15 Best Indoor + Outdoor Toddler Climbing Toys: Montessori, Plastic, Foam, Wooden

Toddlers are the ultimate explorers, constantly on the go. Sometimes this means that they’re climbing on things like couches, railings, and dining room tables — areas where they might get hurt. Finding safe climbing activities for toddlers doesn't need to feel impossible though! We've rounded up the best toddler climbing toys to channel all that little kid energy appropriately!

Discover how to choose the best toddler climbing toys, benefits of climbing for kids, and our favorite toddler indoor and outdoor climbing toys below!

Best Indoor + Outdoor Climbing Gym: Avenlur 6-in-1 Jungle Gym

If you’re looking for a toddler climbing toy that has plenty of features to keep your rambunctious kid engaged, then the Avenlur Outdoor / Indoor Toddler Gym is a great investment. It's recommended for 2 year olds and up.

Along with climbing ropes, a swing, monkey bars, a slide, and ladders, you also get a kid-friendly rock climbing wall.


This set is made from pine wood with a varnish that makes it usual both indoors and outdoors.

If the Avenlur is sold out (or you're just looking for something a little cheaper), then we recommend this one. It doesn’t have quite as many features (no rock wall, rope ladder, or swing), but it’s also costs a bit less too.

Pros
  • Large variety of activities in one toy
  • Smal enough play gym for indoor use
  • Varnished for outdoor use 
  • Encourages endless hours of screen-free play time
Cons
  • May need cushioning underneath structure for indoor play to prevent injuries from falls

Best Baby Climbing Toy: ECR4Kids SoftZone Climbing Blocks and Crawl Activity

Finding baby climbing toys that can grow into effective toddler climbing toys is no easy feat. However we love the ECR4Kids SoftZone Toddler Climbing Blocks for just that. They feature soft foam toddler climbing blocks that can be used indoors or outdoors in the backyard. It comes with five geometrically shaped colorful blocks in a few different color options:

Rest easy that the foam is CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD GOLD certified safe against harmful off-gassing. The simple blocks can be easily kept clean by wiping them down with a damp cloth. As children get older, they can stack, lift, and carry the blocks — helping to build gross motor skills.

ECR4Kids offers a ton of other soft toddler climbing toys in their softzone line, so you can also add tunnels and other features to this as kids get older! 

Pros
  • Ideal for very young toddlers
  • Great for indoor or outdoor play
  • Easy to keep clean
Cons
  • Add-on pieces may get expensive (see next pick on this list though!)

Most Affordable Foam Climbing Toys for Toddler + Baby: FDP SoftScape Multiple Purpose Soft Foam Climb Play Set  

Once your baby has graduated from ECR4Kids SoftZone blocks, you may want to look into this foam climbing set as a more affordable add-on alternative! It's six pieces that can be configured in various ways for multifunctional fun and toddler playdates. We like that the half-circle foam shape folds out to become a seat – parents with back problems will also like the stretch it provides! It comes in five colors:

These pieces are made to be durable thanks to the reinforced polyurethane material and textured base that prevents slipping and sliding. You’ll also like that you can easily clean these pieces with a damp cloth or cleaning solution. This play set is perfect for both home and preschool use, and is also GREENGUARD GOLD and CertiPUR-US certified for low emissions. Note though that this set is rated for children from six to 24 months of age. 

Pros
  • Great for infants and younger toddlers
  • Foldable seat is part of the six-piece set
  • Helps develop mental and physical skills
Cons
  • Not ideal for toddlers older than 24 months

Best Toddler Indoor Climbing Toy for Montessori: Pikler Triangle

While the Pikler Triangle isn't officially montessori, (it was created by Dr. Emmi Pikler a physician in the early 1900s), it has become a go to indoor climbing toy for montessori parents. It fosters independence, concentration, learning physical limits all while working gross motor skills as early as six months old and can be used all the way until the child is 6 years old at least.

There are loads of pikler triangle options on the market. This is the one we personally purchased due to its height (I felt it would last the longest as kids grow), but you can see all my picks for the best pikler triangle here depending on budget, intended use, and add ons.

