When you have a mobile 1-year-old, the best gifts are toys that keep them safe, happy, and provide lots of movement to get out their wiggles. As a mom of five (including three rambunctious boys), I’ve gone through my fair share of toys. Over time I have learned which toys will be loved and used, and which toys will gather dust. I’m here to help you pick out the best climbing toys for your toddlers!
Are you looking for an amazing gift for 1-year-olds? I’ve compiled a list of the BEST indoor climbing toys for 1 year olds along with some great options for outdoor climbing toys. Most of these climbing toys are good for several different ages, but I have chosen these specifically for tinier 1-year-olds or younger toddlers. They are the right size for a little kid who is ready to climb. These climbing toys will last several years and can (and will!) be loved with by older siblings.
I’ll go into more detail below, but if you are looking for the quick version, here are my top five, mom and kid approved climbing toys for 2021.
Why is climbing good for toddlers?
Climbing helps babies develop muscle strength, balance and hand-eye coordination. It is a physical activity that comes naturally as babies explore their environment. The key to helping babies develop this skill is to do it in a safe way. There are so many amazing toys available that will help your 1-year-old develop their climbing skills.
The right set of climbing toys will provide a sort of indoor playground when outdoor play isn’t feasible. And outfitting your climbing apparatus with appropriate safety measures will make for a much less stressful playtime.
Best Climbing Toys: Foam
There are TONS of foam climbing gyms available online at all different price points. I looked through them and found the best options. They are durable, easy to clean and include fun elements that your climbing 1-year-old will love.
The Grow-n-Learn Tunnel Climber has five pieces of medium density foam. What I love about this set is that it has both a taller and sturdier tunnel as well as a slide and stairs. These options will help this climbing toy last for years!
Amazon Basics Soft Play Climber has four unique foam shapes that can be hooked together with hook and loop strips. One of the pieces functions as a small slide. This would be a great introductory foray into foam climbing toys to see if your child likes them. They also come with a one year limited warranty.
A Foamnasium Blocksy Kid Couch is a unique and useful foam climbing toy. There are five foam pieces including two wedges. The Blocksy Kid Couch can be used as a couch (obvs!) but also stacked for forts, climbing and playing. A super fun gift for a 1-year-old who loves to climb!
Best Imaginative Play Climbers: Pikler Toys
The Pikler arch is a climbing toy that was developed by a Hungarian pediatrician named Dr Emmi Pikler over 100 years ago. Pikler toys have gone more mainstream and gained popularity because they provides hours of open-ended and imaginative play, help kids develop strength and balance, and are attractive to look at. You can’t go wrong with any of these Pikler-inspired climbing toys for 1-year-olds. They also make a great gift idea for kids up to age 4-5.
This Pikler Junior Triangle is a small size version of a traditional Pikler Triangle. It is only 25” tall and is a great choice for young children. This one includes an amazing ramp that serves as a slide on one side, or a climbing ramp/ladder on the other. Another bonus of this Pikler Junior Triangle is that it can fold up so you can store it under a bed or in a spare room.
Another option that will last a bit longer is this 43.5” tall Pikler Triangle. It also includes a slide/climbing ramp. I love the bright colors of this climbing toy and the fact that it can be folded up for easy storage. Depending on the size of your child, they should be able to use this bigger Pikler Triangle for years!
A Pikler Arch is another amazing climbing toy for 1-year-olds. This is closer to the ground, but still allows your baby to climb over and down. The arch can also be flipped upside down and used as a rocker. This climbing toy DOES have to be assembled, but reviewers mentioned that it is quite easy. You can also purchase a bundle with a Pikler Arch and a slide attachment.
Fun Buildable Climbing Toys
If you don’t have much space, buildable climbing toys can provide hours of fun and won’t take up your whole play area. These can be disassembled and stored in a bin or closet. I also love the versatility and extra play that BUILDING your climbing space will add. They are versatile climbing toys that are a great option for younger and older kids.
The Funphix Climbing Gyms toy is fun for two reasons…first you can build them and then you can climb on them! This comes with 80 tubes, 56 connectors, 160 screws and 2 keys. You can purchase platforms separately. I love that this climbing toy can be completely customized to your space AND your child’s abilities. Plus you can take it apart and store it in a bin. Sweet!
There are many soft play block options on Amazon, but not all of them are very sturdy. This set of Amazon Basics soft play blocks has great reviews. It includes 7 large play blocks that you can build into different configurations for your 1-year-old to climb all over. These will last for years as your child builds forts, stacks them and knocks them over, and climbs them.
I can’t get over how adorable the SoftZone Tree Tunnel is. The reviews on this one are amazing, it is durable, large and kids love it! Although it’s not a “typical” climbing toy, 1-year-olds will definitely be climbing all over this! The tunnel aspect is super appealing to kids of all ages as well.
Outdoor Climbing Toys
Keep in mind that all of these toys CAN be used indoors if you have the space. However, the following climbing toy options are traditionally for outside play
First up is a 6-foot diameter climbing dome The height of this dome is only 3 feet so it works excellently for 1-year-olds who love to climb. Like most dome climbers, this is made of steel and is sturdy enough to hold 700 pounds (that is a whole lotta 1-year-olds!). This climbing dome has a 3 year warranty. You have to assemble it (best if you have two adults). I love that this can be used as an inside or outside climbing toy.
Little kids LOVE Bounce houses! Not only are they SO much fun, they are also a fantastic way to get the wiggles out of kids of many ages. He/she will be able to climb and slide to their hearts content! This bounce house has two slides, a basketball hoop and a climbing wall. It could be used indoors or outdoors, but will last longer if you only use it indoors. This climbing toy is great for ages 1-9!
This 3-in-1 plastic slide would make an amazing climbing toy for 1-year-olds. Not only does it come in six different animal designs, it is also quite long and very sturdy. The climbing steps are 28” high, and the slide itself is 53” long. One side has a basketball hoop, there is a tunnel for climbing beneath and of course the stairs and slide. And believe me, if you have a 1-year-old there will be plenty of climbing UP the slide. This is another outdoor climbing toy that can be used as an indoor slide if you have the room.
Climbing Toy Must-have Accessories
Anytime we are talking about toddlers and climbing your mind will naturally move towards safety. There are accessories that you can purchase to help make any possible falls less dangerous.
EVA foam floor covering. If your climbing toy will be on a hard surface,interlocking EVA foam floor mat will help to cushion falls somewhat. This foam is 3/8-inch thick, soft and colorful. It can cover an area as large as 6’ by 6.’
If you want more cushion, another great choice is this two inch tri folding mat with handles. It comes in different colors and should provide a good amount of softness for falls.
A four inch mat will help soften a fall from a climbing toy, but make sure that to purchase a size that fits perfectly underneath your climbing toy.
A toy for a toddler that will keep them occupied, help them build strength and coordination AND will last for years?! Climbing Toys are really an amazing gift for your 1-year-old climber. These top picks are sure to be a hit with your baby, toddlers and preschoolers alike.