The Ultimate Pikler Triangle Buying Guide
“When they’re ready, they will,” is the idea behind the Pikler Triangle. Though an internationally respected pediatrician Dr. Emmi Pikler created this multi-purpose wooden playset over 100 years ago, it has never been more popular. From Montessori classrooms to living rooms across the country, the Pikler Triangle continues to entertain while educating generations of toddlers through open-ended play.
What is a Pikler Triangle?
The Pikler Triangle is a wooden climbing frame. The traditional triangle from
which all others are based is best described as an inverted “V.” Similar to our
Zumar Pikler Triangle; they have a fixed base. These triangular wooden ladders have legs and rungs which are sanded and smooth. They’re made of wood though the type varies greatly from Birch and Bamboo to New Zealand Pine which is used in all of Avenlur's products.
The height and size of these triangles can differ depending on the manufacturer. Many websites offer small, medium, and large triangles. Yet, at their tallest, they’re about 39 inches off the ground.
Who was Emmi Pikler?
The Pikler Triangle is known by various names, from climbing triangles to climbing frames. Yet what hasn’t varied is its origins.
Designed by renowned Hungarian pediatrician, researcher, and author Dr. Emmi Pikler, she created the Pikler Triangle after years of studying and observing children. Specifically, these children were residents of the Loczy Orphanage (1946-1979), which Pikler founded at the end of World War II in her native Budapest, Hungary.
She developed an international reputation for her revolutionary work on child-rearing.
What was the Pikler Philosophy?
Dr. Pikler’s approach was founded on a respectful and kind relationship between child and adult.
She advocated a very gentle and tender approach to interacting with children, which included uninterrupted play and free movement.
Pikler believed that the first language of the brain is movement. She firmly believed children should be allowed to explore and play using movement at their own pace and be given the freedom to do so. Pikler argued that children should be allowed the time and space to play independently.
This is how the idea of the Pikler Triangle took shape. It was a play structure children could learn to maneuver at their own pace. It was a device that fostered independent and open-ended play.
Is the Pikler Triangle a Montessori toy?
You might often find a Pikler Triangle in a Montessori classroom or have heard the Pikler Triangle referred to as a Montessori triangle. In truth, the two are not related. The Pikler Triangle is not a Montessori toy.
However, the Pikler Triangle does adhere to the Montessori philosophy regarding gross motor development. Simply put, permitting children to develop their gross motor skills at their own pace. Other similarities include that, like most Montessori toys, the Pikler Triangle is made of wood, simple in design, well built, and fosters your child’s imagination.
How can my child use the Pikler Triangle?
A Pikler Triangle is designed for children ages six months to 5 years old.
Six months might seem a bit young to be using a wooden climbing ladder, yet what’s important to consider is your toddler’s developmental stage. Remember, every baby is different. Some might already be veteran crawlers at this age, while others are still learning to turn over.
The lower rungs on a wooden triangle will be helpful to pull themselves up. Or you can simply suspend a few items from the rungs for babies to watch as they lay on their backs looking upwards.
At one year old, babies typically are mobile, either actively crawling or working towards walking. They can use the Pikler Triangle rungs to pull themselves up to a standing position. They can also use some of the triangle’s accessories, including the rock wall or slide, to help them with this developmental process.
Between the ages of 1-5, this climbing frame will be in full use. Whether climbing, jumping, balancing, or sliding, there are no limits to what they can do with these triangles.
How can a Pikler Triangle benefit my child?
What may look like a simple wooden “V” shaped climbing toy can offer hours on end of playing fun for your toddler, but the actual value of this toy reaches far beyond!
Developing Gross Motor Skills
The Pikler Triangle is a tremendous teaching tool for gross motor skills development. Skills such as sitting, running, walking, and climbing are the large physical abilities that all toddlers must master. Gross motor skills require whole-body movement and engagement of the core muscles, all of which this wooden triangle can help.
Honing Fine Motor Skills
A child’s fine motor skills involving the use of their tiny fingers and chubby wrists are also sharpened through the triangle. Examples include gripping the ladder rungs to grabbing the holds while climbing the rock wall. These actions will help future activities such as holding a pencil, fork, spoon, or cup go much more smoothly.
