When your baby reaches a year old, it is time you get a toddler climbing toy. This is the phase where your kid would be learning to crawl through tunnels, walk unaided, climb up steps and slide down slopes. He or she will also be mastering balance and coordination. So, try to get a climber that would allow them to develop different skills and yet, offers lots of fun. Apart from foam blocks, there are also plastic climbers which you can look at. Below are the best climbing toys for toddlers that we have come across:
Step 2 Naturally Playful Woodland Climber
For a toddler climber, the Step 2 Naturally Playful Woodland Climber is a little expensive, retailing for almost $300 at the time of writing. But it is larger than the cheaper models and hence, is better able to accommodate an older child. Therefore, your kid will get a few more years of enjoyment out of this rather than just a short year or two.
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The one thing we like about this Woodland Climber is the option to put in a sandbox underneath the deck. So, when your kid is older, you can buy a sandbox and leave it there for more play options. Apart from the steps, there are also 2 rock walls for older kids to climb to reach the deck which is about 27 inches from the ground.
Being a larger climber, it also means 2 to 3 kids can play together. It has a maximum weight limit of 240 lbs. It fits well outside with its natural colors and wall detailing and it is solid and durable enough to withstand exposure to the elements. You can also set it up indoors as the size is not overwhelmingly large at about 4 feet wide and less than 7 feet deep.
The drawback of this climber is that for the price, more variety of play could have been included. Perhaps, they could have incorporated an activity wall or a crawl through tunnel. But overall, it is a good quality outdoor climber for toddlers that will not be so quickly outgrown.
Step2 Naturally Playful Lookout Treehouse
From the Woodland Climber, you can opt for the Step 2 Naturally Playful Lookout Treehouse for something simpler and cheaper. Designed more for toddlers, the platform is only 19-inch high. The steps are easier to climb and the slide is also shorter. But the huge drawback is this would be very quickly outgrown. Buyers have complained that the kids could easily hit the roof after a few months as they grow taller. Then, you will need to buy another climber such as a climbing dome for your kid.
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On the upside, this has a much smaller footprint that you could easily fit this in your backyard. It measures just over 2 feet wide and about 6.5 feet deep. In fact, many parents keep this indoors so that their kids can have fun all the time playing with it. There is also a periscope on the platform that pivots 180 degrees.
The price is much more affordable for the Lookout Treehouse compared to the Woodland Climber but buy it when your kid is a year old to get the most out of it. It is perfect for toddlers but for those aged 2 or older, you would want to save your money and get a bigger kids’ slide.
Little Tikes School Bus Activity Gym
The Little Tikes School Bus Activity Gym is certainly a very interesting climber for toddlers. Because it is shaped like a bus, it also helps to kickstart a kid’s imagination for pretend play.
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We like the spinning tires which reveal numbers, letters, colors and shapes through a hole as you spin. It certainly seems that the manufacturer has cleverly inserted an educational aspect into this climbing toy while making it fun. The steering wheel also spins to give a sense of driving while the dashboard also includes clickers and buttons. The Stop sign at the side can be folded in or out.
The slide is 18-inch high. It has a gentle slope being designed for toddlers. The price is comparable to the Lookout Treehouse and it looks cute when put together. With 3 types of play – climb and slide, spinning tires and steering wheel, it is indeed a fun indoor climber for a toddler.
Step 2 Panda Climber
The Step 2 Panda Climber is similar to the Kangaroo Climber with a platform and a slide. Stable and safe, it has enclosures all round which helps to minimize the risk of falls. In fact, many parents buy this because of the safe design.
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Underneath the platform is a crawl through tunnel. Your kid can have some fun hiding there as well. There are climbing holes to reach the platform and an archway to make it look fun.
With a maximum weight limit of 100 lbs, the Panda Climber is 33.25 inches wide and 52.5 inches deep. Although it is not very big, some parents have complained about the difficult assembly. So, be prepared to allocate some time to get it set up. But if you are looking for a climber with more safety rails, this should be the best fit for your needs.
Which Toddler Climber Should You Buy?
If money is not an issue, we would suggest that you get the Step 2 Naturally Playful Woodland Climber. Although it is the most expensive, it would not be as quickly outgrown. Of course, if you are thinking of getting other outdoor toys further down the road, then it may make sense to get something simpler now and then replace it when your kid is slightly older. For this, a playhouse comes to mind. So, plan a head before you buy to avoid regrets!
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