Whether it’s a curb, a hill or a tree, children love to get to the top of things. A dome climber allows them to explore this desire in a fun, supervised and safe way. However, not all dome climbers are for all children, so it’s essential to learn what to look for when shopping for one.
Our favorite model, the Easy Outdoor Space Dome Climber, is not too tall and boasts an impressive 1,000-pound weight capacity.
What to know before you buy a dome climber
What are the benefits of a dome climber?
As a child grows, they reach certain developmental milestones. Climbing is essential – whether parents like it or not – because it is an important gross motor skill that boosts strength, improves coordination and hones balance.
Physical activity is so important that the CDC has guidelines stating, “Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.” Climbing meets these requirements. Beyond the physical aspect of climbing, a child can also increase both their directional and spatial awareness.
Ideal space for a dome climber
If you are purchasing a dome climber, whether it is an indoor or an outdoor model, you need a level area that is large enough to fit the apparatus with at least a 6-foot safety zone on all sides. For example, a climbing dome with a 10-foot base would need a minimum of 22 feet.
What to look for in a quality dome climber
Sufficient weight capacity
Some dome climbers can support up to 1,000 pounds, while others have a maximum weight limit of 150 pounds. It is essential to consider this and think of the long-term implications. A quality dome climber may last five years or more. If you purchase a model that doesn’t support a great deal of weight, your child can outgrow it.
The best height for a dome climber can be a tricky topic. If you purchase a model for a younger child, they will outgrow it. However, a model that will eventually be a good fit for an older child might be a little dangerous for them when they are young.
The best dome climber will not only feature a durable build; it will not have any exposed bolts or sharp edges.
This feature is more for the parents. Unfortunately, no matter which dome climber you purchase, assembly is going to be a time-consuming process.
Aside from the bars that make up the climbing structure, a few dome climbers come with unique elements. For instance, some models feature a swing or a canopy, while others include removable panels to turn your dome into a tent. If that sounds like something that would interest your child, look for a dome climber with these extra features.
How much you can expect to spend on a dome climber
Most individuals will find a dome climber they need in the $150-$300 price range. Smaller models made of plastic for the youngest children will cost less than $150, while high-end sets can cost over $400.
Dome climber FAQs
Are dome climbers safe?
A. Dome climbers are as safe as you make them. An adult must supervise all playtime activities. Adults must devote their full attention to their children and not allow themselves to become distracted by a device. Be aware of the equipment’s limits – the instructions will provide weight capacity and a maximum number of climbers. Rough play that involves kids pushing or pulling on each other while climbing should never be permissible.
My kids play on their dome climber so long that they have blisters. Is there anything that can protect their hands?
A. Gymnasts run into this problem all the time: friction can pull the upper layer of skin away from the lower layers, causing a blister to form. You can get a pair of monkey bar gloves for the casual climber to help protect their hands.
Best dome climbers
Top dome climber
What you need to know: With a 46-inch height, this rugged dome climber is best suited for smaller children.
What you’ll love: This model is manufactured using UV-resistant steel. It has a maximum weight capacity of 1,000 pounds and is large enough to fit five children at one time safely.
What you should consider: While this model isn’t difficult to build, it is time-consuming.
Top dome climber for the money
What you need to know: This dome climber stands out for its rock-climbing handgrips, which provide a secure handhold for adventurous kids.
What you’ll love: With a 10-foot base, this is the largest dome climber on our shortlist. It has a maximum weight capacity of 600 pounds, and all hard edges have been rounded or covered to reduce the chance of snagging or scratching.
What you should consider: A few users had difficulty interpreting the instructions and understanding part labels.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Due to its size and lower maximum weight capacity, this fun and durable dome climber is only suitable for smaller children.
What you’ll love: Because this unit is manufactured using rugged, UV-resistant plastic, it is rust-resistant as well. It weighs just 25 pounds, making it easy to reposition, and it is designed for either indoor or outdoor use.
What you should consider: The locking pins can be difficult to press and may make assembly painful for some individuals.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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