ‘N Climb Triangle

(source: littlepartners.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Adjustable and foldable triangle that locks-open to three positions, with three height positions
  • Product Safety: Child-safe, non-toxic paint and materials that are free from phthalates and heavy metals (lead)
  • Materials: Solid hardwood
  • Age Range: 6+ months; up to 200 lbs
  • Educational Value: Gross motor skills, balance control, and confidence
  • Extra Features: Lifetime Warranty
  • Made In: China
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Can be pricey
  • Customer Reviews:

This toy is a MUST HAVE for every toddler. We got this when Ava was only 9 months old, and it’s amazing how she continues to find new ways to play with it while it helps her improve her balance and confidence.” – reviewer on Little Partners

This climbing triangle is the perfect little gym for my 11 month old son. He loves to stand and climb up the stairs (which makes me nervous) – so this gym is the perfect stair replacement! He can pull himself up and climb up and around the ladder – its also great to grab a large blanket and set it up on the grass outside. So worth the money.” – reviewer on Amazon

 

You can also add the 2-in-1 climbing ramp and slide to your order so your little one can have more activities to enjoy with this Pickler triangle.

 

RAD Children’s Furniture DeskEasel Triangle Set

(source: radchildrensfurniture.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Pikler triangle with extensions to convert it into an easel or child’s desk
  • Product Safety: Formaldehyde-free and zero VOCs
  • Materials: 13-ply Euro birch
  • Age Range: 2.5 to 6 years old
  • Educational Value: Gross motor skills, creativity, fine motor skills, and confidence
  • Extra Features: Includes 90’ roll-down paper for painting or drawing
  • Certification: FSC certified (Forest Stewardship Council) and CARB 2 compliant (CARB II compliance) for formaldehyde emissions
  • Made In: Los Angeles, California
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Requires assembly using an electric drill
  • Customer Reviews:

Our toddler loves it!! The shipping was super quick. The assembly instructions are very clear and it was easy to assemble (with an electronic drill). Lot of different uses and easy to stow away. Thanks so much!” – reviewer on Etsy

this is so much fun! i ordered the biggest size, and it fits neatly under my bed when not in use. my little climber learns all kinds of things climbing up, climbing down, walking and sliding on the board. Great for days when the air outside is too smoky for play, or when we just need an afternoon activity without leaving the house.” – reviewer on Etsy

 

Lily & River Pikler Triangle

(source: lilyandriver.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Foldable toddler climbing toy for indoor or outdoor use
  • Product Safety: 100% non-toxic, water-based, and child-friendly colors and sealants
  • Materials: Natural wood (birch or premium bamboo)
  • Age Range: 6 months to 5+ years; up to 90 lbs
  • Educational Value: Gross motor skills, strength, muscle growth, and balance control
  • Extra Features: Includes Little Climber board books and a Little Glider wooden airplane; optional rock-climbing wall or 2-in-1 ladder and slide accessory
  • Certification: Not indicated
  • Made In: Family-operated business in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Can be pricey
  • Customer Reviews:

Such a beautiful product. My little girl has had hours worth of fun with this climbing frame. It’s easy to assemble and is great for indoor use or outdoor. I would highly recommend!” – reviewer on Lily and River

It took him a little to warm up & feel comfortable climbing but after a little while, he was loving it!!” – reviewer on Lily and River

 

Pikler Arches

Joey Co. Montessori Climbing Arch

(source: shopjoeyco.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Reversible climbing accessory (can be used as a climbing arch or a rocker)
  • Product Safety: Natural wood
  • Materials: Birch plywood
  • Age Range: 6+ months old; up to 120 lbs
  • Educational Value: Gross motor skills and imaginative play
  • Extra Features: Easily matches with extra accessories such as a ramp and slide for added versatility
  • Certification: CPSIA tested (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act)
  • Made In: Family-run small business in Houston, Texas, with a trusted supplier in Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Some complaints about rough portions
  • Customer Reviews:

Our son loved his climbing arch, especially when we flip it as a rocker for story time. The finish product, shipping and communications was wonderful. We will definitely recommend to our family and friends.” – reviewer on Etsy

