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Best Climbers for Kids: From Toddlers to Big Kids

Updated on April 16, 2014

Choosing the Best Equipment for Your Big and Little Climbers

I have two boys aged 2 and 7 and both of them like to climb. They both started young, climbing sofas and furniture (or at least trying to) then graduated to climbers outdoors and in the playground. My 7 year old still loves to climb and will climb anything from trees to onto of top of the car (he does get told off for this!) to climbers. My 2 year old loves to climb just as much. So as a Mom, I have had my fair share of experience with climbers.

This article tells you what my boys have liked about all the different climbers they have experience with so if you're looking for a climber for your child you may find some of the information useful. I will describe what my 2 year old likes on a climber and what my 7 year old likes too.

Photo is of my youngest son (aged just 2) on a Little Tikes climber.

Climbers for Toddlers

What My Toddler / 2 Year Old Likes On His Climbing Equipment

We have tried a few different climbers in playgrounds, playgroup and my son's nursery. These are the features he likes on his climber..

The right level of challenge - many toddlers love to climb. But I’ve found that it has to be something not too hard, otherwise I have to lift my son up and he won’t climb the equipment. Having said this if it is too easy then it won't hold their attention for long. Therefore the best climbers are ones that offer some different challenges as they grow.

Slides - kids love climbing equipment where you come down a slide at the end.

Steering wheels - many climbers feature a steering wheel toy and my son loves them. He's definitely not the only one. Little kids love to turn them and pretend to drive the car (or the boat/ship).

Tunnels - play equipment with a tunnel are always popular with my little boy. Kids love climbing through tunnels, and playing peek-a-boo. My son loves it when he climbs through a tunnel and I’m at the other end.

Height - my son loves things which are high up and he’s looking down. Having said this, I think some children may be a bit wary of something very high at first although they can grow into it.

Swings - my 2 year old loves swing so if it has a swing on the play equipment it’s a bonus.

Some Good Climbers for Toddlers

Here are some different climbers for toddlers aged from 1 upwards. They cater for the very smallest to preschooler age.

Step2 All-Star Sports Climber
Step2 All-Star Sports Climber

This is a great first climber for the very youngest of children. It is recommended from 2 years upwards but there are reviews of 1 year olds using this climber and I think to get the best use out of it, it's good to buy as young as possible and hold your child going down the slide. It features a rock wall style climbing ladder and a slide. it comes with an inflatable football, basketball and soccer ball and a basketball hoop, football toss and score keeper. My son has love balls since about 18 months so I think the balls will appeal to toddlers.

Step2 Naturally Playful Woodland Climber - Kids Durable Plastic Slides and Climbers, Multicolor
Step2 Naturally Playful Woodland Climber - Kids Durable Plastic Slides and Climbers, Multicolor

One of the things I really like about this climber is that it features 2 steering wheels which my son would love. There are also 2 rock wall like climbing sides. I think it looks like a good option for more than one child to play on at one time. There's also a ladder. There's a platform to stand on which provides a nice height to look down from a toddler's point of view. I think this climber should last a few years too.

Little Tikes Rock Climber and Slide
Little Tikes Rock Climber and Slide

What I like about this climber is that it should grow with your child. It's designed for kids aged 2 to 6. There are 2 climbing walls (easy and challenging). You can also reconfigure the climbing wall so it provides different challenges. For younger children there's a ladder to climb for the slide. It has 3 tunnels to crawl through and a steering wheel. And it has a telescope so great for imaginative play too.

Little Tikes School Bus Activity Gym
Little Tikes School Bus Activity Gym

This is such a well thought out climber and gym.which looks perfect for the littlest of climbers and is great for imaginative play too. My son would love this. Climb up on the bus and pretend to drive it with the steering wheel. There's a dashboard which is great for imaginative play and features clickers and buttons. There's a perfect sized slide and the tires spin to display numbers, shapes, colors and letters.


What Parents Want...

As well as a wishlist for a child, parents will have some requirements from the climber they want to buy. Here are some of mine. It's worth reading through the reviews before you buy your climber to make sure that it fulfils the criteria you would like.

Safe - this almost goes without saying but the top thing I would want as parent is for my child to be able to undertake a climbing challenge without any unnecessary risks.

Durability- Most parents will want something that’s going to last and be durable. Something that offers young children a wide range of things to play on but that will be able to offer something else as they get older so they don’t get bored of the toy.

Easy to assemble - always a bonus

Warranty - if you’re spending a lot of money you want something with a warranty.

Climbers for Big Kids

A Challenge- Big kids will like play equipment they can take risks on and provides a challenge. If it's too easy then they will lose interest quickly. My son likes to do things such as jump off a high swing or jump down from high up. He also likes to climb high as well as go on swings. Things such as monkey bars, rope ladders and balancing equipment are good ideas as well.

Playing with friends- My son loves to play with other children so it needs to be something he can play on with friends. They will make up their own challenges and games.

Picture is of my eldest son climbing!!

Climbers for Big Kids

Here are a couple of climbing options for bigger kids.

Step2 Skyward Summit
Step2 Skyward Summit

This climbing structure has 4 different climbing walls to give a variety of challenges. It also has 2 climbing cargo nets and floor net. You can peak out the hole at the top of the summit. Four kids can play on this at one time (there's a max weight of 320 pounds). It's recommended for kids aged 4 to 8 years old.

Lifetime Geometric Dome Climber Play Center (Primary Colors)
Lifetime Geometric Dome Climber Play Center (Primary Colors)

This climber is designed for kids aged between 3 and 12. Several kids can play on it at one time. It's 10 feet wide and 5 feet high and comes with a 1 year warranty.


Do you have any feedback on the article. Are there are climbers or other playground equipment you would like to recommend. Please feel free to add any comments below.

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