Updated on January 4, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
Is your little one finding every surface to climb, jump, flip, and swing on? Are they showing off their new skills from gym or acrobatics class, or taking some lessons from American Ninja Warrior episodes to develop their obstacle course skills? If so, it may be time to help them practice in a safer context other than the bathroom doorway. Here are our eleven favorite toddler rock climbing walls, so you can save your house from some serious damage:
Toddler Rock Climbing Walls for All Ages
(Best budget option — $)
The Ninja Tree Climber contains six easy-to-set-up ratchet straps that click right onto your favorite tree. They’re pretty strong, too, as many parents attest to climbing on these without fail. They attach using a ratchet tie-down strap and are easily adjustable for a multitude of climbing adventures. This is a super out-of-the-box and space-saving way of adding fun climbing activities to your backyard without taking up your entire backyard.
Keep in mind: As with any ratchet, make sure you don’t over-torque it.
Good for: Nature-loving tree-climbers!
(Most exciting — $$$)
This 80-inch tall climbing wall is not to disappoint, bringing your kids up and down mountains without needing to leave your backyard. This insanely exciting climber is great for your older kiddos who love to discover different ways to climb. There are climbing surfaces on both the outside and on the inside of the “summit,” complete with a cargo net to hoist your kid up at the start of their climbing journey. When your kids are ready to take it to the next level, capture the flag and other racing adventures are just around the corner for an exciting day of competitive climbing escapades!
Keep in mind: There is an assembly process, and it is a bit heavy. You may need a couple of tools and some additional hands to get this going.
Good for: Kids ages four to eight who are well-seasoned in climbing.
(Best beginning climber — $$$)
Why it’s great: This climber has easy hand and foot holds to get your toddler used to climbing. The holes give your child more stability and support than normal rock climbing holds. Plus, there’s two different walls to climb with different sizes and spacing so your child can begin to build their confidence and climbing ability. And it has the added bonus of a slide for coming back down, if your toddler isn’t ready to try to manuever their way back down.
Keep in mind: The slide is a little steep and you may need to help your toddler or catch them at the bottom when they’re first getting used to it.
Good for: Younger toddlers just learning to climb.
(Most eco-friendly — $$$)
Why it’s great: This is a set of 3 climbing pieces that are all made of birch plywood and have been sanded with care to keep your child safe. With all three pieces, your toddler can try climbing in different ways and start to develop the fine and gross motor skills they need. The board with the rock climbing hand and foot holds can be positioned in a myriad of different ways. This means that your child will be able to start out in easier positions and work their way into harder ones. Also, the wood is strong and durable and these toys can be used indoors or outdoors.
Plus, if you already have the Pikler triangle and/or arch, you can purchase just the rock wall portion separately.
Keep in mind: The triangle and arch do need to be assembled, but it’s pretty quick and easy to do.
Good for: Families looking for a high quality, wooden climbing structure.
(Best multi-purpose climber — $$$)
Why it’s great: This climber is great for multiple purposes. The little ones could be playing pretend underneath the action, while the bigger ones are practicing their climbing skills (and sliding) above.
The Step2 Woodland Climber is great for your multi-faceted two to six-year-old climber! Not only does it have small rock climbing sections on either side, but it also includes a ladder, a slide, and a little hideaway underneath all the action. It’s short enough to be safe for your little ones but tall enough to make for a fun slide ride down! It’s also nice to be able to watch your kids all in one place, while they’re all pursuing different projects and activities.
Keep in mind: It’s common for this to ship in three separate boxes. Make sure you keep your tracking number, and don’t get concerned if you receive a box without all of the pieces; there should be two more on the way.
Good for: Siblings or friends to play in the same space, without necessarily doing the same activity.
(Best quality — $)
These, also a 25-piece set, are great for DIY projects as well… especially ones using a tree! With a hardware set that goes through 2-inches deep, these climbing holds are great for sticking into your treehouse tree for additional means of travel. Unlike the other climbing holds set, which was great for little climbers, these are fit to hold weights up to 230 pounds, so you can take a crack at your kid’s climbing challenges, too! Each hold comes with two Allen head bolts, two flat washers, two weld nuts, and an Allen wrench so you don’t have to scramble around in your toolbox to assemble it.
Keep in mind: Unlike the other set, these have a 2-inch hardware set, meaning it won’t work well on thin walls or surfaces.
Good for: Children that are ready for a sturdy, challenging rock climbing set.
(Best summer climber — $$$)
Why it’s great: This climbing wall is perfect for keeping kids cool in the summer sun. Not only will your child learn to climb, they’ll also get to slide and play in the water. It’s big enough for multiple children to all play together, so it’s great for bigger families or get-togethers. The wall has handles and footholds, so your toddler will learn to grasp and how to place their feet for better leverage.
Another thing that makes this climber so great is that you don’t have to worry as much about your child falling. The bottom of the wall is bouncy and soft, like a bouncy house. And even if they made it past that, the water will help to cushion their fall.