This item is great and is a lot of fun for kids! Easy to put together. I did find that one side of the slide was a little rough, but I was able to sand, paint, and reseal it myself. Not a big deal. Seems like it will last a long time!” – reviewer on Etsy

 

Cassarokids Jumbo Climbing Arch Play

(source: cassarokids.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Reversible arch (wooden climber arch and rocker)
  • Product Safety: Organic, child-safe, and water-based paints
  • Materials: 100% birch layered wood with solid beech wood
  • Age Range: 12+ months; up to 200 lbs
  • Educational Value: Gross motor skills and imaginative play
  • Extra Features: Can match with the triangle climber or ladder to create a play set
  • Certification: FSC and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification)
  • Made In: Houston, Texas, with wood from certified sustainable forests in New Zealand
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Can be pricey; not ideal for children younger than 1 year old
  • Customer Reviews:

The quality of the rocker is awesome. My daughter hasn’t stopped playing with it since we brought it home.” – reviewer on Cassaro Kids

Awesome and beautiful toy! This item arrived the next day (located in Texas). Incredibly quick shipping! It was easy to assemble, and all three of my kids (5,3,1) are enjoying it in different ways. The price is excellent and I am happy to support a local business!” – reviewer on Cassaro Kids

 

Wiwiurka Climbing Arch For Babies

(source: wiwiurka.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Climbing arch that also doubles as a play gym
  • Product Safety: Non-toxic materials and non-toxic acrylic wood sealant
  • Materials: European birch plywood
  • Age Range: 0-3 years old (0-6 months, used as a play gym with hanging mobiles on the rungs); up to 66 lbs
  • Educational Value: Sensory and sight stimulation, gross motor skills, and balance control
  • Extra Features: Compatible with the reversible ramp
  • Certification: Not indicated
  • Made In: Ocotitlán in Morelos, Mexico (ships to US addresses)
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Can be pricey for its small size
  • Customer Reviews:

My daughter loves when I rock her in this!! She also uses it to rock her baby dolls, pretend it’s a tunnel to crawl through or the doorway to her fort!! So many possibilities with this piece. You will not be disappointed.” – reviewer on Wiwiurka

This arch is perfectly designed for babies.” – reviewer on Wiwiurka

 

Multi-Use Climbing Toys & Play Sets

Avenlur 4-in-1 Pikler Triangle Ladder & Rocker Set

(source: avenlur.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Easy-assemble, foldable Pikler triangle with arch/rocker and slide/rock wall
  • Product Safety: Non-toxic BPA-free varnish (bisphenol-A, a toxic chemical used in plastic manufacturing); also DCA-free (dichloroacetic acid)
  • Materials: Sustainable New Zealand pine wood
  • Age Range: 1-6 years old; up to 220 lbs
  • Educational Value: Gross motor skills, strength, balance control, and hand-eye coordination
  • Extra Features: Reversible slide and rock wall plus rocker and arch
  • Certification: ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) and CPSIA
  • Made In: Not indicated
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Some complaints about assembly issues

Easy to assemble and very well made. No sharp edges and well sanded for our toddler!” – reviewer on Avenlur

Works, but alignment issues. Overall it’s good. I had an issue where the holes didn’t exactly line up. Kids love it.” – reviewer on Avenlur

 

Montessori Climber

(source: montessoriclimber.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Pickler triangle set with options for colorful rainbow or pastel rungs also available
  • Product Safety: Finished climbers that are sanded, inspected, and tested thoroughly before shipping
  • Materials: High-quality polished birch plywood
  • Age Range: 8 months to 8 years; up to 125 lbs
  • Educational Value: Gross motor skills, agility, and reaction skills
  • Extra Features: Lifetime warranty; two locks for added security
  • Certification: Not indicated
  • Made In: Not indicated on the website
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Can be pricey
  • Customer Reviews:

I love how well made the climber is. It even supports my husbands weight. Our toddler had lots of fun helping us put it together and loves the balance board. Our toddler is still testing the waters on the triangle but he enjoys crawling under the arch.” – reviewer on Montessori Climber

