What is a Pikler Triangle?
Ever wondered exactly what IS a Pikler Triangle, and whether it’s something your child could enjoy and possibly benefit from? If the answer is yes, then join us on a little stroll through the history, science and design of this clever and engaging piece of children’s play equipment, beginning half a century ago with a revolutionary female doctor in Hungary. We’re confident it will help explain why we craft our timber climbing frames and pieces the way we do, and how they can help your own little person grow and develop...
Much has been written about paediatrician Dr. Emmi Pikler, who lived and practiced at a time when female doctors, authors and thought-leaders were rare. Her approach centres around a respectful, kind relationship between an adult and infant, with an emphasis on naturally-paced motor development, freedom of physical movement and plenty of uninterrupted play.
Dr Pikler developed the Pikler Triangle back in the 1970's, with the aim of allowing independent gross motor movement for babies and toddlers, an objective which was at the heart of her pedagogy. The Triangle is designed to allow little ones initially to pull themselves up to a standing position, and to support them while they remain standing. As their motor development progresses, the Pikler Triangle provides an opportunity for the child to climb upon - and over - it, encouraging exploration at their own pace.
The aim for the design is to allow children to gain confidence bit-by-bit, while supporting them in an optimal position. There is no rush to scale the triangle - navigating even one or two rungs is a big achievement for a little one!
The original design of this simple, effective piece of play equipment was equilateral, which meant the slope was specific to support these particular activities. Ironically, while we think a gentler slope would be easier for little ones to get up on, it is actually much harder. If you reduce the slope too greatly, they are more likely to put their feet through the bars and have difficulty in supporting their upper body, as too much weight is placed on the arms and shoulders.
The design Dr Pikler eventually perfected may look like a simple climbing frame, but it is so much more! It’s specific slope and angles allow your little one to naturally develop their gross motor skills while encouraging freedom of movement, as well as exploring their own boundaries and capabilities.