How can a theory published in 1936 still help you to understand your children and how to encourage them through their cognitive development? While Jean Piaget’s Theory of Play is closing in on its hundred-year anniversary it is still used in education and psychology to understand the stages of children’s development. And I can help…
Are Pikler triangles worth it? abso-freakin-lutely
So what is this magic triangle that seems to be in every playroom on Instagram? It’s a Pikler triangle and there are some great reasons why so many moms are falling in love with them.
You may be wondering if Pikler triangles are worth it? And I say abso-freakin-lutely.
Pikler triangles are a great early childhood toy that helps your child develop gross motor skills while increasing their self-confidence and learn some problem-solving skills.
What is a Pikler Triangle?
A Pikler triangle is a climbing triangle created by Dr. Emmi Pikler, a Hungarian pediatrician, and it consists of two sides with rungs and a plank that can work as a slide or another climbing structure.
They encourage gross motor skills and independent play while nurturing self-confidence and problem-solving skills.
Dr. Pikler’s philosophy on raising children centered on independent play and explorations from an early age, parents’ attentiveness while spending time with their child, and treating infants and children as unique individuals.
Are Pikler Triangles safe?
Many parents wonder when choosing a Pikler triangle if they are safe. The short answer is yes they are safe.
Babies and toddlers are naturally going to climb as they grow. By giving them a Pikler triangle you were giving them a safe environment for them to climb instead of climbing on more dangerous things like toy boxes or bookcases.
To make your Pikler triangle safer you can put a thin mat underneath it or place it on a soft carpeted surface.
The biggest thing that makes your Pikler triangle safe is using it in a shared area like the living room. Somewhere you both are.
Don’t put your Pikler triangle in a space where your child is left alone. For instance, don’t put it in a playroom or bedroom where your child plays alone. Especially early on.
A better place to put your Pikler triangle to start is in the living room or other shared space while your child is learning how to navigate it.
Is a Pikler Triangle Montessori?
A Pikler triangle can be right at home inside of a Montessori playroom or Montessori classroom. In fact, some people call Pikler triangles Montessori climbing ladders.
But Pikler Triangles are based on Pikler’s philosophy on child development so they are not explicitly from Montessori methods. However, they do support a lot of the core elements of the Montessori method, like child-directed discovery and encouraging independence.
Dr. Pikler and Dr. Montessori have complimentary ideas on early childhood learning and development. Both methods view the child as a whole person who should be respected and allowed to explore their worlds and learn in a self-directed way.
What age range is a Pikler triangle good for?
The Pikler triangle can be used for children 6 months through 5 or 6 years old. You can introduce the Pikler triangle as your child starts pulling up. They can start with the lowest rung and explore it as they grow.
Eventually, they will naturally start climbing up rungs and using the ramp to climb or slide down.
Older children can put the plank between two Pikler triangles and use it to help them learn to balance.
The Pikler Triangle grows with your child offering them new ways of playing with it at each stage of their development.
How to use and set up a Pikler triangle
Most Pikler triangles you purchase will need to be put together.
Setting them up is as simple as putting the rungs in between the two A-frame structures and tightening some bolts.
If you’ve ever put together any kind of furniture that has come flat packed, like from IKEA, you’ll put this together no problem.
For a very young baby, you may choose to wait to introduce the ramp and only set it up with the triangle portion.
If your child is older you may set up the triangle with the ramp so that they can use it as a slide or another climbing area.
You can even set the ramp between two climbing structures and make it like a balance beam for your child to explore.
Once you have the Pikler triangle set up it’s time to introduce it to your child.
It’s important to know that according to Dr. Pikler’s philosophy, a child should never be put in a position that they cannot get to themselves. So don’t put your child onto the triangle instead introduce it to them by allowing them to experiment with it.
If your child is reluctant to experiment with a Pikler triangle, you could show them how to use it by using one of their favorite toys like a stuffed animal or a baby doll.
For a younger baby show the stuffed animal pulling up on the Pikler triangle and for older kids show how they can climb over it.
Benefits of the Pikler Triangle
The Pikler triangle has many benefits for your child’s development including gross motor skills, self-confidence, independence, and even helping them to reach milestones.
Gross Motor Skills
Gross motor skills are large motion skills that help your child to sit, walk, run, and climb.
Grip, balance, climbing, and standing are all included in the gross motor skills that the Pikler triangle will help your child develop.
As your child experiments with her Pikler triangle and starts climbing and pulling up on it, they will start developing grip, balance, and strengthen those large movement muscles in their arms, legs, and core.
As your child develops more gross motor skills, it will help them to reach developmental milestones.
Pikler triangles are not only good for gross motor skills but they’re also good for developing self-confidence in your child.
Your child learns to trust their instincts while playing on the triangle. They learn to make decisions on what their capabilities are, like how far they can climb up. It’s a safe place for them to start testing their skills. When they’re pulling up, each rung encourages them to try the next.
Knowing that your child can trust their instincts and improve their skills gives
them an intrinsic way to build their self-confidence.
Independent play is a cornerstone of many early education and child development philosophies but it doesn’t always come easy to us as parents or to our children.
Providing your child with open-ended toys like the Pikler triangle can foster independent play.
Independent play benefits both your child and you by giving your child a break from parental and peer expectations and giving you a break from entertaining your child.
It is a great way for your child to build their imagination and work through their emotions.
