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Best Uses For A Pikler Triangle

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!

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In this blog post we will explore the 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.

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 climbing 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.

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. 

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! 

The Pikler Triangle and Slide has often been adopted in Montessori settings, as a child-led Montessori climbing frame.

How To Use A Pikler Triangle? 10 Best Uses

Only adults ever ask this question! These are our 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

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.’’ Jane Swain, ‘Pikler, Point and Periphery.’

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.  

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.   

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