The Pikler triangle has caught the hearts of many toddlers and their parents.
And rightfully so.
In its simplicity and affordability, it is a perfect climbing toy to meet the climbing needs of babies and toddlers of (almost) any age in a safe way.
But although it is probably the most popular indoor gross motor toy out there, there are many great alternatives. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at them.
What can I use instead of a Pikler triangle?
Maria Montessori observed that movement and learning are closely connected. In her book, The Discovery of the Child, she proposed that movement should be part of everyday life.
“One of the most important practical aspects of our method has been to make the training of the muscles enter into the very life of the children so that it is intimately connected with their daily activities.”
This is why the Pikler triangle has become so popular in Montessori households although it is not originally a Montessori material.
It allows toddlers to climb indoors, which makes this great gross motor activity more accessible and convenient (not to mention that you don’t have to worry about bad weather). Moreover, they are a great way to introduce risky play to your little restless daredevils.
The main benefits of a Pikler triangle include:
- It develops gross motor skills
- It improves spatial awareness, balance and coordination
- It boosts self-confidence
Here’s our list of other great Montessori-friendly indoor climbing and gross motor toys that also help with all the skills mentioned above, thus being great alternatives to a Pikler triangle.
Climb and crawl shapes are great for children that just started to crawl and want to test their skills.
The best thing about the climbing foam shapes is their versatility. You can arrange them into various surfaces and formations and create obstacles to challenge your little crawler.
Older toddlers can shape them themselves and use their imagination to build secret caves, tunnels or cozy nests.
A climbing arch is a toy that resembles the Pikler triangle the most on this list. That’s why it’s sometimes called a “Pikler arch”.
Unlike its triangle-shaped cousin, the climbing arch cannot be folded. It’s also smaller in height than most Pikler triangle models which makes it a great tool for kids that just started walking or climbing.
The biggest difference (and the reason why many people prefer it over a Pikler triangle) is the fact that it can be turned upside down and used also as a rocker.
Another Pikler-like climber, this time with a different climbing option on each of its 3 sides.
One side consists of a classic ladder, one is equipped with rope netting and one has a climbing wall. The triangle can be further extended by a sliding ramp to create even more climbing options.
If we were to pick again (although, we would probably go for this one, though it has a disadvantage – it cannot be folded.
Well, and of course, there are toddler gyms. Given their size, they’re definitely not for everyone – at least when it comes to adults.
But children love them. The complexity of these constructions makes them super exciting and kids can spend hours exploring all the climbing options.
They combine the features of all the climbing structures mentioned above – a wall, a ladder, a net, or even a slide or a swing.
Climbing domes are usually used outdoors but this particular model by Eazy Peezy can be (and quite often is, just you look at the customer reviews) used safely inside.
It is just the right size to provide plenty of climbing opportunities for a toddler while fitting into a playing area.
If you’re interested in a bigger model of a climbing dome that you can place in the garden, take a look at this outdoor model.
A hammock swing is quite a unique indoor gross motor toy, perfect for older toddlers.
It is designed to help children to develop and improve a wide variety of skills, including coordination, balance, and creativity. All in a safe way, yet providing a good deal of unstructured, risky play, so important for the development of self-confidence and risk-benefit assessment.
Last but not least, it can serve as their own unique place to relax and enjoy some quiet time.
Although the balance board is not exactly a climbing toy, it helps with the development of another essential gross motor skill – balance.
The great thing about the balance board is that it is quite versatile and can be used for many other activities, such as a rocker or a setting for imaginative play (whether it will be used as a car bridge or a doll cradle).
We don’t know a single toddler who wouldn’t love slides. So having one at home is a dream come true for many of them!
Younger children love to test their abilities by climbing it the other way round, which improves their self-confidence and balancing skills.
There are also models with a separate climbing part. Great for incorporating your couch into the climbing system!
Stepping stones are another balancing gross motor toy that encourages active play and has multiple uses.
Children can play “the floor is lava”, learn balancing on one leg or simply create an obstacle course across the whole playroom.
They can also be used as a part of a sensory walk that helps children to explore the sense of touch and teaches the right posture.
#10 Balance beam
We’ll conclude the series of toys focused on the development of balance with a balance beam.
Why is it great?
It’s super safe, simple, affordable, and has so many great uses and ways to play with it. Walking on the line is one of the popular Montessori activities that help to perfect the body’s movements.
A balance beam is a great tool to take this activity to another level.