Importance and benefits of Pikler Triangle for Toddlers
About Pikler triangle?
The original Pikler triangle is a simple piece of wooden play furniture made in the shape of an upside-down "V" that features ladder rungs on both sides. It can be used by babies and children of all ages (up to certain weight limits).
Infants can be placed on a padded surface underneath the triangle to enjoy soft toys suspended from the rungs above (similar to a baby gym), and can eventually use the rungs to pull themselves into a seated or standing position.
And then, of course, comes the really fun part: Older babies and toddlers can climb up, over and down. The triangles can be enhanced with slides, ramps and rock wall boards; they can be combined with other pieces of play furniture to create bridges; and, perhaps most importantly, they are the perfect starter piece for imaginative play (watch as your child turns the triangle into a fort, or a boat, or a lemonade stand, or a castle, or something else entirely).
The Pikler triangle was named for Dr. Emmi Pikler, a Hungarian paediatrician who specialized in early education and advocated for comforting play environments that allow children to develop naturally, at their own pace, with a major emphasis on free movement. The triangle was then popularised in the U.S. by Magda Gerber, another iconic early childhood educator known for a respectful parenting philosophy.
What are the benefits of a Pikler triangle?
To put it simply, Pikler triangles teach babies and kids how to move — how to stand and step, at first, but then how to balance, climb, reach, pull and fall. Children begin to understand their own strength and abilities, and gain a better control of their movement. They learn about balance, coordination and consequences. (You can look forward to a very proud parenting moment when your child starts to slip — but then catches themselves.) All of these physical and mental skills lead to increased confidence.
Dr. Pikler's work was rooted in the understanding that children who are allowed to move freely and without restriction are more careful and better able to manoeuvre themselves (and even fall) safely. On the other hand, children whose movements are restricted are put in more real-world danger because they have not mastered (or even experienced) their own capacities and limits.
For example, think about your child’s everyday activities like climbing up the stairs, walking along a curb, or stepping over some rocks by a stream: These seemingly safe events would be dangerous for a child without a strong sense of balance, limits, confidence and understanding of their own movement — and that's what the Pikler triangle aims to increase.
Plus, as with all types of open-ended play, Pikler triangles also boost creativity and imagination — the possibilities are truly endless. A longtime staple in Montessori and Waldorf classrooms, climbing triangles are now becoming a playroom (or living room!) essential that offer a safe, fun and beneficial play space that’s also affordable, convenient and compact.
What’s important to know when using a Pikler triangle?
Pikler triangles are considered safe when used under close adult supervision. (Read: Do not leave your child unattended while using a Pikler triangle.) It’s important to give your child some space to feel autonomous and independent during play, while also being close enough to deter any major falls from occurring.
You'll want to place the climbing triangle on a soft surface — opt for carpet when possible, and increase the padding with a child play mat or floor cushion. If your Pikler triangle is approved for outdoor use, soft grass makes a great play spot. (Plus, kids will enjoy added sensory benefits from the fresh air and feel of grass on their bare feet, which stimulates neural pathways, promotes posture, increases endorphins, and boosts connection to nature.)
What's important to know when shopping for a Pikler triangle?
Quality is important when purchasing a Pikler triangle, so be sure to purchase from a reputable company that stands behind their products and prioritises safety. Look for high-quality wood that’s properly finished (smooth = no splinters!) and made with non-toxic and child-safe paint or sealant. You’ll also want to be sure the triangle has safety features like a screw or lock that will prevent it from accidental folding while in use.
From there, it’s all about personal preference: There are a wide range of climbing triangles in various sizes, colors and designs to fit your lifestyle, your home and your family. You can check out our favourite pikler triangle with ramp by Kiddery
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