Best climbing frame: 8 options for active kids of every age

Keep the kids occupied in the garden with the best climbing frame. Our picks include options for toddlers to teens

Included in this guide:

Best climbing frame: Plum Climbing Pyramid Wooden Play Centre
(Image credit: Plum)

The best climbing frame is a great investment for a family-friendly garden. Sure, what you might be able to fit in your garden may not live up to the grand structures at the local park, but the convenience of a good way for the kids to get active in the garden should not be overlooked. 

This way, they'll spend more time outside, in the fresh air, and you needn't worry about them getting enough exercise while you're busy with house and garden chores. If you have older kids who can play safely with limited supervision, there are some really impressive climbing frames for the garden with slides and swings included. However, our list also has smaller options for toddlers, too.

And if you think now is not the right time of year to invest, that is where you are wrong. A climbing frame is a solid gifting option – and in our opinion a great way to get the kids enjoying the garden year round. So scroll on to see our top picks for a range of ages and budgets. From simple structures to those with climbing walls, turrets and hidey holes, each will help your kids build their confidence, develop coordination and explore their imagination.

Want even more ideas to keep the kids entertained? Then make sure you check out our best trampolines so you can add to your fun garden games collection. 

The best climbing frames 2021

Best climbing frame: Plum Climbing Pyramid Wooden Play Centre

(Image credit: Plum)

1. Plum Climbing Pyramid Wooden Play Centre

The best climbing frame you can buy

Specifications
Made from: Premium FSC certified timber
Suitable for: 3 - 12 years
Size: L1.50m x W3.90m x H2.10m
Max user weight: 50kg
Reasons to buy
+
5 year guarantee
+
Has a slide, rock climbing wall, secret play area and more
+
Compact
Reasons to avoid
-
Nothing!

The Plum Climbing Pyramid Wooden Play Centre is our pick of the best climbing frame you can buy. 

Age range
Suitable for children who are aged three to 12. It features everything from an eight-foot wave slide to a rock climbing wall, a secret play area, a ladder, a rope climber and a large double play deck. 

Design
It's made from premium FSC certified timber and it comes with a five-year warranty. They'll have hours of fun using it. The best part? It's compact so as not to take up too much precious garden space.

Best metal climbing frame: TP Toys Children's Explorer Metal Climbing Frame Set and Slide

(Image credit: TP toys)

2. TP Toys Children's Explorer Metal Climbing Frame Set and Slide

The best metal climbing frame

Specifications
Made from: Galvanised steel
Suitable for: 18 months - 12 years
Size: Low height: 169cm x H136cm; Full height: 208cm x 368cm x H201cm
Max user weight: 100kg
Reasons to buy
+
Height adjustable
+
100kg max weight
+
Sturdy
+
Slide on the side
+
Quite simple to assemble
Reasons to avoid
-
Not the best looking

The TP Toys Children's Explorer Metal Climbing Frame Set with Slide & Jungle Run is brilliant. 

Age range
It can be used by your little one from when they are 18 months to 12 years old and the frame is easily changeable depending on your child's height. It takes just two hours to assemble if two adults are tackling the job,

Design
It's made from galvanised steel for durability purposes. The den at the top features a window and roll-up doors, while it's designed to keep nuts and bolts out of their sight. It has a 2.5m long slide coming off it, as well.

Best climbing frame for toddlers: Little Tikes Jungle Climber

(Image credit: Little Tikes)

3. Little Tikes Jungle Climber

The best climbing frame for toddlers

Specifications
Made from: Plastic
Suitable for: 3+
Size: H137cm x W37cm x L169cm
Reasons to buy
+
1 year guarantee
+
Easy to clean
+
Has slide and rope climbing
+
120 minute assembly
Reasons to avoid
-
Made of plastic

Choose the Little Tikes Jungle Climber if you are trying to entertain an adventurous toddler. 

