We want to be transparent: Think Differently About Kids may earn a commission when you purchase through our links.
As your little one is reaching their first birthday, you may be wondering what kinds of toys are best for their age. Climbing toys can be a great option, as they help promote physical development while also providing a fun time. We’ve collected some of the most popular and reliable options on the market – both indoor and outdoor climbing toys, so you can rest assured that your child will be safe and entertained. Keep reading to learn more about each one!
Climbing encourages motor skills, spatial awareness, and analysis of the environment. It comes naturally to toddlers and preschoolers so it is important that you provide them with play equipment or climbing toys for toddlers that will enable safe and fun climbing experiences.
1 year olds start learning to pull themselves up by grabbing onto something and will eventually learn to walk, this is why it is important they have a safe way to try and accomplish this. And that is where climbing toys come into play!
Soft Climb and Crawl Activity Play Set
These soft foam blocks in different shapes are very popular in daycare but also great for at home play. They are some of the best indoor climbing toys for younger toddlers. Kids can develop motor skills by pushing, crawling and climbing on them. When they can walk they can carry and stack them or help build little forts with them. A foam play set is the perfect starter to introduce young toddlers to kids climbing toys.
Wooden Cube for Climbing
The cute bear cutout tunnel will be a favorite for little children. They can climb through the tunnel or up on the climbing ladder. The cube gives room for multiple kids to play. It can be used alone or with an addition of a toddler slide to attach to it.
Foldable Triangle Climber with Ramp
This set is amazing for many ages of kids including one year old toddlers! It is veery modifiable. Want a fun slide? And a climbing wall? A triangle to climb? A cube? The height is adjustable which makes it perfect for even the very young kids.
Crawl and Climb Foam Play Set
Another perfect foam play set for your little one to learn to crawl, climb and slide. These foam blocks are great to play on and add to fort building. You can also make it a special place to read or just goof around.
We wanted to add this option here because it has been very popular amongst friends and our readers, being suggested many times.
Montessori Climber – 4-in-1 Triangle, Arch, Ramp, Rocker Set
You can be sure kids love this set. It is super sturdy and high quality! They might go through stages of what is their favorite piece of the wooden climbing structures at different stages of their gross motor skills but they’re all super fun! If you have two children it is also perfect because one might want to be on one piece while the other prefers a different one. This will be so much fun for younger and older kids alike! There can be a lot of imaginative play on this set and keep kids active when it’s raining or too cold outside.
Indoor Outdoor Crawl, Climb & Slide
This activity play set is perfect for a 1 year old learning to climb and pull themselves up. It will be a great climbing set and will provide hours of fun for a long time. In the beginning you’ll want to make sure to always be there as it is high for a 1 year old. Consider placing a mat underneath for added cushion in case your child slips while climbing.
Waldorf Climbing Play Tower with Slide and Chalkboard
We LOVE this climbing tower. It is also like a learning tower to give your child height to see and work on the counter with you or wash hands by themselves. A smooth slide that attaches can be additional fun for your young climbers. We really like how versatile it is and that 1 year old but also older children can use it to help because they are getting more height.
Waldorf Climbing Arch/Rainbow Rocker
A climbing arch that turns into a rocker? In bright colors? This is a hit among young toddlers. It is perfect for 1 year olds that are just trying to develop climbing skills as it is versatile in case they’re not there yet. For the time being they can use it as a rocker and play with it.
Peek-A-Boo Caterpillar Tunnel Climbing Play Structure
Want something really sturdy? This structure is on the bigger side but it is great for both indoor and outdoor use. It can be a really fun way for little ones to explore, crawl and pull themselves up during outdoor play. 100% it will keep your kids busy. Plus points if your kid love the caterpillar book.
Kids Jungle Gym Playset
We were looking at dome climbers but most of them are too big for 1 year olds or even 2 year olds to really make use of. This play set is a great option for a long term play area. The older the child gets the more they can use and play with it. This kind of climbing gym is great for practicing fine motor skills such as hand eye coordination.
We did see some people saying it was not as sturdy as other climbing sets. Therefore if you do get this set we recommend making sure all parts are there and secure, and also checking on it every now and then to make sure things are still in place after kids played.
Activity Center Playset
This is a wonderful play set for little kids starting at 1 years old. It has a plastic slide, a small basketball hoop, baseball and even a soccer goal. It is pretty small and easy to assemble, which makes it perfect as an introduction to toddler climbing toys.
Things To Consider When Finding The Right Climbing Toy
- Safety first! Ensure safety by watching out for sharp edges, broken or missing pieces when the items are delivered.
- Heavier wood climbing walls and toys usually have a more sturdy construction than light plastic toys.
- If the play structure is a bit wobbly, try to secure it to the floor or walls. A durable construction is of course always best.
- It is always beneficial to have mats or soft surfaces under or around play areas for soft landings and added safety in case your active toddler falls even from low heights.
- Soft climbing blocks for toddlers is a great introduction to climbing!
- Look at the height of the toy and especially the maximum weight limit. Some are much more suited for older toddlers than younger kids.
- Getting a climbing toy that is going to be challenging now but will be great for long term fun for years to come is a good investment especially when you have multiple children.
While stepping stones and balance boards are not for climbing, they work on similar skills and balance. To keep kids active, you could also consider a kids’ trampoline for toddlers or the whole family. Or check out our favorite outdoor baby swings.