PIKLER TRIANGLE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Perhaps you've seen the Pikler Triangle on Instagram or Montessori Facebook pages and wondered why people are raving about this thing. What is it anyway and for what age? Is it good for my child, is it safe? In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about the Pikler Triangle...and more!
What is a Pikler Triangle?
A Pikler Triangle is a climbing tool created by Hungarian pediatrician Dr. Emmi Pikler. It has two sides usually of rungs like a ladder for climbing and typically is used along with a ramp for climbing or sliding. It is designed and intended for a child-led approach- this means as parents you step back more and let your child lead the way. Never place your child on the triangle, no matter your child’s age or developmental stage. Allow your child to reach each milestone independently but under your supervision. However, if your child is asking for assistance to come down gently guide them off the triangle.
Who was Emmi Pikler?
A Hungarian pediatrician, infant educator, and orphanage founder. Her main finding is that freedom of movement leads to healthy physical development which in turn leads to healthy psychological development. Her research focused on early childhood, which is very much accepted by today's Montessori movement.
What are the benefits of the Pikler Triangle?
The Pikler Triangle has many benefits including aiding in your child’s gross motor development, confidence, and independent play, building creative play, and problem-solving skills. As we know gross motor play is directly linked to brain development, for more on this topic check out our blog here.
Gross Motor Development
Gross motor skills involve the use of large muscles. They help your child with big movements and important skills such as learning to sit, walk, run, and climb. As your child begins to pull up and stand then to climb the Pikler, they will develop their large muscles in their arms, legs, and core. The more time they spend climbing on the triangle, the more your child will continue to develop their muscles as well as their sense of balance and coordination. The Pikler Triangle offers a great opportunity to continue your child’s risky play when indoors. (If you’re wondering about the benefits of risky play, check out our blog article here.)
Each time your child interacts with their triangle they are making decisions. They will decide how high to climb and how to get down. As they make these decisions and learn about their own abilities and limits they build self-awareness and self-confidence which makes their climbing safer both on and off the Pikler Triangle. They gain self-worth as they independently develop new skills and reach new goals (goals they set by themselves!).
Being an open-ended toy, the Pikler Triangle offers your child both the opportunity for independent play as well as helping further develop their creativity. This climbing frame helps both you and your child. It gives your child a chance to lead their own play while you take the back seat. The Triangle together with the ramp offers your child limitless ways to invent new play, just watch as your child’s creativity takes over and the triangle becomes a tree or a house or a horse!
Problem-solving is a life-long skill your child will need as they work their way through daily life, school, university, and their future careers. As children use the Pikler Triangle they must test and adapt their climbing to solve problems and go up, down, over, and all around and through the triangle.
The benefits go beyond just for climbing. As an open-ended tool, the Pikler Triangle offers limitless opportunities for learning. It can easily be used to study movement by rolling objects on the ramp, it can be turned into an abacus for counting, and more.
Is a Pikler Triangle safe?
Children naturally want to climb as they explore and learn about their surroundings. Giving your child a Pikler Triangle gives them a safe place to climb. Instead of climbing a chair which can tip over, or a bookshelf which stretches to the ceiling, your child can be redirected to climb on their Pikler Triangle which was designed as a safe climbing frame. The Pikler Triangle was specifically designed so that children can easily get themselves out of positions they get themselves into. Trust your child while they climb, but be there to support them when they need. The more they climb, and the more they explore their own abilities and limits, the safer your child will be on their triangle.
It is recommended to place your Pikler Triangle in a shared living space where you and your child spend the most time and where you can easily keep close supervision. Instead of your child’s bedroom or playroom where they may play alone, place your Pikler Triangle in your living room to make for safe supervised climbing.
Always place a soft mat or rug under your Pikler Triangle. This gives an added measure of safety that is needed especially during those beginning climbing days.
What age is the Pikler Triangle for?
You may be wondering if my child cannot yet climb…should I even buy a Pikler Triangle yet? Surprisingly, the Pikler Triangle can be used right from the beginning up through 5 or 6 years old.
