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10 Best Safe & Fun Climbing Toys for 1 Year Olds [2021 Gift Guide]

Christmas gift guide: the best climbing toys for 1 Year Olds.

When it comes to one year olds and climbing…you can either fight ‘em or join ‘em! As toddlers begin to explore their world climbing anything (and everything!) is a natural inclination. 

As parents, it can be terrifying to see your child get more daring, but there are ways to support their need to climb in a safe way. 

Enter climbing toys.

There are many amazing climbing products available today that your 1-year-old will love!

If you are looking for a gift for a 1-year-old or just a safe way for them to get their wiggles out, you’ll want to see the top 10 climbing toys for 1-year-olds that we’ve curated. 

Note: this blog post probably contains affiliate links, which means we may receive small commissions from purchases made through links in this post (at NO extra cost to you). You can read our full disclosure for more information.

TL:DR (too long, didn’t read)

Short on time? Ultimately, we decided that the Children’s Factory Soft Tunnel Climber was the best buy because of its overall safety and the length of use you’ll get out of it. You can check it out here on Amazon.

baby climbing ramp style play equipment with carer close by

The Top 10 climbing toys for 1 Year Olds

Pikler Triangle

Pikler Triangles are one of those toys that are pleasing to look (for mom and dad) AND fun (for the kids). With climbing rungs on both side and a ramp/slide that you can attach, your 1-year-old will love exploring this climbing toy that is safe and sturdy. There are different size options…the junior version would be best for a 1-year-old.  The open-ended play that can happen with this toy AND the fact that it can last for many years of childhood make it a lovely option. 

Pros

  • Classic Wooden toy is nice to look at
  • Provides for open ended play
  • Can be used for years

Cons

  • Will require more supervision for a one-year-old

Step2 Game Time Sports Climber and Slide 

Step2 Toys are known for their sturdiness.  This sports climber and slide can be used inside or outside and would be a great size for a 1-year-old climber. It includes a basketball hoop on the side as well as a “tunnel” that can be used for climbing, a soccer goal or a pitching target. 

Pros

  • Small Size makes it easier for toddlers to use
  • Includes a basketball and hoop, can be used as a tunnel
  • Sturdy 
  • Can be used inside or out

Cons

  • Small size means kids will outgrow it sooner
  • Not as pretty to look at

Cassaro Climbing Cube

A wooden cube with climbing rungs on both sides, a solid wood top and a tunnel through the middle, this climbing cube would be an outstanding climbing toy for one-year-olds. Not only will mom and dad not mind having this in the living room, you can also purchase and add on a climbing ramp/slide OR another ladder. 

Pros

  • Easy to move around
  • Pretty to look at
  • Can add on extras like a ramp/slide or ladder

Cons

  • Might not hold kids attention a long time

Amazon Basics Kids Soft Play Single Tunnel

You can create a climbing gym for your toddler with these soft and colorful mats. This set includes 3 pieces: a tunnel, a wedge ramp and two steps that can be reconfigured or used with your normal couch to make a super fun (and safe!) space for your one-year-old to climb. Older kids will also enjoy this Play Tunnel set!

Pros

  • Soft and easy to clean
  • Can be moved around easily (even by kids)
  • Can be used in many configurations
  • Easy to clean
  • Doesn’t require a high level of supervision

Cons

  • Difficult to store

SoftZone Climb and Crawl Activity Play Set

A similar soft activity play set, this has five pieces for your one-year-old to climb and roll down including a wedge ramp, two rectangles, a semi-circle and a cylinder. This is a colorful set that can be safely wiped up with water and soap. 

Pros

  • Soft and easy to clean
  • Can be moved around easily (even by kids)
  • Can be used in many configurations
  • Easy to clean
  • Doesn’t require a high level of supervision

Cons

  • Difficult to store

DEKOSH Toddler Playset Swing and Slide

Toddlers will love to climb the ladder, slide down the slide and SWING in this indoor/outdoor playset. The slide is a little bit longer than your average toddler slide and the added basketball hoop will give your little ballers another fun activity. 

Pros

  • Has a slide PLUS a swing
  • Sturdy
  • Longer slide curves to the ground for a softer landing
  • Can be used indoor and outdoors

Cons

  • Swing height can’t be adjusted, so it won’t work for tall one-year-olds
  • Some reviewers report that the structure tips over when a larger child swings

Children’s Factory Soft Tunnel Climber 

This is the big daddy of soft climbers with six separate pieces that can attach to each other with hook and loop closure. Pieces include a tunnel, a wedge ramp, two rectangles and two soft mats to crawl on. 

Pros

  • Colorful
  • Can be assembled in different configurations
  • Hook and loop closure keeps the set from slipping apart
  • Easy to wipe clean

Cons

  • Hard to store
  • Tunnel is smaller so may not work for older kids

Cassaro Climbing Play Tower

This beautiful wooden play tower has so many uses! It can be used as a climbing toy, with ladder rungs and a slide ramp. But as a bonus, lifting the ramp and sliding it down the back creates the back wall to a safe tower/stepping stool for kids to stand on and help at the kitchen counter. Additionally the slide ramp has a fun chalkboard surface on the underside that your toddler (and older kids) can draw on. If you like having a little helper in the kitchen, this would be an amazing choice for a climbing toy.