Age range 
This climbing frame has a jungle-themed design that toddlers will love and is suitable for children aged three and above. We think children would soon grow out of this design, however, and may want something bigger and more exciting after a couple of years. It takes 120 minutes to build and requires two people for the assembly.

Design
It's made from plastic and is completely weatherproof for year-round use. It has everything from a slide to rope-climbing, a secret tunnel, high steps and more. The best part? It's small in size so will be slightly less obtrusive in your garden than our other picks. Winning.

Best large climbing frame: FATMOOSE Wooden Climbing Frame

(Image credit: FATMOOSE)

4. FATMOOSE Wooden Climbing Frame

The best large climbing frame

Specifications
Made from: Solid timber
Suitable for: 3+
Size: H220cm x D443cm x W185cm
Reasons to buy
+
Solid construction
+
Super fun
+
10-year warranty
+
Assembly isn't that easy
+
Has a hose connection to turn the slide into a water slide
Reasons to avoid
-
Doesn't come with basketball hoop or rock climbing accessories

Buy the FATMOOSE Wooden Climbing Frame if you have several children to keep busy, or if your children often have friends back after school or over to play during the holidays. 

Age range 
Not suitable for children under the age of three, this design is perfect for bigger for kids looking for a more challenging climbing frame experience. 

Design 
This climbing frame is huge with everything from a long slide to monkey bars, a climbing rope, a climbing wall and much more. In fact, its slide even doubles as a water slide with a handy hose connection. It's made from high-press impregnated solid timber and is supported by 7cm x 7cm beams for safety purposes. It's also easy to care for and it comes with comprehensive assembly instructions to make this process easy. It also comes with a 10-year guarantee.

Best budget climbing frame: LIFETIME Unisex-Youth Dome Climber Jungle Gym

(Image credit: LIFETIME)

5. LIFETIME Unisex-Youth Dome Climber Jungle Gym

The best budget-friendly climbing frame

Specifications
Made from: High-quality steel
Suitable for: 3 - 10
Size: H137cm x W274cm
Reasons to buy
+
Inexpensive
+
Easy to maintain
+
Wide age range
Reasons to avoid
-
Not the best looking

The LIFETIME Dome Climber is a great pick if you are on a budget. Or, if you want something easy to build and simple to maintain.

Age range 
Suitable for kids aged between three and 10, this dome climber can hold up several children at any one time.

Design 
This high-quality climbing frame is made from heavy-duty powder-coated steel that's UV-resistant so it can be left outside no matter the weather. Easy to set up and very colourful, this climbing frame will help kids to improve their limb strength, balance and agility.

Best large climbing frame: WICKEY Climbing Frame MultiFlyer

(Image credit: WICKEY)

6. WICKEY Climbing Frame MultiFlyer

The best climbing frame for several children to enjoy

Specifications
Made from: Treated solid wood
Suitable for: 3+
Size: W288cm x H263cm x D429cm
Reasons to buy
+
Bargain price for the size
+
Made from solid wood
+
Comes with swings, climbing stones, sandpit, slide
Reasons to avoid
-
Very large

The WICKEY Climbing Frame MultiFlyer is large but very fun. Made from pressure-treated solid wood, this high-quality climbing frame is great for larger gardens or those with several children. Or, if you're often the parent who has everyone's children round to play.

Age range
Suitable for children aged three and over, adult supervision is required when children are using this intricate climbing frame.

Design
Large yet super fun, this climbing frame comes complete with everything from two swings to a slide – that measures 220cm in length – as well as climbing stones and swinging hooks. It even has a sandpit built-in and it comes with a racing steering wheel as well as a telescope.

Dunster House MonkeyFort Wilderness Climbing Frame

7. Dunster House Monkey Fort Woodland Climbing Frame With Wave Slide

The best climbing frame for bigger kids

Specifications
Made from: Pressure treated wood
Suitable for: 3-14 years
Size: W3.80m x D3.40m
Max user weight: 50kg
Reasons to buy
+
Wide range of activities
+
Tower with den at the top
Reasons to avoid
-
Not the cheapest option
-
Will require more than one person to build it

Another great buy if you have slightly older kids, this climbing frame offers multiple activities in one package. 