- 0-6 Months: Baby Gym. Early on the Pikler Triangle can be used in place of a baby gym, you can hang mobiles, scarves, ribbons, bells, or feathers from the top rung to strengthen your child’s focus and concentration as well as tracking and coordination.
- From 6 Months: Pulling Up. Beginning around six months, your child can begin using the lower rungs of the triangle to pull up and work their muscles and balance to get to a standing position. They may also begin trying to crawl under the Pikler Triangle using it as a tunnel.
- From 8 Months: Cruising. Babies become more motivated to move about as they begin discovering how they fit into their environment. As your baby begins to cruise, the Pikler Triangle is a safe supporting tool.
- From 12 Months: Climbing. As children’s muscles, balance, and coordination develop they begin climbing the rungs of the Pikler triangle, discovering their own abilities and testing and adapting their play. Parents should not put their child on the Triangle ladder, but only observe and guide, ensuring the safety of the child.
- Up to 5 Years: Climbing and Beyond. Once your child can climb up and down the triangle and ramp, they will begin to experiment with different ways of using it. They may try sitting on the rungs, linking their legs on the rungs to hang, climbing up and down facing forward-just to name a few.
As it is an open-ended climbing frame, the Pikler Triangle can be used in such a variety of ways, it is just up to your child’s imagination and unlimited creativity to figure out how! The longer you have the climbing frame the more creative your child will become with ways to use it. (Read our article for more references)
How and Where to set up my Pikler Triangle in our Home?
- When setting up your Pikler Triangle always make sure the hand screws at the top of the triangle are tightened.
- Ensure your triangle is placed over foam pads, or a soft mat/rug, and is a 1.2-meter safe distance from other furniture/ walls.
- Place your triangle in a common area so that your child can play independently but under adult supervision.
- If folded down, put your Pikler Triangle away in a closet or lay it down horizontally with tightened hand screws.
- Never lean it folded up against the wall as your child may try to climb on it in an unsafe way.
How do I support my child on the Pikler Triangle?
As your child begins to explore the Pikler Triangle it is important that they feel comfortable and safe as they being climbing. Never place your child on the triangle or push them to use it before they are ready. Instead, place the triangle in their play space and allow your child to explore it on their own terms. They may climb on it immediately, or they may take time to feel it out and get used to it before testing it out. It is important to let your child lead the way - it's called 'Follow the child'. If you are still wondering about how to introduce this climbing frame to your child for the first time, read our article here.
When your child is ready, they will begin to use the Pikler triangle and climb. As the caregiver, remain calm as your child is climbing. If your child is young and new to the triangle, you may want to be close to them as they climb for safety. Try not to touch your child’s body as they climb and avoid interrupting their focus. Make sure to let your child have the space they need to focus on their own climbing and to use the tool as intended: for child-led independent play.
Can I use my Pikler Triangle in any other ways?
Beyond just climbing, there is a multitude of ways to use your Pikler Triangle. You can easily throw a blanket over the triangle and turn it into a cozy reading tent. Hang a string of beads horizontally and it can be used for counting. The ramp is a great tool for exploring movement, either as it is or by covering it with different materials, your child can explore how objects roll down the ramp. You will be amazed by the ways your child uses their Pikler Triangle as this open-ended tool allows their creativity to bloom. For a full list of ideas on how to use the triangle beyond just for climbing, check out our blog article here.
Is it worth the money?
As your baby starts pulling up and climbing on furniture, the Pikler Triangle offers them a safe space to explore new skills. Beyond aiding in your child’s gross motor development, the Pikler Triangle gives your child opportunities for child-led independent play, building their self-confidence, problem-solving skills, and creativity. This climbing frame can be used for about five years and will be used consistently as your child discovers new ways to use it and develops new abilities. So, is it worth it? If we just take into consideration the benefits the Pikler gives your child the answer is yes a million times over! If we take into consideration our Pikler with its safe & certified materials, its durable and smooth finishing & on top of that our 2-year warranty policy, the answer is still yes a million times over. We have built it to make it last!
When purchasing your Pikler Triangle, remember the importance of good quality so that it can last and be used again for a younger sibling, cousin, or friend!