Pros
  • Large variety of activities in one toy
  • Safe for indoor or outdoor use 
  • Encourages endless hours of screen-free play time
  • Fosters independence, concentration, learning physical limits and balance, gross motor refinement
Cons
  • Children should always be supervised

Best Backyard Outdoor Climbing Toy For Toddlers: Eezy Peezy Monkey Climbing Tower

If you prefer that your toddlers do their climbing outside, this miniature jungle gym is a great choice! The Eezy Peezy Monkey Bars Climbing Tower is one of our favorite outdoor climbing toys! It's an excellent way to help kids burn off that endless energy!

While it's recommended for ages 3+ (safety standards/certifications), we like that this climbing tower will last for years, they suggest up to 10 years old.

You’ll get plenty of mileage out of this climbing toy before it’s time to retire it! This pick is also safe for permanent outdoor installation and is rust- and fade-resistant. Plus, it can support up to 150 pounds so multiple children can play on it simultaneously. 

Pros
  • Can be installed indoors or outdoors
  • Large age range from 3 to 10
  • Supports up to 150lbs for simultaneous play
Cons
  • Confusing instructions regarding anchoring: In one spot it says it should be anchored, in another it says no anchors required and it doesn't come with anchors. It does weight 27 lbs and measures 70″ x 70″ so it should be pretty sturdy. We found this review to be the most helpful if you're nervous about the anchors vs no anchors debate.

Best Playhouse Climbing Toy: Little Tikes Rock Climber & Slide

If your little girl or boy prefers a little whimsy with their climbing toys, you'll love the Little Tikes Rock Climber Slide. The colorful playhouse is great for both indoor or outdoor use and features plenty of kid-friendly challenges to engage the mind and body. This toy is rated for children from ages two to six. 

Along with three crawl-through tunnels, a slide, and two climbing walls you can also opt to mount a telescope and steering wheel for even more fun. We also like that you can adjust the slide height so that this toy truly does grow with your tot. 

If it's a little on the pricey side for you, you'll be happy to hear Little Tikes makes a ton of plastic toddler climbing toys that are affordable and durable. Including a mini version of this pick that's suitable for 1 to 4 years old, without quite as many bells and whistles. You can check it out on Target, Amazon, or Wayfair.

Pros
  • Adjustable slide ensures this toy grows with your child
  • Can be installed indoors or outdoors
  • Two climbing walls and three tunnels
Cons
  • Assembly can be difficult
  • Some parents report the steering wheel falling off

Best Waldorf Climbing Toy: Wooden Rainbow Arch

For parents looking for a beautiful waldorf inspired climbing toy, the Cassaro Jumbo XXL Viking Climbing Arch is perfect! Following Waldorf, it uses the colors of the rainbows on the rungs and no right angles for the ultimate sensory experience. Along with the vibrant colors, this is a multipurpose toy that can be repositioned for endless fun. 

When set on the colorful slats it becomes a rocker boat. Add the pillow and it becomes a faux hammock. But turned upside down, it becomes a fun mini climbing toy. On it's side, many toddlers love to use it to play “store” or “cafe.”

Best of all this arch supports up to 200 pounds, is CPSIA Certified, and safe for children ages three and older. If your toddler really loves it, you'll be happy to hear you can get a matching pikler triangle and ramp too from Cassaro too!

Pros
  • Multifunctional design offers endless hours of playtime
  • Colorful and sturdy design that supports up to 200 pounds
  • Encourages collaborative play
  • CPSIA Certified
  • Waldorf aligned
Cons
  • Assembly required and may require at least two people

Best Budget Climbing Toy For Indoor + Outdoor Use: Little Tikes First Slide Toddler Slide

Sometimes you can’t go wrong with a classic choice. This Little Tikes First Slide Toddler Slide is easy to assemble and can work for indoor or outdoor purposes. Nostalgic parents will appreciate the red and blue slide which is fairly easy to assemble.

Parents with limited space will like that this slide can be folded down for easy storage in a closet or the garage. Little Tikes recommends that only one child uses it at a time and notes that it supports up to 60 pounds.

Having been on this myself quite a few times (my friend has it for her kids to get in and out of their trampoline), I can say this: you can go on it if you weigh more than 60 lbs, but it's very lightweight and not anchored, thus it can (and will) easily tip over if you do not follow Little Tikes safety recommendations.