Even the way this product was packaged was just wow. I was hesitant about purchasing this item (cost mainly) but it is worth every penny. So well put together, came a lot quicker than it said, super sturdy and secure. Very pleased with this purchase.” – reviewer on Montessori Climber

 

Good Evas Montessori Climbing Frame Set 4-in-1

(source: goodevas.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: 4-in-1 climber set with triangle ladder, arch or rocker, slide or board ramp, and netting rope
  • Product Safety: Natural materials for staining, such as 100% linen oil and beeswax
  • Materials: Premium hardwood
  • Age Range: 6 months to 7 years old
  • Educational Value: Hand-eye coordination, gross motor skills, strengthened muscles, self-confidence, and balance control
  • Extra Features: Foldable climbing set with five locking positions
  • Certification: CE (Conformité Européenne) and CPC (Children’s Product Certificate) certificates
  • Made In: Not indicated on the website; China (according to Amazon)
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Consumer complaint about the set being difficult to put together
  • Customer Reviews:

We got this set as a gift from my family for our little one. It has provided hours of play and imagination. On top of being a piece for climbing it has also been a car wash and a place to crawl under and watch ‘the stars’. Really love this piece and what it is doing for our tiny human ❤️.” – reviewer on Good Evas

A little confusing to put together, wish the poles were labeled clearly. But it’s a sturdy piece and we are hopeful for years of use.” – reviewer on Good Evas

 

Avenlur Magnolia – Real Wood 6-in-1 Playset

(source: avenlur.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: 6-in-1 indoor playground set with wooden climbing ladder, Swedish slide, swing, monkey bars, rope ladder, and mini rock climbing wall
  • Product Safety: Non-toxic BPA-free varnish; also DCA-free
  • Materials: Sustainable New Zealand Pine wood
  • Age Range: 1-6 years old; up to 220 lbs
  • Educational Value: Gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, strength, balance control, and social skills
  • Extra Features: Weather-resistant ropes and rust-free hardware, but best suited for indoor playrooms (damage from prolonged outdoor use isn’t covered by the warranty)
  • Certification: ASTM and CPSIA
  • Made In: Not indicated
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Some complaints about hardware and assembly issues
  • Customer Reviews:

Got this for the kids (4yo & 2yo) as a Christmas gift and they love it! Especially since we can’t play too much outside in the winter, this thing is a lifesaver when the weather is bad. It was easy to assemble, very sturdy, and takes a lot of abuse from two boys without falling apart which is a big win! Definitely requires some supervision, but if you combine this with some padded floor mats or put it on some good carpet it’s not too high of a fall if the kids get a little too rowdy on it.” – reviewer on Avenlur

There was one piece my husband had to modify because it was not cut correctly and would not fit the hole it was intended for. It’s frustrating when you discover that three hours into assembly. So no we were not gonna try to send it back.However we were pleasantly surprised by the sturdiness of the structure. Our two year-old loves it.However I don’t feel the swing is necessary. The swing is difficult for a child to get on and there is not enough room to really swing.We would still recommend! Just noting things to think about.” – reviewer on Avenlur

 

Piccalio Climber – Pikler Triangle Set

(source: piccalio.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Toddler climber set with slide ramp that converts into a rock wall
  • Product Safety: Free from harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, lead, and VOCs
  • Materials: Non-toxic, FSC-certified wood
  • Age Range: 6 months to 6 years; up to 132 lbs)
  • Educational Value: Imaginative play, gross motor skills, grip strength, independent play, and self-confidence
  • Extra Features: Folds up for easy storage
  • Certification: FSC certified; compliant with ASTM, Prop65 (California Proposition 65 for cancer-causing chemicals), and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)
  • Made In: Designed in Venice Beach, California, and built in small factories in Asia and Europe
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Can be pricey
  • Customer Reviews:

Great quality and customer service. Instructions were great. My 15 month old was immediately interested when she first saw it and started climbing the triangle. Great experience overall.” – reviewer on Piccalio

Product is great. Rounded edges appreciated. Sturdy and even nice looking. Just think my grandson is too young for it in spite of 3 spotters!” – reviewer on Piccalio

 

Costzon 8-in-1 Climbing Toys for Toddlers, Kids Indoor Playground Jungle Gym with Slide

