A kitchen is an excellent classroom in many ways. It is the perfect setting to introduce your little ones to simple math and science concepts through cooking, measuring, and pouring. The Montessori method lets our children easily access play or work items; a Montessori learning tower helps do that.
A Montessori kitchen helper is a piece of furniture you never knew you needed until you suddenly realized you did.
Let’s look into what Montessori learning towers are, how to use one, the benefits, and the different types.
What is a Montessori Learning Tower?
Also known as Montessori kitchen helper, kitchen tower, or toddler learning tower, it is a raised standing platform, like a step stool, but surrounded by safety rails to keep your child from falling. Your child can easily climb in and out of the tower safely and without assistance.
A learning tower allows your toddler to stand higher and safely reach the sink, kitchen counter, or dinner table. It’s helpful in most home activities, like cleaning, cooking, or personal hygiene; hence, also called a helper tower.
How to Use a Learning Tower?
A learning tower makes life easier for a parent and benefits the child. Here are some essential pointers to keep in mind while using it:
- Ensure parental supervision when a child is handling or climbing the helper tower.
- Use the learning tower per the manufacturer’s age and weight limit specification.
- Avoid any potentially dangerous items, like knives or stovetops, around the toddler tower or within reach.
- Remove the learning tower if your child is sitting on the top railings or tilting it to an unstable position. Then, re-introduce it again after a few days’ break.
- Inspect the unit regularly; ensure there aren’t any splinters or visible damage and all parts are screwed tightly and appropriately fastened.
- Wipe it clean intermittently as it may get dusty or sticky.
- Use it for your child to be occupied with simple activities and for them to be nearby while you’re occupied with kitchen chores.
Why Is a Learning Tower Useful?
Apart from being able to carry on with your work with peace of mind, you can have your toddler within your sight, safely engaged in an interesting activity. Here are some benefits of a learning tower:
- It provides a safer environment than a stool or chair
- Teaches independence (to climb on and off by themselves, practice personal hygiene tasks like washing hands, etc.) and builds self-confidence
- More parent-child bonding time while you can manage to cook up meals in parallel
- Involves your child in kitchen activities while you cook dinner or clean up in the kitchen
- Helps your little one learn new practical skills and develop their soft motor and gross motor skills
- Exposure to new foods helps in sensory learning; your toddler can see, touch, and explore different ingredients, making them more open to trying new foods.
What Ages Are Suitable to Use a Learning Tower?
Going by recommendation, learning towers can be used for 18 months and up toddlers. Practically though, you can use one whenever your toddler is comfortable standing on their own. If they can climb stairs, they will undoubtedly benefit from a learning tower.
The physical abilities to walk, stand, and climb, coupled with their natural curiosity, result in enthusiastic use of learning towers.
What Are the Different Types of Learning Towers?
Some of the best learning towers are among the three types as follows:
Classic learning towers are simple, minimalist types that include all the features for safety and adjustability.
One of the best learning tower models in the classic category, it has the following features:
- Three height options
- Includes non-slip mat
- Two kitchen helper keepers (safety nets) for added security
- Available in three different colors and style options
- Hardwood and hard plywood unit
- Folds away for easy storage; good for smaller spaces
- Available in a double-wide version for two children to climb on
- Suitable Age: 2+ Weight limit: 125 lbs
Yet another equally good classic learning tower, this learning tower includes:
- A non-slip mat
- Four different heights
- The highest quality layered birch
- Available in six colors
- Additional accessories available for an activity center like a shelf, paper holder, easel, chalkboard, and busy board
- Weight limit: 200 lbs
Learning towers that serve more than one purpose and can convert into a table and even a chair are pretty helpful.
A tower, chair, and table, this learning tower serves as a good piece of dual-purpose furniture. Some of its features include:
- Three height adjustment settings
- Made from premium birch plywood
- Converts to a child-size eating table
- Available in four color options
- Adjustable access step height
- Suitable Age: 18 months+ Weight limit: 175 lbs
Learning towers that can be folded are a great space-saving option, especially for those with smaller spaces.
Folding the learning tower not only works for easy storage but also for moving it around the house. Here are some features of this learning tower:
- Three-height adjustable platform
- Premium birch hardwood
- Sturdy and lightweight
- Easy to assemble
- Available in two color options
- Suitable Age: 12 months+ Weight Limit: 175 lbs
Buying Guide: How to Choose The Right Learning Tower or Kitchen Helper for Your Child
If you’re on the lookout for the best toddler learning tower for your little one, here are some aspects you need to check:
- Ideal Size and Height: One with adjustable heights makes for ease of use as your child grows or to be used by children of different heights.
- Flexibility: Flexible adjustments make it convenient to use with multiple children or when you have your toddler’s friends visiting. There are models with extra features like a chalkboard or accessories, making it easier to keep your child engaged.
- Non-Slippery: The standing platform must not be slippery. Alternatively, you could use a non-slip mat or avoid using socks.
- Safety: Among the many safety features, look for sturdy rails for your child to lean against safely.
- Strength: It must have a sturdy construction, providing a safe structure to contain all the wiggles. (The SDADI Adjustable Height Kitchen Step Stool is a good solid wood learning tower.)
- Material and Style: A solid wood learning tower tends to be more stable than a plastic one. With multiple color options, you can pick what suits your interiors even.
- Ease of Assembly: It’s convenient if no tools are required for an easy assembly of the learning tower.
- Storage: A learning tower that folds flat makes for easy storage in smaller spaces. If you’re tight on space, get one with a small footprint. (The Sprout Kids Sous-Chef toddler tower has a smaller footprint than competitors.)
- Budget/Price: If you’re on a budget, there are ones that cost less too. (The IKEA hack learning tower costs much less than most learning towers.)
- Warranty Information: Check for a learning tower that provides a longer-term warranty to be on the safer side.
An essential piece of furniture for Montessori at home, learning towers allow your toddlers to lend a hand in the kitchen, explore practical skills, become independent, and develop their motor skills simultaneously.
Accommodating your curious toddler in the kitchen with a learning tower is a great way to keep an eye on them. Aren’t you curious yourself now?