Pros
  • Compact storage and portable 
  • Great for younger children just learning to use a slide
  • No tools required for assembly 
  • Multi-purpose use
Cons
  • Front of slide may lift as children climb ladder

Best Climbing Toy For Small Spaces: Stepping Stones

Don’t have the space for a larger climbing toy? Consider this cute Stepping Stones for Kids kit which features 11 non-slip “stones” designed to help improve your child's balance and coordination. We like that the brightly colored pieces are rated safe for children as young as three while older kids and even adults will appreciate them for both play and exercise.

They are an easy set up and clean up. The stones are even stackable for easy storage or a bigger gross motor challenge!

You’ll get four small, four medium, two large, and one huge stone. Children can make new configurations every time they play with these stepping stones. 

As a cheaper alternative and close runner up we love this set which doesn't come with as many stones – nor do they stack – but you do get 24 activity cards, if you're unsure what to do with stepping stones. The stones are a little bigger too which may make it easier for some toddlers, but won't last as long as the others.

Lastly, if you prefer wooden climbing toys, we are big fans of everything Piccalio has to offer, including their stepping stones. You can use code TCM to get 10% off your order too!

Pros
  • Compact, space-saving solution
  • Encourages balance and coordination skill development
  • Durable plastic construction safe for indoor and outdoor use
Cons
  • Color may fade prematurely

Best Montessori Climbing Toy For Small Spaces: Wooden Balance Board

While a wooden balance board wasn't officially created by Dr. Maria Montessori, it has become a favorite toy for montessori at home families. It's simple, builds concentration, fosters independence, encourages creativity and works gross motor skills.

This is the exact one we've had for about two years now – but we also recommend this one from Piccalio and you can get 10% off with code TCM! Children will love the rocking motion it creates while they work to maintain their balance and develop their core and gross motor skills. 

The board we have measures 31 inches in length and is 11.8 inches wide. It's pretty lightweight and can be moved around easily. It's sturdy enough that we as parents can use it too. Our toddler uses it to practice balancing, pretends it's a boat that she rocks on, uses it as a step stool when working at her easel, and has turned it on it's side for hide and seek or “theater” time.

We've also used it for STEM lessons like building a ramp for egg rolling or racing cars. It's a much more cost effective (and space saving) alternative to the waldorf climbing arch previously mentioned on this list!

Pros
  • Promotes gross motor skill development 
  • Can support a wide weight range
  • Great for kids and adults
Cons
  • It's a little short to “slide” on for older toddlers

Best Climbing Toy To Grow With Your Child: Ninja Warrior Backyard Obstacle Course

If your toddler loves a good challenge and moves through climbing things pretty quickly they'll probably love this Kid’s Ninja Obstacle Course. As a parent, you'll appreciate that it includes a ton of items that can be put up and taken down (or you can build an awesome obstacle course) to really LAST for years with your growing child.

The kit can be set up anywhere as long as you have two sturdy objects to connect the obstacle course to. It comes with a training line, two gymnastic rings, two fist holds, two monkey bars, 15 safety strap buckles and delta rings, a 35-inch bridge obstacle, and a 68-inch wooden rope ladder. The ladders are made from high density wood for added durability.

With a total weight capacity of 440 pounds, plenty of children can play with this at once and adults can even get in on the action, making it fun for the whole family! For young toddlers, we suggest starting with just one or two items up like the monkey bars or the rope ladder (note: you'll want to stabilize the rope ladder when first introducing it as they learn to balance).

NOTE: We chose this one because it truly is the best climbing focused set up; however they offer variations that come with a fewer climbing options, but offer a swing instead. So it really just depends on how into climbing challenges your kid is, versus whether or not you'd want to work on other things too.

Pros
  • Encourages customized installation 
  • Great outdoor activity to support gross motor skills
  • Large 440lb weight capacity
Cons
  • Some of the items may be too advanced for younger toddlers

Best Climbing Rope Toy: Jungle Gym Tree Climbing Rope Swing

Who doesn’t love a rope swing? Let alone one that can be climbed!? The Jungle Gym Kingdom Rope Swing combines the classic gym rope climb with a swing seat to make it the ultimate outdoor fun. The disc swing seat has textured climbing platforms, which make it easier on the hands than a classic rope climb, as well as a four-foot polyester tree strap with a locking carabiner. 

