As a parent, especially a first time parent, tracking your baby’s developmental milestones can be stressful and frustrating when your baby appears to be behind.
We went through a bit of this with our daughter.
At 9 months, our daycare performed the ASQ-3 test to test motor skill, communication, and other milestones. Sure enough, she was behind in most areas.
As suggested, we brought the test results to our pediatrician to get a professional’s perspective, and they suggested a physical therapy evaluation.
The most concerning area was that she wasn’t yet starting to crawl or pull herself up. However, at the physical therapist’s evaluation, we were told that we shouldn’t really be concerned yet; we simply had to keep working at it.
Lots of tummy time.
But we also wanted to work on climbing/pulling, so we evaluated what some of the best baby climbing toys are. In this post, we’ll go through the ones we considered and tell you all about them.
(Note: This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer at the bottom of the page.)
Best Baby Climbing Toys: Which ones should you consider?
While far from the cheapest option, the Foamnasium Gymnasium is one of the highest quality baby climbing toys you’ll find.
This “gymnasium” comes with four different components:
- 2 wedges
- 1 toddler step
- 1 large block
You can configure them however you want (and mix it up so that your child doesn’t get bored).
These aren’t cheap foam pieces – they’re really sturdy, firm enough to sit on, but still soft enough to play on safely. The vinyl covering also makes for really easy cleaning.
I think these are our favorite choice because they’re really conducive to a baby or toddler crawling and climbing. Really great for babies who are learning to crawl, pull themselves up, and beginning to walk.
And because there are different levels (and configurations), you can start using this for your child as early as 6 months all the way up until they are 2-3 years old.
Here are what a couple reviewers say about it:
Our toddler loves these. We have had them since he learned how to walk and he climbs on them, uses them as props to get to higher places, to rest (we all use the wedges to rest our heads on). They are good quality and look nice.
Must have for active babies! He lives climbing on them and they seem like they will last a long time. They are also easy to clean. Worth the $$$$
If you’re looking for something a little less intense (and a little less expensive) than the Foamnasium Gymnasium, the SoftZone Little Me Play Climb and Slide is worth looking into.
This is a great option for toddlers and infants who are beginning to crawl. Everything is sturdy, but soft, which makes for a safe environment to build those gross motor skills.
There’s a ramp to help work out early stage crawlers, and steps for more advanced crawling/walking/stepping.
If foam pieces aren’t your style, here’s something that offers several different ways for your baby to interact with it. Although this isn’t specifically just for climbing, it’s a great toy for your little one to explore and do some crawling/climbing.
This activity garden has a lot of bells and whistles, and can help with both gross and fine motor skills.
Here are some of the things we really like about the activity garden:
- It can convert to a closed in play center to an open “gym” really easily (i.e. without tools)
- There are lots of little things for your child to play with, such as opening doors and windows, a mirror, a learning clock, clicking bugs, an interactive telephone, and more
- For climbing/crawling activity, you can open it up and there’s an arch to crawl through (see picture above)
The only reason this one doesn’t make it to the top of our list is that it’s not strictly for climbing/crawling. On the plus side, however, if your baby isn’t crawling or pulling up yet, they can still enjoy this, so it works at a younger age than the foam shapes.
And finally, if you’re looking for something simple, inexpensive, but still fun to play with, the tunnel toy tent is an excellent choice. It’s a 6 foot tunnel that kids can crawl through. And you can use it indoors and outdoors (material is waterproof).
Even before our daughter could crawl, we would set her just inside the tunnel at one end, and we would pop into the other side…and she thought it was the funniest thing ever.
As your kid gets older and crawling through the tunnel becomes a thing of the past, this makes an amazing accessory for a fort (or to connect two forts together).
This is also great if you’re tight on storage space, because it folds up into a very slim circle that fits easily under your bed or in the back of a closet.
One thing to keep in mind is that this is very inexpensive (less than $14 at time of writing), and sometimes, you get what you pay for. Although we never had a problem with it (and it’s rated 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon) some people reported that after the tunnel was worn down, the circular wire inside of the tunnel’s frame starting poking through the fabric.
Don’t feel like buying anything?
I’ll admit, some of these baby climbing toys are pretty expensive.
If you don’t want to buy anything, one thing you can try doing is laying out couch cushions on the floor (if yours are removable). You can use pillows as well. This still gives your baby a soft climbing space that challenges them and helps develop those motor skills.
I think this goes without saying, but just make sure to always supervise your baby when playing on any of these climbing toys.
And although playing on these climbing toys isn’t necessarily a quiet activity (especially if your child is playing with siblings or friends), it’s still a great way to pass the time and kill boredom.
What do you think? What are some of the best baby climbing toys that you’ve experienced? Leave a comment below!