The 9 Best Climbing Toys for Toddlers

Stepping Up To LearningThrough Play


My top picks of the 9 best climbing toys for toddlers promise your little one hours of fun and adventure as well as plenty of learning experiences.

Many of the learning toys we’ve looked at on other pages of Play Learn Toyz are great for developing fine motor skills as your toddler strengthens their hand and finger muscles and improves their manual dexterity.


best climbing toys for toddlersToddlers love to climb


It’s now time to focus in on their gross motor skills, that is, physical skills involving whole body movement and the coordination of their arms and legs. Examples of gross motor skills include everyday activities such as sitting upright, crawling, walking, running, jumping, and kicking or throwing a ball.

Developing good core stability is essential for gross motor movement, as is the strengthening of the larger muscles of the body. Climbing toys are perfect for this and also, of course, continue the development of your toddler’s fine motor skills as they use their fingers to grasp the climbing equipment as they climb.

But that’s not all these 9 best climbing toys for toddlers have to offer so let’s take a quick look at 8 other benefits of climbing toys.


8 More Benefits of Climbing Toys for Toddlers


As well as improving your toddler’s gross motor skills, playing on climbing toys can significantly enhance their spatial awareness.

Spatial awareness refers to an individual's understanding of their body's position in relation to the surrounding space, as well as their ability to perceive and interact with objects and environments in a coordinated manner.

Here are some important ways in which climbing toys improve spatial awareness and a few other benefits of these exciting, sometimes challenging toys.


1. Depth Perception – Climbing toys often have varying levels, steps, and platforms, requiring toddlers to judge distances and heights as they climb up and down. This helps them develop their depth perception, which is an essential aspect of spatial awareness.


2. Balance and Coordination – Climbing toys challenge toddlers to maintain balance while navigating different surfaces and obstacles. As they climb, they learn to adjust their body's position to avoid falling, improving their coordination and spatial orientation.


3. Body Awareness – Climbing encourages toddlers to explore different body movements and positions. They need to understand how their body can fit into and move through different spaces, which enhances their proprioception – the sense of where their body parts are in relation to each other.


4. Visual-Spatial Skills – Climbing toys often feature various shapes, openings, and pathways. Toddlers must analyze these structures visually and mentally map out their route, which promotes the development of visual-spatial skills.


5. Sense of Space – By interacting with climbing toys, toddlers develop a better understanding of the concept of space – how much room is available to them, how to move within that space, and how to interact with objects within it.


6. Problem Solving – When climbing, toddlers encounter challenges such as determining the best way to ascend or descend safely. This promotes problem-solving skills as they figure out the most effective strategies for navigating the climbing toy.


7. Risk Assessment – Climbing toys provide controlled environments for toddlers to assess and manage risks. They learn to evaluate the potential dangers of certain movements and adjust their actions accordingly, helping them make safer choices in various situations.


8. Confidence Building – Successfully climbing and navigating the climbing toy can boost a toddler's self-confidence. As they overcome challenges, they become more aware of their abilities and gain a sense of accomplishment.


A Personal Note

My dad built me the most amazing wooden climbing frame for my sixth birthday which I have wonderful memories of playing on, alone or with my siblings and friends, over many, many years. It was also my favorite ever den, transformed by a few blanket Mom provided that I draped over the bars. I’m sure it helped foster the love of active adventures I have had all my life.

Only the other day I came across an old photo of me sitting on it with a little group of friends all dressed up in party dresses, which I’m guessing was my birthday party on the day it was unveiled. Happy times!


Toddler climbing on play equipmentBuilding strength, coordination, balance, and confidence





5 Tips For Choosing Climbing Toys


With so many options available, identifying the best climbing toys for toddlers is no easy task. Here are five things to consider when making your choices.


A. Age-Appropriate Considerations – Select a climbing toy that matches your toddler's age and developmental stage to ensure their safety and enjoyment. Whilst you’ll want to buy something that will last them for a long time, it’s important not to go for something too large with the intention that they’ll grow into it. Not only will it be unsafe, but their confidence may be dented if it’s too challenging.


B. Safety First – Continuing with the essential issue of safety, ensure your chosen toys are made from non-toxic materials and of sturdy construction to withstand your toddler's boisterous play.


C. Size and Space Constraints – Consider the available space in your home or backyard and choose a climbing toy that fits comfortably. It’s all too easy to treat your toddler to a wonderful new climbing toy only to find that it’s far too big for the space you have available once it arrives!


D. User-Friendly Assembly and Storage – Look for toys that are easy to assemble and store. Many climbing toys, especially those designed for indoor use are foldable for space saving and easy storage.


E. Versatility and Multi-functionality – Opt for toys that offer multiple play options, encouraging imaginative play and creativity, and varied opportunities for learning and developing a variety of gross motor skills. Multi-functional climbing toys are also great value for money.




9 Best Climbing Toys for Toddlers


We now come to my list of the 9 best climbing toys for toddlers, all the products selected having been tried and tested by an enthusiastic gang of energetic toddlers. These came out tops amongst an extensive range.






1. Factory Direct Partners 12364-AS SoftScape Playset

This is a wonderfully versatile set of 6 soft climbing blocks of different shapes and sizes that is ideal for even the youngest toddlers. It’s perfect for crawlers and little ones who are learning to balance while standing. The blocks can be configured in multiple ways, including stacking for more adventurous climbing, their functionality growing with your toddler. Also, the half moon speed bump folds into a circular shape for more play options or as the seat perfect for story time. The main blocks have non-slip bases to reduce slipping and sliding on the floor. And, when your little one wants a break from climbing they can use the blocks as a playground for their toy cars, racing them down the slide and through the tunnel of the half-pipe block.