Pros

  • Has multiple uses besides just climbing
  • Is pretty to look at
  • Will be useful for years
  • Is easy to move around

Cons

  • Wooden surface is slippery when wet

Little Baby Bum Wheels on the Bus Climber and Slide

Your one-year-old will be delighted with all of the different ways to climb up, slide down and crawl into this bus climber and slide. It has a steering wheel with a little horn and is Little Baby Bum themed for toddlers who enjoy that show.

Pros

  • Bus themed (toddlers LOVE to pretend drive!) 
  • Has several ways to climb 
  • Steering wheel plays “Wheels on the Bus” song and honks
  • Easy to move around

Cons

  • Reviewers say it is difficult to assemble
  • Small size means it will quickly be outgrown

Funphix Construction Toy Set

This climbing toy is an investment but it is something that can grow with your kids for years. You can build more complicated structures as baby grows. This set contains 467 pieces that can be connected and configured into as many structures as you can imagine. I also love that it has the potential to teach STEM skills as kids get older and can build with it themselves.

Pros

  • Can be configured in hundreds of different ways
  • Structures can be smaller for one-year-old climbers or bigger for older kids
  • Sturdy and easy to build with
  • Colorful and easy to wash off
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors

Cons

  • A LOT of pieces to store when not in use
  • Structures can hold a max weight of 110 pounds

Why Your 1 Year Old Needs a Climbing Toy (or Two!)

Climbing helps your one-year-old develop gross motor skills and strengthen muscles in their arms, legs and core. While climbing is a great thing for physical development, it can be very nerve-wracking if your toddler is using her new climbing skills to scale a chair onto the kitchen table!

As your baby gets older, you’ll be looking for ways for them to get their wiggles out in a safe way. Having a climbing toy at home is a great way for your one-year-old to test their new abilities in a controlled environment.

The Different Types of Climbing Toys

When looking for climbing toys, there are several different types available on the market. 

Wooden Climbing Structures

These classic climbing structures are made of wood and simple components including rungs and a ramp/slide.

Pros

Aesthetically pleasing, last many years, allow for open ended play.

Cons

May require more supervision especially with one-year-olds, can’t be used outside.

Heavy Duty Plastic Indoor/Outdoor Climbing Structures

Sturdy and can be used indoors or outdoors, these climbing toys last forever! There are many different variations, some with slides and swings, some with just slides. 

Pros

Sturdy, easy to move around.

Cons

Depending on which one you pick, they may not work for preschoolers/older kids, not as pretty to look at. 

Soft Foam Climbing Toys

Soft foam climbing structures come in many different shapes and sizes and provide hours of play for toddlers up to big kids.

Pros

Easy to clean, can be used in many different configurations, safe for littles to use

Cons

Take up a lot of space and can be hard to store. 

Building Set Climber

Tubes and connectors that can be shaped into different climbing structures and used indoors and outdoors.

Pros

Provides STEM learning for older kids, unlimited structure options, easy to clean.

Cons

Difficult to store, might be hard to create sturdy structures. 

3 Benefits Of Using Climbing Toys for Toddlers

Climbing Toys provide multiple benefits for your one-year-old including: 

  • Gross Motor Skill Development: Climbing is an important part of large muscle development that will help your one-year-old with essential life skills like climbing stairs. 
  • Physical Development: Climbing is a great way for toddlers to strengthen their arms, legs and core muscles. 
  • Increases Independent Play Skills: It is important to introduce toys that your one-year-old can do safely by themselves. Having a safe independent play space will also allow you to get other tasks done nearby. 

4 Things To Look For In A Good Climbing Toy for Young Toddlers

When you’re looking for a climbing toy for your one-year-old, here are some features to consider: 

  • Indoor/Outdoor: Consider where you will be using the climbing toy. You can choose an indoor/outdoor toy if you want it for both spaces. 
  • Height/Size: While smaller profile climbing toys can provide a safer space for tiny one-year-olds, that also means that the toy won’t be useful for as long. Consider purchasing a taller toy if you have a large one-year-old and/or want the toy to last for many years. 
  • Storage/Easy to Move: Think about the space the climbing toy will be used in. If you don’t want it up permanently, purchase a climbing toy that can be easily stored. If you plan to move the toy both inside and outside, make sure it isn’t too heavy or wide to move around. 
  • Variations: While climbing up and sliding down is fun (and can be done by a one-year-old HUNDREDS of times in a row), you might want to consider purchasing a climbing toy that can be used in different configurations so that it can be entertaining for longer time periods. 

The Final Word on The Best Climbing Toys for One Year Olds

By purchasing a climbing toy, you can give your one-year-old a safe place to climb without endangering themselves. A climbing toy that will last several years (or through several kids) is an investment that will pay off in peace of mind for mom and dad and physical development in your kids. 

Our overall pick for the top Climbing Toy for one-year-olds goes to the Children’s Factory Soft Tunnel Climber. Not only will your kids use this for years, you can also set it up and not have to worry about your one-year-old climber getting hurt. 

If you are looking for a more stylish, multi-use climbing toy, we highly recommend the Cassaro Climbing Play Tower. Your one-year-old can climb, slide AND with a quick change of the ramp, help in the kitchen. 

More Gift Ideas for One Year Olds

if you’re looking for the perfect toy to gift to a one year old, here are some of our other gift guides:

Best Toys for A One Year Old Girl [2021 Christmas Gift Guide]

Best Toys for 1 Year Old Boys [2021 Christmas Gift Guide]

Best Outdoor Toys for 1 Year Olds [2021 Gift Guide]

10 Best Ride On Toys for 1 Year Olds

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