The Pikler Triangle is considered an ‘open-ended toy’ because it can be used in many ways. There isn’t a set way to play with it. It provides more opportunities for toddlers to engage in problem-solving and critical thinking. This wooden triangle can be anything from a small fort or the summit of a mountain; the choices are limitless.
Improving Self-Confidence Levels
The triangle can promote your child’s sense of confidence. Successfully pulling themselves up using the ladder’s rungs can lead to climbing to the top of the triangle within a few months. Each experience on the Pikler Triangle builds on the success of the last and can motivate your toddler to try new and exciting experiences every time.
Developing Critical Thinking Skills
Along the same avenue as self-confidence is the ability to think critically. As toddlers begin to explore and become familiar with their Pikler Triangle, they’ll soon be able to decide when to climb higher on their triangle or when it’s time to descend. When do they feel ready to use the slide accessory or simply stick with climbing the ladder? All of these decisions involve a child assessing the risk factor and making a decision based on that. This is critical thinking at its finest.
What are the different types of Pikler Triangles?
Variations on the traditional Pikler Triangle ladder design include the following:
Foldable Climbing Triangles
Designed with a bolt or pin on either side, this type of triangle allows you to fold one side in. Similar to our Olive Pikler triangle ladder and slide, this style enables these triangles to be folded (though not entirely flat) away quickly and easily. This type of triangle is ideal for a family whose playspace doubles as the living room!
Transformable Climbing Triangle
The Vicus triangle ladder with ramp is an example of a transformable climbing triangle. Its ladder legs extend to provide climbing ease for your toddler. Usually, transformable climbing triangles can be shaped into many different heights and angles to suit your child’s development needs.
A half circle or climbing arch is also considered a version of the Pikler Triangle. Our Balis climbing arch and ladder is shaped like the letter “U.” This wooden climbing frame can either stand or be flipped over onto its back, acting like a crescent moon rocking chair. Either configuration will offer your toddler several different options for playtime.
Pikler Triangle Accessories
Accessories, including ladders, rock walls, and slides, can elevate your toddler’s Pikler Triangle to new and exciting heights, literally and figuratively.
The ladder or climber (as it’s often called) is included with the Olive Pikler ladder and slide. It simply attaches to the rungs of the triangle. Its height can be adjusted by merely hooking it on higher or lower ladder rungs, depending on your child's desire for a difficulty level.
Often the climbing wall accessory doubles as a slide, as with the Juniper real wood folding playset. On one side, there is a non-slip mini climbing wall. Flip it over, and the wooden playset takes on a new meaning with a slide whose angle can be adjusted based on which level of rungs it’s attached.
How safe are Pikler Triangles?
The Pikler Triangle is an extremely safe toy. However, it’s important to remember that children are most safe when supervised by an adult. This doesn’t mean you need to hover over them as they run, jump, pull up, climb or slide down this wooden playset. Nor should it imply that the parent intervenes and places their child on the top rung of the triangle. Remember, the premise of the Pikler Triangle is that your child will only climb as high as they feel comfortable or safe. Here are some other critical points that you should consider before letting your child play on it.
- If your triangle isn’t sitting on a rug, placing a soft surface, such as a mat, under the toy is a good idea.
- Double-check all fastenings and hinges to ensure they’re correctly installed.
- Make sure you’re adhering to the weight limits of your triangle. The larger the playset's size, the greater the number of children and the weight it can handle.
- Always install your Pikler Triangle on an even surface.
Is the Pikler Triangle right for my child?
You may see the Pikler Triangle featured in playrooms on Instagram, in magazine articles featuring celebrities and their children, or in your local Montessori classroom. Regardless of where you see it, this 100-year-old toy has remained popular for a reason-it has universal appeal. So whether your child is fearful of heights or has mistaken the family sofa for a climbing wall, the Pikler Triangle is the best toy for them. Contact us at Avenlur we can help bring the joy of the Pikler Triangle into your home!