Keep in mind: This isn’t something you could use indoors and isn’t really feasible in the colder months, although you could probably use it without the water if you wanted to.
Good for: Children that want to stay cool while they climb.
(Most modifiable — $$)
Why it’s great: This wall is the perfect background to build your own, amazing rock climbing wall. The holes are spaced out enough that you could theoretically put a hand or foothold in each one. With this board, you’ll be able to create whatever difficulty level that you think your child is ready for. Plus, you can take it apart and rebuild it when they’re ready for the next challenge.
With hundreds of options for creating your own rock climber, your child will be able to climb and play to their heart’s content.
Keep in mind: This doesn’t come with any of the pieces needed to turn it into a climbing wall. It’s just set up to build your own.
Good for: Families that want to be able to change or adjust their rock wall’s difficulty.
(Great for the acrobatically-inclined — $$)
Why it’s great: Although not quite a rock climbing wall, it’s insanely customizable to fit what your kiddo can do. Whether they’re just learning skills, or already have a list of skills they want to practice, it’s great for any point in their acrobatic journey.
The 50-Foot Ninja Slackline is perfect for your future American Ninja Warrior. Whether they’re in gymnastics, karate, boxing, or rock-climbing class, these fun hanging obstacles are sure to bring loads of athletic adventure to your backyard. The package includes a 50-foot slackline, two gymnastics rings, two monkey bars, three monkey fists, a ladder, a mesh bag, and even tree protectors. The set has a super simple setup and can easily rearrange if your kid wants to change the order of the obstacles. It’s a great start for your kids’ outdoor gymnastics paradise!
Keep in mind: You’ll need to ensure you have trees that are far enough away to support a 50-foot rope and with a strong enough trunk to be able to hold a significant amount of body weight. Be sure to have a set plan of where you’ll put it before purchasing it.
Good for: Kids who want to practice skills from gym class or teach themselves!
(Best for inventive minds — $$$)
Why it’s great: We own Climbing Tower and both our 2-year-old and our 4-year-old love it. This tower is great for both indoor and outdoor climbing. If you choose outdoor, it withstands weathering, and if you choose indoor, it’s small enough to be set up in a large basement or playroom. Adding an element to it makes it even more exciting, like adding it to your pool, placing a ball pit in the center for fun falls, and even draping a blanket over it for crafty (and cozy) climbing!
Keep in mind: Assembly is performed by connecting interlocking plastic tubes, which are a bit tricky not to pinch your fingers with. Keep your directions– as assembly could take up to two hours– and be careful.
Good for: Toddlers ages three to eight.
(Best overall playset — $$$$)
Why it’s great: This playset is huge and even has a canopy to shade your children while they play. The rock climbing wall has real hand and foot holds that will teach your child how to navigate up the wall. The rope ladder can also help your child if they’re struggling to get to the top. It also has a regular ladder for climbing, that will help your child strengthen their grib and motor skills. Plus, a wooden ramp with rungs if everything else is too difficult for your child.
On top of that, you’ll get swings, a slide, a tic-tac-toe board, and even a punching bag. With so many options, your child will have hours of play, whether they’re by themselves or have siblings or friends over to play.
Keep in mind: This is pretty pricey, but you’ll get so many different options to keep your child playing outdoors.
Good for: Families that have the space for a big playset.
FAQs about toddler rock climbing wall
1. What can I get for added safety?
With items that don’t include safety measures like a climbing rope, there are a ton of creative options you can utilize to give you more peace of mind with these rock climbing walls. An old mattress, a ball pit, or a couple of gymnastics mats make for a sturdy and safe landing. You can also place your climbing wall on a rugged carpet or a soft patch of grass outside for a naturally padded landing.
2. How do I know if my kid is ready to start climbing?
You know your kid the best, but if you start noticing them wanting to practice skills they’ve learned in class or notice them trying to teach themselves skills they haven’t yet learned, it might be an idea to start providing them with some solutions so they don’t dent the house too badly!
3. How do I make sure the set-up is sturdy enough?
Make sure you’re following along with the directions, as many of the rock walls come with all of the materials required that you won’t want to skip. It’s always good to take a couple of test runs with some lightweight on it first. You can either test it with the weight of your foot or place your child on it while spotting them (placing your arms around their waist and hip area) and pay close attention to see if anything is wobbling, shaking, or bending.
4. Are these safe for several kids at a time?
Depending on the structure, there are options for multiple kids to be using it all at once. For certain ones like the Ninja Slackline where you may have set up an obstacle course, make sure your kids and their siblings or friends have a clear understanding of how many are allowed on at once. Perhaps come up with some rules together that you both agree on so you have the reassurance that your child understands the necessity of them.
There you have it: our seven favorite toddler rock climbing walls, fit for your kids whether they’re two or twelve years old! Rock climbing walls are an exciting addition to any backyard playground oasis, and surely a hit for your kid’s friends, as well! It’s great to witness your child’s growing interests while they learn different and fun means of physical fitness. Let us know what your kid’s favorite skills are and how they’ve improved with their new climbing equipment. Happy climbing!
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