What Developmental Benefits Does My Child Get From A Pikler Triangle?
Within the Montessori community there are recommended toys for specific ages. One of such recommended resource is a Pikler triangle. There are many reasons why Pikler triangles are recommended, all relating to the developmental benefits that are available when a child usees a Pikler triangle.
First developed over 100 years ago by Hungarian paediatrician Emmi Pikler, Pikler triangles encourage physical development and free movement for children. The open design of Pikler triangles allows children to develop a variety of physical skills, all while seemingly “just” climbing.
There are many physical benefits children gain by using a Pikler triangle.
Gross Motor Skills – gross motor skills are those that use the whole body. When using a Pikler triangle your child is using their arms, legs and torso in unison and strengthening muscles in all those areas. This is true even if your child is under 1 and only learning to stand. Using a Pikler triangle to pull themselves up is strengthening their legs and getting ready for walking, but it is also strengthening core muscles in the torso, which leads to better balance once your child starts walking.
Core Strength – using a Pikler for pulling to stand and climbing all engages and enhances core strength. It helps your child use a variety of muscles to perform these activities.
Hand Strength and Fine Motor Skills – gripping on the to the triangle, but also the ability to grip, release, grip and release as necessary will strengthen hands, and it helps with fine motor skills, which are needed in later years for handwriting, feeding oneself and manipulation of small items.
Assessing Risk – Pikler triangles allow children to assess risk and understand (in a safe way) what happens if they miss a step. It also allows them to evaluate how comfortable they are with the risk. Most children under 2 when they start climbing, will climb to the top of the large triangle and then stop and come back down. This is because they have assessed the risk and aren’t comfortable going over the top yet. As they build confidence, they will take a little more risk and climb more. If you allow your child the time and space you can watch this process developing.
Assessing risk and being comfortable with the risk being undertaken is incredibly important for decision making as a teen and adult. The foundations for assessing risk and making the choice best for the individual are all laid in the early years, and resources like Pikler triangles can help lay those foundations.
Calming the Mind – moving our bodies is a great way to reconnect as a whole and calm our mind. This is an especially important point for those days when it’s too cold or wet to get to the park or even the backyard, or when you (or your child) are unwell, and you can’t get out to move around. Having a Pikler triangle in your lounge room can really help with moving around and providing a physical outlet, which will help calm your child’s mind and bring some peace (after the crazy work out on the Pikler of course!)
Understanding Their Own Body – combining all the above leads to children understanding that they can control their physical development, and this has great cognitive benefits. This is an important milestone, especially if you are parenting with a Montessori or Steiner methodology. With this understanding that they can control their development children are more involved with developing further.
Pikler triangles are great for physical and cognitive development. They promote learning and provide great developmental opportunities. With a variety of heights and configurations they can provide long-lasting entertainment, all while learning and developing.