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10 Ways to Use your Pikler-Inspired Climbing Triangle To Promote Motor Development:

1. As an Activity Gym for your baby

Use linking rings to connect some of your baby’s favorite easy-to-grasp toys to the rungs and lie them on a soft blanket underneath. The beauty of using it in this way is it eliminates the need for an actual activity gym, reducing the number of baby gear items that can clutter your home and only be used for a few months. (We hope to see reaching and batting overhead by 2-4 months of age)

2. As a way to encourage reaching from tummy time

Use linking rings again to connect some of your baby’s favorite teethers or easy-to-grasp toys to the outside of the rungs, placing baby on a blanket facing the side of the climbing triangle. Moving the toys higher and higher as your baby gets stronger and stronger will encourage continued progress toward pressing onto extended arms in tummy time. (We hope to see pressing up onto extended arms by 4-6 months of age)

3. To promote sitting balance:

Many babies struggle initially with sitting balance because they topple backwards. My favorite trick for keeping babies stable while learning to sit is to present objects below eye level and in front of them. Stick their favorite stuffed animals or again attach their favorite toys to the bottom rungs to promote reaching forward and thus staying more stable in sitting. As they get more confident, move the toys up higher to promote upright sitting posture. (We hope to see independent sitting by 5-8 months of age)

4. For promoting crawling through Hands & Knees reaching:

Many babies spend quite a bit of time rocking in hands and knees before they’re ready to actually crawl forward. One of the best ways to strengthen their bodies in preparation for crawling is to encourage them reaching from hands and knees. Use the same setup as #2, but from a crawling position! Toys that make noise when hit or vibrate when pulled are great motivators for this activity! (We hope to see crawling on hands and knees by 9-11 months of age)

 

5. For creating a crawling tunnel:

Babies LOVE to go through tunnels and this is another great way to encourage crawling play, which has tremendous benefits for motor, visual, and neurological development! Throw a patterned muslin blanket over the top and watch your baby giggle with joy at being able to go through the “tunnel”. I love that the triangle is big enough that I can chase them under it, too!

6. To encourage kneeling play:

Playing on the knees is a great pre-crawling and pre-pulling to stand activity. Try looping play scarves through the rungs or sticking their favorite stuffed animals through the outer rungs to promote this skill! (We hope to see supported kneeling play by 6-10 months of age)

7. To nurture pulling to stand:

When pulling to stand begins, babies rely heavily on their arms, as well as their legs. The rungs of the climbing triangle provide an amazing support surface for pulling themselves safely up to standing. You might even see this happen when you’re trying out the kneeling play activity! (We hope to see pulling to stand by 6-10 months of age).

8. To teach how to safely lower from standing:

Many babies can pull to stand, but struggle to safely get down. A “plop” down is developmentally appropriate, but I love how the climbing triangle is a safe space to gradually walk their hands down to lower slowly to a seated position. Try giving your babe hand over hand assistance initially to motor plan this activity and use the verbal cue “let’s sit down!” so they know what you’re helping them do! (We hope to see controlled lowering from supported standing by 9-10 months of age)

9. To promote body awareness necessary for independent playground/climbing activities:

Toddlers learn by trial and (often) error how to best move their body to avoid injury. The climbing triangle allows your toddler to explore the limits of their independence in an environment much more controlled and safe than the playground. The triangle can be used as a bridge to building independent playground skills and will no doubt strengthen body awareness and core muscles required for reducing falls and enhancing upright balance.

10. To strengthen the arches of the foot for a more stable base of support:

Stability of your little one’s growing body comes from the ground up! The stronger the foot and ankle, the more stable and balanced they will be–ready to take on higher level challenges like running, jumping, and skipping! The tiny movements of the foot and ankle required to navigate the climbing triangle not only help with building a stable base, but also enhancing the movements required to remain balanced in standing or walking over unstable surfaces.

Have another idea to use your Pikler- Climbing Triangle? Share with us in the comments!

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