(source: costzon.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Wooden 8-in-1 climbing gym and playground set 
  • Product Safety: Safe, odorless painting
  • Materials: Solid birch wood with a smooth surface
  • Age Range: 3+ years old; up to 55 lbs for the swing and 110 lbs for the rest of the set
  • Educational Value: Gross motor skills, fine motor skills, strength, imaginative play, and balance control
  • Extra Features: Includes crawling ladder, climbing net, climbing rock or slide (reversible), horizontal bar, monkey bar, abacus game, swing, and drawing board
  • Certification: ASTM
  • Made In: Not indicated on the website; China (according to Amazon)
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Rated for kids older than three years old; some concerns about product safety
  • Customer Reviews:

Although this took about 4 hours to assemble, it was worth it. The product is very sturdy. My 2 year-old granddaughter is constantly playing on it. She loves to climb, and this is PERFECT! She also loves the swing and slide. The slide is removable to allow access to the monkey bars, yet another feature. The hours she spends playing on it is well worth the money. It does take up a lot of space, so make sure you have room inside the house.” – reviewer on Amazon

Perfect indoor solution for nonstop playing funny. However for the price it does nit seem like you get too much. It’s a bit wobbley even though we screwed as best as we could. Overall still happy with the quality and seems safe.” – reviewer on Amazon

 

Home4Dreams Square Gym

(source: home4dreams.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Square-shaped climber
  • Product Safety: Eco-friendly and child-safe natural protective wax, including colophony (pine resin), linseed oil, beeswax, and other high-quality waxes
  • Materials: High-end aspen or alder wood
  • Age Range: 6 months up to 8 years old
  • Educational Value: Gross motor skills, social skills, balance control, and independence
  • Extra Features: Includes rope climber
  • Certification: CE certification; European Union Harmonized Standards for Toy Safety
  • Made In: Latvia, Europe (made in Europe but ships to USA and Canada via FedEx express delivery upon checkout)
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Not designed for outdoor use; some assembly issues reported by consumers
  • Customer Reviews:

Great climbing frame our 2.5 year old son loves it! We were already thrilled when unpacking! 4 holes we had to re-drill, because it did not fit but that did not bother us, as we have already read about it in the reviews. I think it will bring joy to the children for a few years.” – reviewer on Etsy

Great play gym! Took about 4 hrs to assemble but that’s because I did the first part wrong and started over. Straightforward instructions. One of the short bars was too long and my husband had to cut it but overall great quality and can’t wait for my son to enjoy it!” – reviewer on Etsy

 

Happy Moon Natural Climber With One Ramp

(source: happymoon.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Multi-function climber set that converts into 20 different configurations
  • Product Safety: Water-based professional Italian paint; safe and non-toxic paint (according to Etsy)
  • Materials: Not indicated on the website; Baltic birch plywood (according to Etsy)
  • Age Range: 1.5+ years old; up to 110 lbs
  • Educational Value: Gross motor skills, fine motor skills, balance control, agility, and muscle strength
  • Extra Features: Includes a secure lock system
  • Certification: European Union Standards for Toy Safety regulations (according to Etsy)
  • Made In: Latvia in Europe but ships worldwide
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Can be pricey
  • Customer Reviews:

A work of art. This is so well made! Has a lovely texture to it. It is much safer than other climbers out there. Versatile! I highly recommend it! Delivery was also fast and seller is easy to communicate with. It has been a HUGE success with my toddler!” – reviewer on Happy Moon

Great high quality product! A bit tricky to assemble if you never did it but doable! Super fast delivery and great service! Highly recommended.” – reviewer on Etsy

 

Montessori-Inspired Swedish Climbing Walls

Wedanta Wooden Swedish Ladder Wall Set Sport 3

(source: wedantakids.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Swedish wall and indoor jungle gym 
  • Product Safety: Non-toxic paint
  • Materials: Wood and rope
  • Age Range: Toddler to adults; up to 290 lbs
  • Educational Value: Creativity, critical thinking, gross motor skills, body strength, and physical skills
  • Extra Features: Swedish wall, trapeze, swing, rope ladder, pull-up bars (removable), bar, and abs bench
  • Certification: Not indicated
  • Made In: Ukraine (according to Amazon, but not indicated on the brand’s website); ships to the US and Canada
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Some complaints about safety
  • Customer Reviews:

We ordered a Wedanta Swedish Ladder set for our small city condo to give us more opportunities to move when going outside isn’t possible. Because it’s vertical it takes up way less space and is perfect for those with limited floor space. Mom uses it for yoga stretching, dad for pullups and abs, and our kid for just about any kind of monkey bar/climing she wants. We love it!” – reviewer on Wedanta Kids

I don’t usually write reviews but thought I should warn you guys what happened with the one in I purchased in April. The trapeze rope rubs on the wood when using. It’s now the first week of August and the trapeze rope has finally cut all the way through. Luckily my kiddo wasn’t hurt badly (just a bruise). I will be taking the rope ladder and rings down as a precaution since the rope on the trapeze is the same as these.” – reviewer on Wedanta Kids

 

DIY Montessori Climbing Toys

BaileyCreativeWA Play Triangle Digital Cut Plans

If you’re up for a DIY Montessori project, you can get this digital plan from BaileyCreativeWA for a Pikler-inspired play triangle.

Plans are also available for Pikler rockers.

 

Is A Pikler Triangle Necessary & What Are Its Benefits?

A Pikler triangle can be a nice addition to a Montessori or Waldorf classroom, but it isn’t a requirement. Still, it can be a useful climbing toy and offers the following benefits:

  1. Enhances gross motor skills and development
  2. Improves balance control 
  3. Develops spatial awareness
  4. Strengthens your little one’s muscles
  5. Enables open-ended play
  6. Promotes imaginative play

 

FAQs For Montessori Climbing Toys & Pikler Triangles

Which Is Better: Pikler Triangle, Climbing Arch, Or Rocker?

These climbing toys have different functions, so we can’t really say that one is better than the other. 

Most climbing arches can flip over to become a rocker. That’s something that you can’t do with a Pikler triangle. However, a foldable Pikler triangle can be a wise choice if you have limited space at home.

 

What Age Is A Pikler Climbing Frame For?

Most Pikler climbing frames are safely rated for toddlers as young as six months old. However, others are only suitable for kids over one year old.

Check the manufacturer’s recommendations and your baby’s development to determine if they’re ready for a climbing toy.

 

Is A Pikler Triangle Good For A 2-Year-Old?

Yes. Still, it’s best to check the manufacturer’s limits (often indicated as a weight limit rather than an age limit).

 

How Long Does A Pikler Triangle Last?

It depends on the brand and product. Some manufacturers even offer consumers a lifetime warranty on their products.

 

Why Are Pikler Triangles Pricey?

Like most Montessori toys and materials, Pikley triangles also have a higher price tag than regular toys. That’s usually because they’re made of high-quality, natural materials.

 

Should I Put A Mat Under The Climbing Toy?

It’s actually good to put a play mat under the climbing toy to define the play space and to create a softer spot for them to step on while playing. The mat can also provide a softer spot for them to land on if they slip and fall.

However, as a general safety rule, never leave your child unattended while they’re playing with any climbing toy.

 

How Can I Encourage My Little One To Use The Montessori Climbing Toys?

Putting toys (especially their favorites) on the top of the climber can encourage your child to climb up. 

Another option is to let older kids (within the product’s weight limit) try the climbing toy while your toddler watches.

 

Factors To Consider When Choosing Montessori Climbing Toys

  • Safety
  • Size
  • Attachments
  • Usability for indoors or outdoors
  • Price
  • Where To Buy

 

Alternatives To Montessori Climbing Toys

These Montessori-inspired foam climbers can also help your child improve their gross motor skills and balance:

  • ECR 4KIDS Building Foam Blocks (Greenguard Gold Certified)
  • Children’s Factory Over And Under Tunnel Climber (Greenguard Gold Certified)
  • The Nugget Comfort Couch (Low-VOC CertiPUR Certified Foam)

 

These climbers aren’t considered as purely 100% Montessori toys because they’re not made of natural materials as Montessori toys should be.

 

References

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6161506/

 

 

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