Developmental Risky Play

Exploring the Pikler Triangle

“Risky play in early childhood can help develop a child’s self-confidence, resilience, executive functioning abilities and even risk-management skills. Brussoni’s work in injury prevention research shows that engaging in risky play can actually reduce the risk of injury, too.” – Brittany Toole

Developmental risky play is important for children to be able to build the necessary skills to be successful in life. When children are allowed to take risks, in a safe as necessary situation, they gain a sense of self-trust, confidence and motivation. It allows them to try new things, check their own boundaries, test their own limits and skills and begin to manage their emotions.

Our children are presented with multiple opportunities to engage in risky play in a safe environment, including using real tools for real jobs and using fragile materials. Ms. Diana and Ms. Gabriela often encourage them to use the Pikler triangle to climb and explore with concepts of height. Their goal is to help the children understand their own limits and resilience as they practice climbing to a self-chosen height, while also strengthening their gross and fine motor skills!

Was firm and secure in every step that he took, coordinating the movements of his hands and feet to successfully climb. As he climbed down, we noticed that his feet would miss a few steps and he would catch himself with his arm strength, holding himself steady!

Watched her friends and then approached the triangle, coordinating her movements as she climbed up, firm and secure in each step that she took. We wonder if she realizes how much she has advanced in her gross motor skills, smiling as she takes each step!

Wanted to move to the top of the triangle quickly, climbing with a firm grip and movements. She was extremely agile while coordinating her hands and feet to climb, stopping to observe the room from a higher stance once she reached the top (Perspective schema). We wonder if she realized how climbing would enable her to see more of the room. Is this why she was motivated to repeatedly go up and down? When she was at the bottom, was she comparing what and how much she could see compared to being at the top?

Was one of the first to approach the Pikler triangle, motivating his friends to join him. He engaged in further risk taking when he turned himself on the ladder without stepping off first, demonstrating excellent mobility, strength, and control. He would also release his hands while standing on the stairs without the need to support himself. We wonder if he was attempting to gain a better view of the room from different perspectives as he continued to turn himself. We could also see how he was aware of and motivating to his friends, encouraging them with his actions and gestures!

To learn more about the Pikler Triangle, please visit:

Contributing Educators: Diana Hurtado, Gabriela Urdaneta, Chelsie Braun

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