If you’ve ever come across a Montessori climber or a Pikler triangle, you probably went through a range of emotions starting from “what is this” to “how soon can I get one?” Of course, there’s also the question of how exactly a climber fits with Montessori principles, or helps your child’s development, and of course – is buying one really worth it?
So if you’re Pikler-curious, we’ll cover all the Montessori climber questions and help you choose the right one for you.
What’s a Montessori Climber?
The most common type of Montessori climber is the Pikler triangle, although there are a few other styles (which we’ll cover below.) The idea behind it is that it allows your little ones to climb, explore and reach new heights – literally – in a fun, safe, and achievable way.
How Does a Pikler Triangle Fit With Montessori Principles?
Two of the most important Montessori principles are the prepared environment and allowing for the child’s self-exploration through play.
Pikler triangles are safe and child-sized which will allow your little ones to explore and build their skills more and more independently.
They’re also simple but very inviting, drawing kids right in to climb, play, and make-belief.
Benefits For Babies, Toddlers, and Kids
Pikler triangles and other Montessori climbers allow for tons of gross motor skill development for kids of all ages:
Not to mention the confidence that comes with taking risks and overcoming challenges. It’s also the perfect prop for imaginative play, like scaling a castle wall, training for a competition, or creating little obstacle courses.
Is a Pikler Triangle Safe?
Little climbers should always be supervised, regardless if it’s a play structure or a couch. With that in mind, the Pikler Triangle has been helping little ones build their gross motor skills for around a hundred years. Think about that!
It’s the perfect height for your little one, the rungs are just right, and you know that it had to meet all the safety standards before hitting the market. Basically. It’s as safe as you can ask for.
Is Buying A Montessori Climber Really Worth It?
That’s the real question. Buying a Pikler triangle or any kind of Montessori climber comes with a hefty price tag, not to mention it takes up a lot of space. So you have to be sure it’s worth it. While we tell someone what’s best for their home or for their budget, we will say that a Montessori climber is NOT just another big toy.
It has a tendency to draw kids in for a summit, and it’s the perfect balance between challenging and doable.
- If you find that your little one tends to want to climb things and get into places they shouldn’t – a Pikler triangle or another climber would be the perfect spot to channel that urge safely.
- Also, if your little one’s not that into being physical – having a small climber is a warm, inviting, and non-intimidating way to develop those gross motor skills at their own pace.
Montessori climbers really allow for self-exploration from any stage.
When Should I Introduce a Montessori Climber?
Even as early as six months is a good age to start reaching, grasping, and pulling up on those rungs. You may find that your baby is ready to climb before they’re ready to walk. There are different styles and heights of Montessori climbers – many of which combine to make more complex structures as kids get older and more confident.
Different Montessori Climber Styles and Heights
While searching for a Montessori climber, you may have found that they come in different shapes and sizes (as well as different price points) which probably leads you to more questions than answers. Here are a few styles and pros and cons to each.
The Pikler Triangle.
This is no-doubt the most common and popular Montessori climber. What’s great about it is that it’s unassuming yet it both invites and allows kids to overcome a challenge.
You can get a version that folds up making it really nice to stash away or to transport.
Pikler triangles usually come in two different heights. If you plan to introduce this climber to your baby, you may feel more comfortable with the smaller triangle – especially if you want them to experience a little independence.
The Rocker or Arch.
If you were to choose just one Montessori climber, I’d recommend the Pikler triangle over the rocker. Since it doesn’t fold up, it will definitely take up more space, plus it’s a little too “easy” for more adventurous kids. (Plus, seeing this rock might stress you out if you have two kids.)
However, some families like to create a combo structure, which allows for more exploration and creativity.
Slides, Bridges, and Rock Climbing Boards.
You can buy attachment boards that fit perfectly into the rungs of your Montessori climber. Adding a slide is like a little reward for the summit, and a rock climbing board makes an extra challenge.
Of course, a Montessori climber doesn’t have to come in the shape of a triangle or an arch. There are plenty of fun options that could fit perfectly into your playroom or backyard!
It’s worth noting that most Montessori climbers boast similar benefits and come at similar price points. However, it doesn’t hurt to check out a few different stores to compare shipping, availability and possible sales.
Montessori Climber and Pikler Triangle Top Picks
What we love about this Montessori climber from Little Partners is that you can adjust the height and steepness. The Pikler Triangle also locks at the bottom giving you a little more peace of mind.
You can get it in white or natural, and purchase the attachable climbing ramp and slide – a must!
This is also one of the most budget-friendly Montessori climber options, coming in at $195-$220 for the climber.
When it comes to Montessori, Lily&River is a household name. This Pikler triangle is on the smaller side – just about two feet tall.
You can get it in a variety of colors, and the wood options are birch or bamboo.
If you just get the Montessori triangle in natural wood, it’s under $300, but if you add on a slide or a rock climber or customize your colors, the cost goes close to $500.
This Montessori climber rises above the rest – if only in height – as it’s 34 inches tall.
You can get it in natural wood or rainbow, as well as two optional ramps: rock climbing and ladder that double as a slide.
The price will range from $250 to $600 depending on which add-ons you choose.
Rather than deciding which Montessori climber and which add-ons your little ones would prefer – just get the whole set and call it their gym.
This 3-piece set can make a variety of configurations – which will make for hours of fun. (from $520)
Another awesome Montessori climber by Lily&River. This climber is recommended for ages 2 and up, and can hold two climbers up to 60lbs each.
We love the endless play possibilities that this little structure can bring. You can get it in natural wood, white, or rainbow, with prices starting from $450.
Montessori Climbers on Etsy and Amazon
If looking at Pikler triangles and Montessori climbers gave you some sticker shock, you may turn to Amazon or Etsy for more budget-friendly options.
Bear in mind that you’ll likely have to assemble your climber yourself, which most parents say is easy, but don’t expect to give it to your kids right out of the box.
Also, mind the shipping cost and how long it will take.
Lastly, be very scrutinous with the reviews to make sure that what you see is what you get, and there are no surprises. The Montessori climbers below have consistently raving reviews.
Parents love how sturdy this 3-piece climber is, and kids especially love the bridge connecting the two structures. (from $200 on Amazon)
You can mix and match which climbers you choose to buy, but our favorite part is the extra-tall Pikler triangle which actually adjust to various shapes.
The price ranges from $160-$500 for this Montessori climber on Etsy.
Montessori Climber and Pikler Triangle FAQ
When should you introduce a Montessori climber?
You can introduce a Montessori climber as early as six months by letting your baby reach, grasp, and pull themselves up. You may even find that they’ll start climbing it before they’re ready to walk.
Are Piklers worth it?
While Pikler triangles definitely come with a hefty price tag, you have to consider that they’re not just another big toy. They really draw kids in and let them build their gross motor skills at their own pace, and learn to overcome challenges.
Are climbers good for babies?
Montessori climbers can be a great way for babies to start reaching and pulling themselves up. They’re great for curious babies, because they’ll allow for gross motor skill development and self exploration in a safe place.