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10 Best Uses For A Pikler triangle

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10 Uses Pikler Triangle UK - Caucasian girl in red dungarees, the toddler climbs over a PomPom Climbing Triangle, UK made

“What on earth is that?” we hear you shout. Great looking, get us one, but what is it?! You had so many questions about Pikler triangles in UK, we decided to sit down and answer them all for you!  

In this blog post we will explore the 10 Best Uses For a Pikler Triangle.  We will also look at the history of the Climbing Triangle as designed by Hungarian Paedatrician Dr. Emmi Pikler.  We will look at Dr. Pikler's child philosophies and indeed, answer the question, "which is the best Pikler climbing frame in the U.K. to buy?

What is a Pikler Triangle?

It is a triangular shaped, indoor climbing frame developed by a Hungarian Paediatrician, Dr. Emmi Pikler.  

It is a genius design; a fixed shape triangle with the perfect design proportions to allow young children to pull themselves up.  

It keeps toddlers active and curious while they learn how to climb safely.   In time it becomes a centrepiece of imaginary play. 

The structure is designed to give children the opportunity to learn how their bodies can move in different ways. It can be used from birth and enjoyed until children are 4 or 5.

Caucasian Baby climbs Pikler Triangle in bedroom in blue dungarees.  Caucasian Child lies underneath Pikler Triangle while second child climbs over the climbing frame.

Caption: (LHS) 12 month old enjoying the PomPom Climbing Triangle. (RHS) 4 year old and 3 year old using the PomPom Climbing Triangle at their Montessori-style Day Care. 

Who is Dr. Emmi Pikler? 

Dr. Emmi Pikler (1902-1984) was a Hungarian paediatrician who was working in Budapest, Hungary.  

Dr. Pikler ran the Loczy orphanage (1946-1979) to care for children who had lost their parents during the second world war.  Pikler observed the natural development of hundreds of children during this time.

Pikler is much less well known than her counterparts, Montessori or Steiner but her principles can be found in these pedagogical philosophies. 

However, her work is increasingly becoming known in the U.K. due to parental interest in the Pikler Triangle. 

Dr. Pikler developed a new theory on child development in 1940's while she was overseeing the well being of children in an orphanage.  

She maintained that all children have the right to be respected by their adult carers. This was underscored by the belief that young children should have the freedom of movement to move freely, develop at their own pace and celebrated as such. 

Dr. Emmi Pikler, a caucasian elderly lady, photo in black and white, who designed the original Pikler Triangle, an indoor climbing frame for toddlers

Caption: Image courtesy of @Pikler Institute of Dr. Emmi Pikler

What is the Philosophy of Dr. Emmi Pikler? 

Dr. Pikler believed that children should be encouraged to develop at their own pace, and given the freedom of movement to do so. 

Pikler observed that it is adults who put children into positions they could not otherwise reach on their own – helping a child to sit when they could not reach that position for themselves or holding their hands to walk.

As a result, it undermines the child’s own abilities and made them dependent on the adult.   

However, what Dr. Emmi Pikler noticed was that when children learn to move independently through their own consistent effort they gain independence, joy and satisfaction.  

Children should be allowed the space and time for uninterrupted and independent play, extolls parenting expert Janet Lansbury.  Pikler thought children did not need endless toys to entertain them, they were quite capable of, and enjoyed, amusing themselves.

Pikler created and designed the world's first indoor climbing frame for kids, the Pikler Triangle! 

8 Principles of Dr. Emmi Pikler, designer of Pikler Triangle. Her principles were; Respect, "with not to," Slow down, Positive Reflection, Freedom to Play, Focused Attention, Build Trust, Freedom of Movement

Caption: 8 Principles of Dr. Emmi Pikler

How to use a Pikler Triangle? 10 Best Uses

Only adults ever ask this question! These are our 10 best ways to use the climbing triangle and slide:

1) As a Pikler climbing frame
2) A crawl tunnel
3) A drying rack for doll clothes
4) A cosy nest for reading
5) A tent or bear cave - throw a rug over it
6) A car racing track
7) A step ladder for high shelves
8) A pirate ship and gang plank
9) A teddy bear’s catwalk
10) A garage for favourite cars and buses

What age is a Pikler Triangle for? 

A Pikler Triangle is for ages 6 months to 5 years.

6 Months Onwards:  A climbing triangle can be used by children as young as 6 months.  What is more important than age, is the developmental stage your child has reached and when they are ready to start using and exploring.

