If you have the garden space a climbing frame is a great investment. Kids just love to climb and explore their limits. Safety precautions must always be at the forefront of your mind when buying and investing though, so here are the best climbing frames I’ve found on the market, and updated in 2022, for toddlers, kids and even older kids!
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If you haven’t time to read the whole guide then do take a look at my best all round choice which is the TP Explorer Climbing Frame – you can see it on Amazon here.
- 1 What to consider when buying a garden climbing frame
- 2 Best climbing frames for toddlers
- 3 Best climbing frames for kids – our reviews
- 4 Best wooden climbing frames
What to consider when buying a garden climbing frame
Climbing frames are excellent garden toys, but there’s a few things to think about. You’ll need to consider the following when looking for the best children’s climbing frame for your needs:
- How many children will use it
- The age of the children it will be for
- how big your garden is
- your budget
- whether you want plastic, metal or wood
When looking at all these points, perhaps you’ll want something that will last all the way from a toddler age all the way to older child, or perhaps you might just have the space for a small toddler climbing frame that you want to bring inside in the winter and you’ll be looking to invest in a larger climbing frame in a few years.
Best climbing frames for toddlers
Many of the climbing frames in the other categories, including my best pick, are suitable from a young toddler age, so do look at those as well.
Toddler climbing frames tend to be much smaller and plastic which has the added benefit of them being easier to move around and if you have space they can even come indoors on wet and cold days in the winter which means their play can get massively extended.
Little Tykes Junior Activity Gym
One of the best plastic climbing frames for toddlers is this one by Little Tikes. The design has been going strong for many years now, certainly since before my teens were toddlers, so you can be assured that it’s a good one and built to last.
These climbing frames are easy to assemble and not so big that you’ll be worrying about if they fall off it. The play value is immense, it’s a plastic climbing frame with slide attached, spaces to crawl through and of course plenty of bits to climb over! It’s brilliant for wearing out toddlers and as mentioned above and it’s small enough that it could definitely be used inside as well.
It’s suitable from the age of about 18 months to 4 years old and is a reasonable price should your budget not stretch to some of the larger climbing frames around. Little Tikes toys always have a good resale value should you want to sell them on when your kid gets a bit older.
- Brilliant for toddlers
- Can be used inside
- Easy to clean
- limited age appeal – they’ll grow out of it soon
- sun can bleach it and make it fade
Best climbing frames for kids – our reviews
TP Explorer Climbing Frame – my best choice!
This is my best choice out of all the products. TP is an excellent brand with many years in the business so they are well established. We’ve used this one ourselves and found them to be a great choice.
They make this as a base metal climbing frame and it’s perfect for small gardens on its own or you can add some of the extras on to it if you have a bigger garden. You can get monkey bars (the jungle run) and a slide which make it a much bigger option (can be bought as a whole or separate), but just the base set is excellent on it’s own in my opinion.
The reason I like it so much is for the added den at the top which just makes a great place for kids to sit outside and enjoy the world going by. They can use it to spy on nature, have picnics, read a book, anything!
It’s also a climbing frame that’s suitable for toddlers so if you want something that will grow as your kids do without having to pay out again, this is great. You simply build it to a smaller height and it’s find for ages 18 months +
- Can be used from a young age
- Good value for what you get
- lots of add ons
- good for small gardens
- add ons can bump price up
Lifetime Geometric Dome
I really love these geodesic domes and they are becoming much more common in the UK now. This one is powder coated metal and doesn’t need any sort of anchoring so it would be a good option in a rented house or somewhere where anchoring isn’t possible.
It’s suitable for ages 3 upwards and really can be quite happily used for quite a few years.
You could always get a tarpaulin to make a cover for it and use it as a den too for some extra fun!
- no need for cement
- sturdy materials
- can be used by many different ages
- can be need a fair bit of space
Plum Deimos Climbing Dome
Another option in the climbing dome range is this one from Plum which is a little bit smaller and would be suitable for younger kids (they do a bigger one too)
This is a really fab item – it looks amazing in the garden and just invites children to come and climb on it yet isn’t too intimidating for small children. It’s suitable for ages 3+ and up to 50kg.
- Can be used from a young age
- Geodesic climbing domes are great fun for kids
- metal dome lasts much longer and is much sturdier
- metal can be much more expensive than plastic versions
Best wooden climbing frames
Wooden climbing frames can be a really good investment – they can last for years if you choose wisely. They are at the higher end of the budget compared to plastic and metal versions but sometimes nothing beats wood outdoor toys!
Plum Climbing Pyramid Wooden Play Centre
This one is really great and comes with it’s own climbing wall and scramble net so it’s a little different to some of the other climbing frames. There’s a slide and also a play area underneath which has some camouflage side panels. Its an excellent choice if your kids want a den or if they are a bit obsessed with soldiers (I wish we’d had this when my son was younger – he’d have loved it!)
It’s recommended for ages 3 – 12.
- climbing wall is unique
- can’t move round the garden
Dunster House Monkey Bars
Many people would love to have a nice wooden climbing frame in the garden for many of the positives that these provide – namely being sturdy, good quality and long lasting – but they struggle because of the space needed for many of them. If that is you then I’d suggest looking at something like this which is just the monkey bars as the frame. I think it’s a great idea for smaller spaces or just if you don’t want or need the extras that some of them come with – how many slides do you need in a garden??
This is an excellent make so I have no hesitation in recommending Dunster House – these are impeccable quality and I love that they come with all the anchoring equipment as standard too. I also was pleasantly surprised at the price of this one.
- excellent for kids who love to climb
- also good for older kids (suitable for up to age 14) who want to work on upper strength
- reasonable price for a wooden frame
- has some extras that can be added
- It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the bigger climbing frames
- some may feel it has limited play value
Dunster House MonkeyFort Wilderness Wooden Children’s Outdoor Climbing Frame
This is a perfect wooden climbing frame for older children as it’s suitable up to the age of 14 and so you’ll likely get many years of use out of it.
It consists of monkey bars, a swing and a slide with a covered den part at the top. You get to the slide by climbing up a climbing wall. It’s a great option if you are looking for something for multiple kids to play on too as it can suit up to four kids playing at once (although only one on the platform at a time).
- suitable for a wide age range
- lots of years worth of play
- covered den for imaginary play
- can’t move
FATMOOSE Climbing Frame – Fruity Forest
Another good quality make when it comes to wooden climbing frames is Fatmoose. This one has all of the accessories that you might want on a climbing frame that will make it appeal to a wide age range. You have the slide and swing part which is great but you also have a small climbing wall too and the area at the top of the slide looks like it would be a really nice little den area for reading or hiding out from others and there’s another hiding area underneath too!
This one is suitable from age 3 upwards and should last until the early teens I’d say.
- good quality german workmanship
- lots included for the price
- 3 levels
- good for lots of age ranges
- as with other wooden climbing frames the price may be a negative, although I do think it’s good value