Age range
Suitable for children aged three and upwards, this is a climbing frame that offers plenty of challenging activities that kids will love to try as they grow up. Designed for up to five children to be using it at the same time. 

Design
With this climbing frame you get a tower with a roof over the top that kids will love to turn into a den, two comfy swings, monkey bars and an extra thick wavy slide. It's made from pressure treated timber and there's a 10 year guarantee on the timber against rot and insect infestation.

Best climbing frame for indoor use: MAMOI Climbing frame

(Image credit: MAMOI)

8. MAMOI Climbing frame

The best climbing frame for indoor use

Specifications
Made from: Wood
Suitable for: 36 months +
Size: H60cm x W119-149.50cm x D41cm
Max user weight: 50kg
Reasons to buy
+
Great for rainy days
+
Can be painted to suit your decor
+
Adjustable in height
+
Can also be used outside
+
Eco-friendly
+
Non-toxic
Reasons to avoid
-
Can't be left outside in bad weather

The MAMOI Climbing frame is great for both indoor and outdoor use, just be sure to bring it back inside if you are using it in the garden – it won't last long if it rains! 

Age range
Suitable for children from three years old to bigger kids, this climbing frame is adjustable in height – the spacing of the ladder's arms can be moved to be as tall or low as your child prefers. This means that this climbing frame can grow with your little one – perfect!

Design
This climbing frame gets five stars from us design-wise. Use it on its own or along with other MAMOI climbing frames, as they link together almost like Lego bricks. Also, the slide that comes with doubles as a ladder (on the other side) to make it multi-functional. It's made from plain wood that has been sanded with no sharp corners to make it safe for play, while this means it could also be painted to match your decor. Eco-friendly, too! As well as non-toxic.

How to buy the best climbing frame

Age
If you are spending a lot of money on a climbing frame, you want to make sure that it will last your child for a few years. Some climbing frames grow as your child grows, while others are suitable for certain ages upwards. Choose the climbing frame based on your child's likes and dislikes, too – there's no point in getting one with a slide if they won't use it, it just adds to the expense and is an extra thing to clean.

Size
Have a size in mind when looking for climbing frames, so that you definitely know it will fit in your outdoor space without dominating it. A huge climbing frame that takes up the bulk of your garden space is probably not the most favourable outlook you want to be faced with every time you look out of the window. 

What's it made from?
Consider how easy your new climbing frame is to clean and whether it just needs a wipe down with a cloth or a full on jet wash. Wooden designs may need a suitable wood treatment after a couple of years for added durability. Bear this in mind when choosing to make sure you're happy with any associated ongoing maintenance. 

Where to put a climbing frame

Having a big enough footprint for your chosen climbing frame is the most important consideration, but don't forget to look up before you build. Are there overhanging trees that could create a hazard – or just a plain annoyance if they drop sticky pollen and leaves allover it? Is the climbing frame far enough from neighbouring fences that your kids won't intrude on someone's privacy? 

Also, make sure the surface you are building it on is suitable. Grass is fine, but needs to be level and even. Bumps, dints and slopes will make the structure unstable and could impact on its durability. Do not put a climbing frame on a hard surface like a deck or patio, as injury is likely to be worse should anyone take a tumble. Specialist play surfaces like bark chip and recycled rubber tiles are great options if you can factor in some hard landscaping work ahead of construction.

See our garden ideas for kids for more inspiration for creating a safe outdoor play space.

Annie Collyer
Annie Collyer

Annie is our Deputy Ecommerce Editor at Gardeningetc. She spends much of her time helping you add those all-important garden decor items to your shopping cart. From striking outdoor lighting to pretty and practical bird feeders, or even a gift for a friend or family member who loves to garden – she covers it all. Otherwise, you can find her thinking of ways to maximise space out on her delightful yet teeny-tiny London terrace. Next on the shopping list: a fire pit...