This toddler climbing toy comes in five colors and is easy to assemble. It can support up to 150 pounds. Meaning your children can continue to use this — even once they’re out of the toddler stage. We like that this is intended for outdoor use and is weather resistant.

Pros
  • Large weight capacity ensures this grows with your child
  • Easy assembly 
  • Adjustable design to lengthen or shorten the rope
Cons
  • Smaller toddlers may have a hard time balancing their weight on the disc swing seat at first

Best Climbing Wall: Safe-Kids Climbing Net

My toddler is obsessed with rope ladder climbing walls! We love the Cargo Climbing Net from Safe-Kidz which is a nice rope climbing wall that will last. It's made from solid polyester for added durability and features Bilt-2-Last connectors for a stronger hold. Safe-Kidz promises that the rope won’t rot, crack or splinter with use. And the rope is UV-resistant, making it safe for outdoor installation.

We like that it can be used as a climbing wall indoors or outdoors – with modifications of course to safely secure it to wherever you choose (e.g. don't just throw it over a beam in your home!). Many families did it as an add on to a playground:

It measures 96 inches long and 30 inches wide, and we like that this toddler climbing toy comes with the drill bit you need to safely install it. The climbing net supports up to 150 pounds and is rated for children ages three to 10. 

Now if you're looking for more of a “rock climbing wall” situation, what we found is this set of 12 pieces that turns any tree into a rock climbing wall, which is pretty cool! It's also super cost effective, and doesn't require as much hassle as the rope climbing wall.

Pros
  • Covers a large age range from 3 to 10 years old
  • Comes with instructions and necessary drill bit
  • Reinforced rope for added durability
Cons
  • Not ideal for younger toddlers

How To Choose Climbing Toys For Toddlers:

Picking the right climbing toy for your toddler is a combination of understanding your child’s skill level, considering where you want it to go, and determining whether the materials are safe and durable. Of course, you also want something fun that can grow with your child and won’t be useless after a few months. 

Purpose:

Obviously the purpose of a toddler climbing toy is to burn some of that toddler energy while refining gross motor skills. With that said, when choosing a toddler climber, do you want it to serve a single function or multipurpose?

For instance, a toddler climbing wall is great, but they will only do that same climb over and over again. If you're adding this to a playground or side of your house, it's great and will grow with your child!

However if you're looking for a kids climbing toy that offers some creativity and imagination, they may prefer a soft climbing toy like this or a montessori climbing toy like this one or this one that can be used a variety of ways mentioned above.

Where you plan to put it: 

Knowing exactly where you plan to put a toddler climbing toy can seriously narrow down your options alone. You'll want the exact measurements of the space to ensure the footprint of the toy isn't too large.

There are a variety of important factor to consider, and fortunately there's a toddler climbing toy on the market for every home size.

A couple of things to consider: Are you looking for a toy that can be left outside in the backyard permanently? Or do you want a toy that can be disassembled or folded down easily and stored out of sight between uses?

Typically, climbing toys designed to be portable or easily stored aren’t made from weather-resistant materials. So, you might not want to get them wet or leave them indefinitely under direct sunlight. In contrast, toys designed to be left outside might be too bulky to leave in your living room. 

If you have a dedicated play area that isn’t multipurpose, then opting for a more permanent indoor structure might make sense. Meanwhile, if your living room pulls double duty as a play space during the day, then a temporary climbing toy like collapsible crawling tubes and pop-up tents might be a smarter investment. 

Material: 

Beyond determining whether a toy is intended for indoor or outdoor use, you also want to consider durability, safety, and how easily you can clean the toy. Obviously, toddler climbing toys intended for exclusive long-term outdoor use are going to be made from more durable materials such as finished wood, BPA-free plastics, and even weather-treated textiles. 

While all of those materials can also be found on indoor climbing toys, you can also opt for soft-sided crawling tubes. But in this case, you’ll want to prioritize rip-resistant materials. 

Just be careful with wooden climbing toys, as some are not finished making them not great for long term outdoor use unless you finish them with a sealant.

Regardless of whether you opt for indoor or outdoor toys make sure that they can be easily cleaned. You should be able to wipe down hard-sided climbing toys and ideally spot clean or fully wash soft climbing toys. 

