The Pikler Triangle – Everything You Ever Wanted To Know!

Click to buy the Pikler triange Triclimb

If you have come across a pikler triangle you may be wondering just what it actually is, what the benefits are and does your child need one? We’re here to give you all the answers to those burning questions and a few more besides! Lets dive straight in and find out more …

What is a Pikler triangle?

A Pikler triangle is a wooden climbing triangle, an indoor play structure to promote independent development of gross motor skills. Developed by Dr Emmi Pikler in the early 1900s, the Pikler triangle hasn’t changed much in terms of its basic form. Made up of two wooden frames which lock together at the top forming the triangular structure, with rungs for little hands to grip and pull themselves up on.

Children of all ages enjoy using a Pikler triangle
Triclimb in action. Image credit Siobhan Draper Etherington, Capture The Rainbow Photography

Dr Emmi Pikler developed a respectful parenting approach to raising children. Focused on giving them the time and space to practice physical challenges and develop gross motor skills at their own pace. The Pikler triangle is a developmental toy born out of this approach. Although there are many similarities and shared philosophies with the Montessori approach to learning, both concepts were developed independently. The Pikler climbing triangle has however become a stalwart of the Montessori nursery setting.

Emmi Pikler

Dr Emmi Pikler was a Hungarian Paediatrician and scientist who pioneered revolutionary childhood development theories. Her approach to early childhood development developed in the 1930s and 40s was based on a respectful parenting approach. Caring for babies and toddlers under 3 was her speciality, and her work focused on two main aspects of early childhood development:

  • Supportive, attentive and affectionate relationships with the main caregiver, with a focus on attachment.
  • Self-initiated, learning through play and natural development of motor skills free from adult interference.

This was very different from the traditional caregiving of the time and a shift towards a child centred model of caregiving. Emmi Pikler was passionate about providing opportunities for children to move freely according to their individual abilities.

Our Buddy Zee working on his gross motor skills with the Triclimb.
Our Buddy Zee working on his gross motor skills with the Triclimb. Image credit Ellie @pictureourday

Working with parents at home and with children within her own nursery setting, she rigorously recorded her observations as the children grew and developed. She discovered that the natural progression of motor development was self-initiated and didn’t require the interference of an adult. Moreover, it became clear that her methods could positively facilitate a child’s self-awareness and confidence in themselves and their environment.

What age is a Pikler triangle for?

There’s no doubt that children from toddler age through to preschooler’s benefit hugely from a pikler frame. Most are recommended from 6 months to 5 years depending on their weight limits. However, this isn’t an age determinate toy (provided they’re used within the safety guidelines).

Sleepy baby enjoying a snooze under the Pikler triangle.
Sleepy baby enjoying a snooze under the Pikler triangle. Image credit Siobhan Draper Etherington, Capture The Rainbow Photography

From parents of newborn’s using them as play gyms, through to older children using them as dens this is a truly open-ended toy that covers a huge age range. Many have a range of attachments that can be used alongside a Pikler. This can extend the interest and relevancy as children develop. The Pikler triangle offers children of all ages the opportunity to move naturally according to their inherent ability.

Is a Pikler triangle dangerous?

Pikler triangles are designed with safety and independent play in mind, which is very different from unsupervised play. With adult supervision the Pikler triangle offers so many opportunities for learning through play, encouraging independence and confidence.

Twins building their confidence with a Pikler Triangle Triclimb.
Image credit Sarah Ojar

Children left unsupervised face no more danger with a Pikler triangle than they would unsupervised climbing on furniture or playing with other toys. Babies and toddlers learn by doing, and this often results in a few bumps and bruises along the way. But providing a safe environment and with supervision, a Pikler frame is a great way for them to lean how to climb and explore in a controlled manner.

One of the most important aspects to remember is to let your child explore the Pikler triange in their own time and not to intervein with their learning. Every child develops at their own pace. While some toddlers may scale the triangle and hop over the top by age 1, others will take more time. This allows each child to learn and build their climbing confidence at their own developmental rate. They instinctively know what they are capable of and what they are happy doing. We just need to trust their instincts, supervise, and be there if they require any support.