Of course every baby is different but some babies start crawling from 6 months, (it’s early but true). These kids will use the triangle and slide to assist with this.  Others are rolling by this age and may use the lowest rung to pull themselves over.  

6-12 Months Onwards: From 6-12 months babies may pull themselves up to stand and can use the triangle to do this, both the rungs and the slide.   

The crawlers will also pull themselves along the rungs of the slide or up and down off the smooth side of the slide, using it to sit or climb. On / off, On / off.  They will also crawl under the tunnel repeatedly. 

1-5 Years Old: Toddlers may also start to climb, indeed before then can walk.  

The triangle will remain in constant use until the child is 5 or 6 years old, as they will interpret it very differently.  It is an open-ended toy that inspires creativity,  imagination and independent play.

See above for the 10 ideas of ways kids will use the climbing frame when it is developmentally appropriate! 

What does a Pikler Triangle do? 

It allows kids to climb, jump and slide. It also sparks children's imagination.  As children develop, they will interpret the frame in many different ways and not just to climb, jump and slide!

Caucasian toddler climbs Pikler Triangle Slide and Black toddler slides down Pikler Triangle, UK made

Caption: Kids aged 4 and 2 happily play on the PomPom Climbing Triangle at their homes. 

Are Pikler Triangles Safe?

In a short answer, yes. However, children are safest when they are observed closely but without adult physical intervention.

Usually children will only climb as high as they feel safe and comfortable. If an adult intervenes, then often a child will reach heights they would not be physically capable of reaching on their own, and will more likely get 'stuck.' 

Trust in your child to enjoy the triangle at their own speed, and delight in what they CAN do! 

Essentially Pikler’s answer was that what the infant is capable of doing at a particular time is the perfect thing for him to be doing.’’ Swann

As children grow in confidence in their own abilities, they will become physically self-aware.  This is the exciting part, they will learn to understand their bodies and themselves – and the triangle will help them do this.  

Our climbing triangles are 59.8cms high and all child tested, which means an independent testing centre has deemed that they are safe for play.

What are the benefits of a Pikler Triangle?

A kids climbing frame and slide not only encourages children to climb, slide, jump and move but is also helps develop gross motor skills, which support balance, creativity, co-ordination and grip strength.

Gross motor (physical) skills are those which require whole body movement and which involve the large (core stabilising) muscles, such as climbing.

Fine Motor Skills are the ability to make movements using the small muscles in our hands and wrists, such as gripping the rungs of a ladder.  This will help with grip strength for pencils, pens and spoons, forks, knives.   

My second son Claude didn’t walk until he was 20 months old.  However, he could navigate any playground or Pikler Triangle better than most of his contemporary walkers; up and down ladders, through tunnels, up steps and down slides.   He knew his own physical limits and was confident in all his movements.  By 24 months he could run, jump, and use a balance bike and a scooter.” 

Personal Story (Cecily Henderson, Co-Founder, PomPom)  

My point is that children when left to develop at their own pace can achieve extraordinary things.  I wish I hadn’t spent any time worrying about his gross motor skills, he showed me every day how competent and confident he was and I should have celebrated that more, rather than comparing him to other children in the playground.  

I was always glad to have our Pikler triangle at home, as Claude never stopped climbing, and the triangle saved our sofa from his sticky mitts!

Why does my toddler climb on me?

A fabulous question!  This needs more than just a paragraph, so we have dedicated an entire blog post to answer this.  Climbing is wonderful for kids mental and physical health.

 

Which is the best Pikler Triangle UK?

We think the PomPom Climbing Triangle of course!  We know it is so hard to decide which one to buy. 

We were so inspired by Dr. Pikler, we wanted to create a version to suit modern life. 

  • It needed to be foldable to suit small living spaces.
  • We added 3 adjustable heights so it would grow with the child.
  • We designed a reversible Pikler Climbing Slide and ramp to enhance play

It is the world's first (and only) climbing triangle with 3 adjustable heights and has become an overnight bestseller! 

It won the 2021 "Best Toy 0-2" Gold Award in the Junior Magazine Design Awards and "best indoor climbing frame" from Made for Mums, 2022.  Now that is an accolade! 

Colourful Pikler Triangle, UK made sits in playroom with toy boxes

Author Biography:  Cecily Henderson is the co-founder of PomPom. Cecily has two children, ages 4 and 2, who both love (and fight over) their Pikler Triangle. The battle is who gets to slide down first! Cecily has written for DadsNet, the Telegraph, the Family Parenting Magazine amongst many other publications.  

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