Skills/Development: 

At a minimum, climbing toys are designed to help build and strengthen your child’s larger muscle groups. This falls under the category of gross motor skills development. 

But they can also encourage problem solving and cognitive develop as they figure out how to maneuver obstacles.

Some kids climbing toys offer fine motor skill development as they manipulate their hands and grip through various holds.

And, if you have more than one child, or often invite other children over for playdates, a good climbing toy can serve as a way for children to work on social skills like taking turns and sharing.

Consider which of these are important to you and look for them when selecting your toddler climber!

Safety:

Toddler climbing toys can make a lot of parents uncomfortable. I speak from experience as multiple people have gasped as my 18 month old climbed to the top of her pikler triangle and sat there. Safety is always a top concern, especially when kids are climbing!

You'll always want to supervise your toddler and kids while climbing. Beware of the manufacturer's age and weight recommendations and follow them accordingly. Look at the product and see if it has any safety certifications for an added level of comfort.

Also be sure that there aren’t any choking hazards or rough edges that could also create unexpected injuries. 

If you buy an outdoor toddler climbing toy, be sure to follow all installation and mounting instructions so that the toy is stable and doesn’t pose the risk of tipping over, especially while your kids are on it. 

FAQS About Toddler Climbing Toys

Are climbing toys safe?

Assuming you pick a climbing toy that’s compatible with your child’s age and weight, yes they are generally considered safe with adult supervision.

Climbing toys help to engage and enhance your physical and mental skill sets. 

This includes fine and gross motor skills, as well as problem solving, hand-eye coordination, critical thinking, and strategy development skills. And for group play, you can also include language development. 

Why is climbing important for toddlers? 

We all know that for adults extended periods spent sitting is bad for their health. But the same can be said for toddlers. Especially at a young age, it’s important that toddlers build up their physical strength and improve their gross motor skills. 

Climbing allows toddlers to do that, plus enhance mental acuity, all in a fun and low-stress environment. Getting and keeping children active from an early age can help to reduce the risk of developing childhood obesity. 

Benefits of climbing for toddler:

  • Refine gross motor skills
  • Build strength
  • Hone spatial and directional awareness
  • Increase hand-eye-foot coordination
  • Learn physical limits with balance
  • Boost agility
  • Problem solving
  • Reduces stress and acts as a positive coping skill
  • Builds self reliance and confidence
  • Increases concentration and focus
  • Stretches the body
  • Increases respiratory and cardiovascular strength

Are climbing toys good for toddlers?

Yes! Climbing toys provide a developmentally appropriate and safe space for toddlers to climb instead of the window sills or furniture in your house!

Babies begin to work on the skills they’ll utilize for more challenging climbing around 6 months old when they are learning to pull themselves up. This is why many Montessori parents choose to get a Pikler Triangle as a safe climbing activity for baby and toddlers around that time.

Climbing toys provide toddlers with the opportunity to build self esteem, balance, coordination, and so much more as noted above.

How do you entertain a climbing toddler?

You don’t really need to entertain a climbing toddler. Dr. Maria Montessori talked about “sensitive periods” that toddlers go through, including the sensitive period for movement. If your toddler is obsessed with climbing everything in your home and it’s driving you crazy (we get it!) the climbing toys on this list should provide some relief!

Remember there are a lot of development components that go into climbing (pulling up, balance, reaching, etc.) so stepping stones like these or these (use code TCM for 10% off!) make a great option for playing games if you want to focus their climbing efforts a bit more! You can have them start on hardwood floors, then move to a foam mat, then grass to make it more challenging.

Final Thoughts:

With all that energy, toddler climbing toys can create the perfect outlet to let little ones release it safely. While you should pick an age appropriate climbing toy, the good news is that many of the toys available today are designed to grow with your child so you get more mileage for your investment. 

If you want an all-in-one solution, the Avenlur 6-in-1 Jungle Gym is a great 360-solution that works for indoor and outdoor setups. Meanwhile, if you want a space-saving solution that’s also great for all environments, the Little Tikes First Slide Toddler Slide is a smart choice and wallet-friendly too.

With that said, my personal favorite is the Pikler Triangle as it folds up, provides a few options (rope climb, rock wall climb, wrung climb), and can be used from 6 months to 6+ years old!

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