2. Avenlur Hazel 5-in-1 Indoor Gym Playset

This is another highly versatile climbing toy offering lots of scope for imaginative play whilst your toddler develops their gross motor skills. It has four built-in activities – triangle rock climber, arch ramp, rocker, and slide and can be set up in numerous different ways. One of the great things about this 5-in-1 climbing gym is that it can become almost any structure your toddler can imagine such as a castle or fort, a ship, a train, a car, or a tepee. Another benefit is that it’s foldable for easy storage. A highly recommended climbing toy.



3. Eezy Peezy Monkey Bars Climbing Dome

This is a climbing toy for older toddlers and one for the backyard unless you have loads of indoor space. Having said that, it’s easy to assemble and pack away once you’ve got the hang of it so can be set up for indoor playtime when the weather is bad and put away again afterwards. With dimensions of 70”L x 66”W x 47”H it may fit fine indoors with some furniture pushed back. It’s constructed of interlocking high quality plastic tubes and connectors with double self-locking springs making it hard-wearing and durable, yet surprisingly lightweight. For energetic toddlers who love to climb and swing monkey-style, you won’t do much better.


4. Step2 Skyward Summit Climbing Wall

This fabulous outdoor jungle gym is designed for ultimate climbing fun and adventure. Your youngster can hoist themselves up using the grips, foot holes, and cargo nets to reach the 6.5 ft summit and claim the flag. Inside the structure is a floor net that creates a lookout platform and covered pretend play space for more imaginative adventures. With dimensions of 80" H x 80" W x 52" D it’s a large piece of equipment with plenty of space to accommodate up to four friends or siblings climbing together.



5. edxeducation Step-a-Trail

Here’s a completely different type of climbing toy but one that is perfect for improving your toddler’s balance and coordination. Kids love obstacle courses and this 6 piece Step-a-Trail of balance logs and three sizes of stumps can be laid out in many different configurations to create fun balance courses of varying degrees of difficulty. Move them further apart as your little one gets better at balancing and their confidence grows. For safety, each piece has grippy, rubbery bottom edges with grip also covering the top surface.



6. Step2 Sports Climber and Slide

What toddler doesn’t love a slide? This brightly colored climber and slide is a great choice for younger toddlers just learning to climb. A fun whizz down the slide is a just reward for their climbing efforts and will make them want to do it over and over again, building their strength and coordination. But there’s even more on offer from this sturdy piece of equipment with the integral basketball hoop for future basketball stars to practice slam dunks. The support frame also doubles as a set of soccer goals whilst providing a crawl through space or hide-away spot.




7. Avenlur Magnolia Indoor 7-in-1 Jungle Gym

The seventh item in my list of the best climbing toys for toddlers is a gem. This excellent 7-in-1 indoor gym has it all – mini rock climbing wall, slide, monkey bars, rope ladder, wood ladder, cargo net, and swing. Your toddler will get a full body workout with endless motor skill activities every playtime, and they just think they’re having fun! With so many play options in one piece of equipment, their imagination and creativity will get a workout too. Provide some old blankets or sheets for them to turn their gym into a tent for endless pretend play, or treat them to the ready-made drape over tent that can be bought separately.




8. Jungle Gym Kingdom Rock Climbing Holds

Thrill your toddler by building them their own personalized climbing wall with this DIY set of climbing holds and 8 ft climb rope. It includes 25 assorted rock climbing wall handles for little hands in 3 unique shapes and 5 bright colors – blue, green, red, yellow, and orange. It comes complete with nuts, bolts, washers, and instruction guide, and is easy to install indoors or out. Get creative by adding a climbing wall to an existing climbing toy or build a standalone structure you can be proud of as you watch your little one learn new skills whilst having the time of their lives.



9. Playskool Sit ‘n Spin Classic Spinning Activity Toy

Whilst this isn’t a climbing toy, I wanted to include it in this article because of its immense benefit for developing your toddler’s gross motor skills, most specifically, their core strength. This is a classic toy for good reason – spinning is great fun. You probably still remember your first spin toy with affection. No doubt you giggled yourself silly as you whizzed round and round. All your little one has to do to get in a spin with this toy is to push and pull the stationary wheel to make the base spin fast or slow. They’ll love it and expend lots of energy which is always a plus!



Final Words


I hope you spotted a few things in my list of the 9 best climbing toys for toddlers that you feel are perfect for your little one and that you now have a good understanding of why it’s so important for them to have these sorts of toys to play on.

I wish your toddler hours of climbing fun and you the joy of watching them learn and develop, and the satisfaction of knowing you’ve given them a special gift to enable them to thrive whilst enjoying exciting playtimes.


FAQs:

1. What age is suitable for introducing climbing toys to toddlers?

Introducing climbing toys around 1 to 1.5 years of age, when they can walk confidently, is ideal, although some low level toys are suitable for crawlers. Always choose age-appropriate climbers to ensure safety.


2. What should I do if my toddler seems hesitant to use climbing toys?

Encourage your toddler gently and be their playmate during initial attempts. Gradually, their confidence will grow, and they'll embrace the fun of climbing.


3. How can climbing toys help develop my toddler’s imagination and creativity

Encourage imaginative play during climbing sessions, such as your toddler pretending their climbing toy is a castle, a pirate ship, or a spacecraft.



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About Jacky Spear

Jacky Spear passionately promotes learning toys for child development. With 30+ years of teaching experience, she understands the power of play in engaging and nurturing children, including those with special needs. Drawing from personal experience in both the school and home environment, Jacky helps parents to select the best learning toys to unlock their children's potential and create a lifelong love for learning. Learn more about Jacky >>


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