Kids are back in school, and for many of us parents, that means we finally get a break from all the fighting, demanding of snacks, and the ridiculously noisy plastic toys that we probably should never have bought in the first place. But when the kids get home from school, all bets are off. Siblings argue, snacks won’t make themselves, and those noisy toys somehow find their way back into the “on” position. Well, I found something that can help all of that go away, at least temporarily: Piccalio’s line of attractive wooden climbing toys.
Piccalio is a company based in Venice, California, that designs, builds, and sells wooden toys and play structures that encourage open-ended, imaginative play. My kids have one of the play structures and it keeps them engaged for way longer than any other toy we have in the house — and they play together, without me, which is a beautiful thing.
Okay, I’m not saying to give all the colorful plastic toys away, but it does feel good to buy some wooden products that are environmentally friendly and a more natural way to help your child’s imagination emerge — at least that’s how it felt for me. Piccalio’s Montessori-inspired, nontoxic wooden pieces help kids stay active while stimulating their brains with open-ended play. Plus, wooden toys and structures can actually add to the modern, simplified aesthetic of your home. In other words, they aren’t eye sores, and they’re less likely to feel like clutter.
The Most-Loved Piccalio Pieces
It’s no secret that toddlers are active little people who love climbing on all the things, so the Mini Climber Pickler Triangle Set is a great way to provide them with a safe place to practice their skills. Every part of this set — which includes a climbing triangle and a rock wall that can be flipped over to function as a slide — feels thoughtfully designed. Even the triangle’s angle was specifically chosen to make for the optimum climbing experience, according to the brand. The set was inspired by the work of Hungarian pediatrician Dr. Emmi Pikler, who introduced new theories of infant education in the 1930s.
The Mini Climber Pikler Triangle is the one my kids have and adore. They like to drape a blanket or sheet over top to DIY a fort, as well as climb to the top to escape the hot lava that fills our home on a regular basis. Have I used the triangle as a laundry rack once or twice? Yes, yes I have.
And when you’re ready to not see the thing, the whole set folds down flat for easy storage.
Helpful Review: “My 2 year old loves it! He uses it every day. The quality is great! The wood is beautiful. Very sturdy. The only critic I have is that I don’t like the screw-on mechanism in order to fold for storage. Since we do this daily, it can be a bit bothersome. But overall we love it! We have also used it on playdates with a 4 year old and she enjoyed it as well.”
For ages 6 months to 6 years or up to 132 pounds.
It can get hectic in the kitchen, especially at dinnertime, so having a safe zone for your child to stand in the heat of things is huge help. The Mini Chef Convertible Helper Tower is essentially a kitchen stool that provides a safe space for your little one to practice their kitchen skills while feeling helpful and staying out of the way of hot dishes and sharp kitchen tools. A step lets them hop on board without any help, and a bar on the back of the tower helps prevent them from falling off.
After your kiddo has prepared their own snack (that’s the dream, right?), the tower can be converted into a toddler table where they can sit and eat or color. It also works well in the bathroom for brushing teeth or washing hands. The step height is adjustable from 6, 8, or 10 inches, so you can find the right fit with any countertop.
Choose from four colors: natural, white, black, and sage.
Helpful Review: “We love our helper tower and our 16 month old daughter does, too! She rushes to it whenever we get to the kitchen and plays on it all the time. She also loves sitting at the little table it converts into. Totally worth the investment!”
For ages 12 months to 6 years or up to 175 pounds.
There are so many fun things to do with Piccalio’s Surfer Balance Board. Not only can kids pretend to surf, they can practice their balancing skills while doing it. The wooden board is also a great place to cozy up and read a book or turn it over and use it as a bridge, boat, or as a stretching tool. It’s made of durable European Beech wood and easily wipes clean with a few quick swipes of a damp cloth.
Helpful Review: “I bought this for the grandkids. The 5 year has had a blast and the 15 Month old is learning what to do. He is smiling and pretty engaged. A good purchase for sure. Plus it’s easy to Find a nook in which to store it.”
For ages 12 months to 6 years or up to 200 pounds.
To a kid, almost anything can function as a balance beam — from the curb to the couch. But with Piccali’s Acrobat Balance Beam, they can practice that coordination and balance at a safe distance off the floor. The sturdy birch plywood set comes with four beams that can be connected several different ways, so the beam can run straight, square, zig zag, and more. It measures over 9 feet in length so your can kid can get all that walking and stretching out before bedtime.
Helpful Review: “Daughter loves it and had already found so many ways to play with it, on it, sit her bears on it etc. we live in a city apartment with limited space and this is very convenient to store as well.”
For ages 12 months to 8 years or up to 100 pounds.
Everything used to build each Piccalio product is eco-friendly — from the materials to the building and carbon-neutral shipping processes. The wood used is nontoxic and FSC-certified (which stands for Forest Stewardship Council, and a certification from it is considered the gold standard for responsibly managed forests). Plus, the toys are fully vetted for safety; they’re compliant with ASTM and California’s Prop65 regulations.
Not only are Piccalio’s sustainable products made in a safe and ethical environment, but the company works with One Tree Planted, a nonprofit environmental organization that supports reforestation by planting a tree for each order on Piccalio’s website. So, you can feel extra good about your purchase.
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