Children develop gross motor skills at their own pace.
Image credit Elizabeth Loh

One of the key aspects to look for when choosing a Pikler triangle is compliance with safety standard requirements. Check that they are CE certified, independently laboratory tested and comply with EN 71 parts 1,2,3 and 8 regulations (Safety of Toys). We always recommend Triclimb as safety is such an important part of the design. Triclimb and all it’s accessories have gone above and beyond with safety standard requirements from research through to manufacturing.

Is a Pikler triangle Montessori?

This can be a matter of opinion, but in most cases the theories and applications of Emmi Pikler and Maria Montessori are aligned. Developed independently at similar times, both theories place the child at the centre of their own independent learning and developmental experiences. Many Montessori nurseries and childcare providers have Pikler triangles and it has been well accepted as a Montessori learning toy. Stimulating movement, self expression and creativity, a Pikler triangle as a perfect piece of apparatus for a Montessori setting. You can find our top Montessori toys at Babipur >HERE<

Pikler triangle in a Montessori playroom
A Pikler triangle is a popular choice for a Montessori playroom. Image credit Heather Calver

What’s so great about a climbing triangle?

The wonderful thing about open-ended toys is the ability of children to instinctively know what they want to do with them. There are no hard and fast rule. As parents we’re often blinkered by what a toy will do for our child. If I press that button the light there will flash, for example. With open-ended toys however, the only boundaries to play is imagination and creativity. This is true of the Pikler triangle. Lets take a look at some of the benefits:

  • Supports the development of gross motor skills at the child’s own pace
  • Encourages independence and builds self-confidence
  • A safe place to divert little climbers to a suitable place to practice their skills
  • Inspires creativity and imagination
  • Will grow with the child – children will use it in a way that is appropriate to their stage of development
Child playing on the pikler triangle outside
Image credit Maria Craib

A Pikler triangle can be an expensive piece of play equipment. However the benefits are clear – and they’re a lot of fun! It’s an investment in a toy that will last you child or children for many years. You can then pass it down to grandchildren or sold on when the time comes.

Should I buy a Pikler triangle?

“My toddler won’t stop climbing the furniture!” This is a common concern we hear from worried parents. Are you are looking for a safe and engaging way to channel this inbuilt desire to explore our surroundings? A Pikler triangle is a great solution. We can’t promise it will stop them climbing the furniture though! It will however make them safer and more confident climbers in the future. Some children are more active than others. A Pikler triangle is a great way to divert that energy while working on gross motor skills and grasping.

A pikler triangle is a safe way to divert attention away from climbing the furniture!
Image credit Sarah Ojar

How do you introduce a climbing triangle?

This will very much depend on your child’s age. For babies not yet sitting up independently put a soft blanket or playmat underneath you pikler frame for your little one to lie on. You can the hang toys or play scarves from the frame for your baby to reach up to, similar to a play gym.

For little ones beginning to pull themselves up or standing, make sure your pikler has plenty of room around it and place on a non slip surface. Even when weight is unevenly applied to one side A well designed pikler triangle such as Triclimb shouldn’t tip, .

Its improtant to give children space and time to develop their climbing skills at their own pace
Image credit Kristina Amalie

Children new to a Pikler can naturally be cautious at first. It’s important not to rush them, let them explore at their own pace. Their confidence will quickly grow. Modelling ways to play with the Pikler triangle yourself is a great way for children to learn about different play opportunities.

What’s the best Pikler triangle?

Well, we are probably a little biased but we think Triclimb is the BEST Pikler triangle. Winner of two platinum Junior Design Awards in 2020 and independently tested for toy safety, Triclimb ticks all the boxes and beyond. It is aesthetically beautiful and looks perfect in any playroom. Made in Wales it is a UK Pikler triangle, designed and manufactured to the highest ethical and environmental standards. Find out more about what makes Triclimb unique >HERE<

Click to buy the BEST Pikler triangle in the UK
Triclimb is a Pikler triangle which ticks all the right boxes!

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