If you didn't have enough reasons to worry before, your kiddo has now added even more to her arsenal of daring toddler stunts and her daredevil climbing makes you want to crawl up the walls. Between the stairs and chairs and every other elevated surface she can find, you're probably about ready to clear out the house to make it a climbing-free zone. However, all that climbing is helping her develop her muscles and her motor skills, and if she's going to climb everything anyway, you might as well keep her monkeying around confined to a safe indoor climbing space.
1 Cover the floor with soft play mats or tumbling mats. You can pick up some with numbers or pictures for some learning fun while she climbs, or invest in more gymnastic-like mats to provide as much cushioning as possible without laying out the couch cushions on the floor.
2 Set up a soft play climber in the center of the area. You can buy individual pieces so you can assemble the structure to the height and size you're most comfortable with, or purchase a soft play climber kit to make setting up the play area simple. Whichever you choose, make sure it is rated appropriately for toddler use.
3 Assemble the soft play structure in the center of the climbing area. You want clear spaces on each side of the climber to avoid bumps or falls against the wall.
4 Cover the lower portion of the wall with padding. You can use the soft play mats on the wall or pick up some twin-size pillow top mattresses instead. Secure the soft play mats with a strong adhesive. Nail the pillow tops to the wall and then cover the nail heads with rubber cement. The wall padding should be at least the same height as your toddler. To make it last through a few more years of growing, make it about 12 inches taller. Now, whether she tumbles onto the floor or against the wall -- which you know will inevitably happen sometime during her climbing adventures -- she’ll have a soft and cushioned landing.
Items you will need
- Soft play mats (or tumbling mats)
- Soft play climber
- Pillow-top mattresses (optional)
- Strong adhesive (or rubber cement and nails)
- Great Expectations: The Toddler Years: The Essential Guide to Your 1- to 3-Year-Old; Sandy Jones
- Health, Safety, and Nutrition for the Young Child; Lynn R. Marotz
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