Whether your kid is merely reaching, rolling, and cruising or fully pulling themselves up and running and jumping to different levels, climbing is a natural behavior that has been proven to promote, among other things, strength, confidence, neuromuscular development, motor skills, and creativity. So you can’t really get mad at them when you find them chasing the cat to the top of the bookshelf or using the sofa to practice for the all-around competition at the 2032 Olympics. What you can and should do is provide an appropriate venue. These 8 toys offer an assortment of indoor and outdoor climbing and tumbling options to nurture your kid’s motor development and sense of exploration — and a reason for you to finally take that plastic wrap off the furniture.
It’s a tumbling mat! It’s a playhouse! It’s a tent! It’s a rocketship cockpit! This thing is like if you gave your kid a thing and they only wanted to play with the box the thing came in, only the box is the thing. Woah.
Design Skin Kids Transformable House Play Mat ($330)
Like all good IKEA stuff, this packs flat for easy storage then unfurls into a nearly 5-foot-long tunnel that helps your kid learn to sort sensory impressions and develop their motor skills. Set up some slalom cones on the other side and notify the American Kennel Club because there’s about to be a new agility dog champion in town!
IKEA BUSA Play Tunnel ($15)
Bobles says their foam animals can be used as furniture but are meant for climbing, tumbling, and play — a mixed message that could spell doom for your handsome new sectional. However, it’ll help your kid build motor skills through physical play, has no phthalates, won’t scuff the floor, and doesn’t make noise, so they at least care about you a little.
bObles Elephant ($123)
Just because your kid can waddle (sort of) doesn’t mean your work is done. Challenge their newfound footwork by seeing if they can go vertical. Kids have remarkable upper body strength for their tiny stature, so they won’t mind the climb. They will, however, dominate you in a pull-up contest.
Kids Pack Climbing Holds for Kids ($60)
Want to let your kid burn off some energy on a jungle gym but recently learned that “outside” is no longer considered a safe playing surface for children? Boom. Indoor climbing dome. Even if you have no problem letting the kid loose on the playground, it’s always good to have a backup for a literal rainy day.
Magic Cabin Wooden Indoor Climbing Dome ($190)
You’ve already started building your indoor playground, why not go all in? The good thing is, this is the last piece you’ll have to buy as it has everything else your kid could want on a playground: something to climb, something to crawl under, and something to slide down. Sorry, it only holds 100 pounds. Feel free to crawl through the tunnel, though, if you can fit.
Whitney Brothers Birch Laminate Slide With Stairs And Tunnel ($475)
Wait, wasn’t the last slide the last slide you’d have to buy? Yeah, the last stationary slide. This one folds up so your kid can slide anywhere (or you can put it away when they show a preference for the first slide). Actually, this could just be your outdoor slide. See? You totally need both.
Step2 Play And Fold Jr. Slide ($50)
Buy this set of high-density foam blocks and your kid can learn shapes, colors, stacking, climbing, tumbling — you’re practically guaranteed to never have to take them to a gymnastics class. At least not until they get invited to a gymnastics birthday party and you both learn there will be pizza and cake. Mmm, cake.
Wesco Tiny Tot Module Mini Crossing Kit ($360)