When my daughter started showing interest in climbing around our house, I immediately turned to Amazon and Etsy with my sights set on all the climbing contraptions available. I was about to hit buy on an expensive climbing gym and had a few other climbing blocks added to my cart when my mom casually said on a phone call, “Oh, she’s climbing? Give her a pack of toilet paper.”
Hm, so that’s all it takes? Some toilet paper or paper towels? Instead of spending $150+ on fancy climbing equipment, I went into our closet and pulled out a still packaged set of toilet paper and gave it to my daughter. Instantly, she was climbing all over it and having the time of her life. I still have my eye on more formal climbing equipment, but my daughter didn’t seem to care about my budget-friendly alternative.
For those of you with eager climbing babies, here are some items that you likely already have in your home that are perfect for a baby or toddler obstacle course (adult supervision required!).
1. Toilet Paper or Paper Towel Packs
The bigger the set, the better! Or combine smaller sets and larger sets as a sort of stairway up to the higher climbing area. If you’ve been stockpiling toilet paper and paper towels, now you have a really great use until they’re needed in the bathroom or kitchen.
2. Couch Cushions on the Floor
It’s no secret kids make a mess of your house. One way they start early is by dismantling your couch. But taking the cushions off your couch makes a great climbing experience. And once the cushions are on the floor and your child graduates to an interest in jumping, the cushion-less couch has a nice bounce to it as well.
3. Bed Pillows
To help your little one practice their balance while climbing, arrange bed pillows on the floor. They will likely fall over (a lot!) while playing on these, but it’s a nice and fluffy spot to land.
4. Low Step Stools or Stairs
This one definitely requires adult supervision and help (actually, worth mentioning again, all of these require supervision). Once your baby or toddler has a better handle on their balance and climbing abilities, they will likely want to climb on step stools and stairs.
Stand by your baby or toddler and give them a hand to help them work on this more challenging obstacle. If you have a staircase that’s just a couple of steps, that’s best to start with. If your baby is climbing up the stairs, make sure to stay right behind them, focused and ready to catch them or support them the entire time.
5. A Slide
Not that every family necessarily has a slide in their house, but if you have older kids and have a backyard or indoor set with a slide, babies can sometimes impressively make their way up a slide. Again, this is one you’ll want to closely supervise because chances are they’ll make it a little way up the slide and take a ride right back down. An alternative? Let them slide down your legs while you’re sitting on the couch or the bed.