Pikler triangles are a great open-ended item to have in your Yes space to encourage open-ended play because not only can they use the Pikler Triangle for climbing but they can experiment with friction and forces by using the ramp and sliding different toys down.
This is what makes play the work of childhood. During play, they are always learning and experimenting.
Problem Solving Skills
Problem-solving skills are a lifelong skill to have in your child’s toolbox. As they play independently and they test their abilities and try different things they are working through problem-solving skills.
For example, if your child is first learning how to climb the Pikler triangle, they go rung by rung and find themselves at the top. Now what? They have two choices, climb over top or climb back down. This is where those problems solving skills come into play. Which is the better option? Is one riskier? Their brain has to way the options and decide on what the best choice is.
If they are trying to set the ramp up but struggling with getting it on a rung, they need to formulate a plan that will help them to achieve their goal. And if you watch carefully they will try several plans before finding the one that works.
But if you don’t allow them to play independently and swoop and save the day then they don’t get the opportunity to build those problem-solving skills.
Best Pikler Triangles on the Market
For the basic Pikler triangle and ramp my favorite on the market is this one.
Another option is this Colorful Pikler Triangle set with a rock climbing board. You get all pieces that will grow with your child. Go from pulling up, to climbing, to more complicated play like balancing.
Another great option for older children is this Jumbo Pikler Triangle from Rad Children’s Furniture. It is great for kids over 2 ½ years old. So if you are starting with older children this may be your best option.
What to Consider before buying a Pikler Triangle
There are several things to consider before you purchase your Pikler Triangle. I came up with a handy list of things to consider before deciding on a final purchase.
- Does it come with any add-ons?
- Is it size appropriate for my child?
- Will it grow with my child?
- Does it have good reviews?
- What are the negative reviews it has?
- Is the prize worth the added value over a cheaper option?
- Do I love the color?
Where to buy a Pikler triangle?
With Pikler triangles becoming more and more popular, many websites are selling them now.
Places I recommend when purchasing a new Pikler triangle:
Places you can find a used Pikler triangle:
- Facebook marketplace
- Children’s consignment stores
- Resale shops and secondhand stores
- Montessori Facebook groups
If you purchase a used Pikler Triangle make sure that it is safe by checking the rungs and making sure it is secure. Also, make sure if you are having it shipped that the person has a good reputation as a seller and try to purchase through a protected source like Paypal.
Should you buy a Pikler triangle on Etsy?
Absolutely! Etsy is a great place to purchase your Pikler triangle. They have so many to choose from and the prices range from around $50-$500. And you can find add-ons and accessories for your Pikler Triangle.
When you’re deciding whether to buy from an Etsy store make sure you check all the reviews, positive and negative, and read all the descriptions and shipping policies so you are not taken by surprise.
Can you add on other pieces to your Pikler triangle?
Adding other pieces to your Pikler triangle can keep your child interested in it as they grow older.
Some common accessories include a playmat to put it on, slides, ramps, climbing boards, and rope boards.
What Do the Pikler Triangle Accessories Cost?
Many Etsy shops have a variety of climbing boards and slides for around $120 each. They have ramps, climbing boards, and slides that all make your Pikler triangle that much more versatile.
You can also find climbing arches to go with your Pikler triangle for around $190 on Etsy.
The Best Pikler triangle alternatives
While I absolutely love the Pikler triangle for developing gross motor skills, there are several alternatives that also help develop gross motor skills. You may want some alternative or some additional players for kids who are climbers.
Rocker boards are a great way to develop fine motor skills and balance. This is my favorite one. I love the bright rainbow on one side. While kids can use this for balance it can also be turned over and used as an arch to climb on.
These three-sided triangles while they’re called Pikler triangles are not Pikler triangles. But they are great for developing the same climbing and balance skills as the Pikler triangle.
This set of lightweight Crawl and Climb foam blocks is another alternative to the Pikler triangle. I love this for my climbers because it always provides them a soft landing. And they can be built in so many ways that it is like a new play space every time they play.
If you can’t get around the price of a Pikler triangle, then a decent substitute could be an Indoor Play Slide, but it doesn’t give as many opportunities as some of the other options but the price is much more affordable.
How to Build a Pikler Triangle if you want to DIY it
If you’re handy and you were looking to save some money on buying a Pikler triangle, you may consider trying to DIY one.
So the great news is you do not have to do this on your own. I found a couple of really great plans to help you build your Pikler triangle right there at home using around $50 in materials.
Instructables has this basic plan on how to make a Pikler Triangle without any additional structures like the ramp or a climbing arch. I love the helpful advice along with the instructions for things like choosing the wood and options to make it fold.
If you are looking for a video tutorial, Wicked Makers has an incredible video on how to DIY your own Pikler Triangle with a cool rock climbing ramp.
The Bottom Line: A Pikler Triangle is SOO Worth it!
When your baby starts pulling up and eventually start climbing on everything a Pikler triangle gives them a safe place to explore these new skills.
Pikler triangles are a safe option to add to your Montessori playroom that helps your child to develop gross motor skills, problem-solving skills, and self-confidence.
With the surge in popularity, there are so many places to purchase them from and even several DIY Pikler triangle plans.
It can be one of the best investments for your child’s play space.
Want more information about how play impacts your child’s development?
Check out my e-book: Simply Play: Everything You Need To Know About The Most Important Part of Childhood
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