Do you have a little one who's always wanting to help out in the kitchen? Or perhaps you're familiar with the Montessori method and you want to combine these philosophies with cooking. If you'd like to include your child in meal prep or introduce them to what you're doing in the kitchen, a learning tower can be a helpful tool.
A learning tower allows your child to safely and independently create in the kitchen. They include an extra boost and rails so your kiddo can stand at counter height without balancing on a chair or stool. These learning towers also follow the Montessori method by giving children a chance to learn and explore.
If you're looking to purchase a learning tower, you may have lots of questions. What are the benefits and which one is best? Let's take a closer look at these Montessori tools and 5 of the best learning towers you can buy.
What is the Montessori Method?
If you're new to the Montessori method of education and lifestyle, you may be wondering how learning towers fit into the equation. The Montessori method was created by Dr. Maria Montesori, an Italian physician and educator who lived in Rome in the late 1890s. The goal of Montessori education and lifestyle is to focus on giving children a sense of independence and choice.
Many Montessori schools exist around the country and feature mixed-aged classrooms, collaborative play, and hands-on learning. Montessori schools don't create their curriculum based on standardized testing. Instead, teachers and classrooms guide individual students, and children are evaluated on their own level of learning.
Children in Montessori environments become self-directed learners. They don't wait for a parent to push them to learn a new skill. Instead, they learn when they are ready, just like when they learn to walk or crawl. Montessori schools and home environments inspire freedom and creativity.
What are Montessori Learning Towers?
As mentioned, Montessori learning towers are pieces of furniture that allow children to safely be involved in cooking and other kitchen tasks. They look like a large stepstool with a platform at the top that's enclosed. These items can also be called toddler towers or kitchen helpers.
Let's take a closer look at these learning towers.
Benefits of a Learning Tower
Learning towers promote independence and opportunities for kids to be involved with daily routines. They allow a child to be close to you, the parent, without requiring your hands-on help to remain balanced and safe. Other benefits of a learning tower include:
- Safety and sturdiness that you won't get when you simply use a stool or kitchen chair.
- More bonding between you and your child.
- Allowing your child to feel involved in the kitchen.
- The opportunity for your child to focus on the task at hand, rather than remaining balanced.
- Independence and self-confidence
Learning Towers and Safety
As we can see from the benefits above, a learning tower is a safer option than simply using a kitchen stool or chair. A chair or stool is not enclosed and can cause a child to fall backward or lose balance. Keep in mind, however, that your child should still be supervised when using a learning tower. While they are safer than other kitchen furniture, they can also create a false sense of safety. No item is perfect and there is still room for accidents.
Additionally, be sure to always follow the age and weight specifications that are provided by the manufacturer. Every child is different and some may be able to start using learning towers at a younger age than others.
To ensure your child is safe when using a learning tower, consider doing the following:
- Regularly inspect the learning tower to be sure there aren't any loose screws, splinters, or visible damage.
- Sign up for recall notifications with the manufacturer.
- Make sure the learning tower you choose is the right size for your child.
- Remember that parental supervision is still necessary.
What to Look for When Purchasing a Learning Tower
Not all learning towers are created equal. When searching for the best one to buy, you'll need to factor in your child's age and abilities, your kitchen space, any special features, and the cost. Here are a few things to consider before you purchase a learning tower:
- Do you need one with adjustable height capabilities?
- Is your kitchen large enough to keep this piece of furniture out at all times? Or do you need one that can easily fold away and be stored?
- What are your child's current capabilities and will the learning tower you purchase be able to serve them as they grow?
- Would you like one with special features like a chalkboard to keep your child engaged and entertained even when they're not standing on it?
Also, keep in mind that sturdiness matters as wooden learning towers tend to be more stable and last longer than plastic ones.
5 Best Montessori Learning Towers
Now that you know the importance of learning towers and what to look for when buying one, here are 5 of the best on the market today.
SDADI Adjustable Height Learning Stool
This adorable, wooden helper tower features adjustable access so your child can still use it as they grow. Thanks to this adjustable feature, children anywhere from 18 – 48 months and up to 150 pounds can use the product with ease. Railings keep kiddos safe and the stool is manufactured entirely out of pine for a sturdy, easy-to-clean finish. 5 different color options are available and reviewers love its durability and easy assembly.
- Adjustable height feature allows children 18-48 months to grow with the stool.
- Sturdy, pine wood build creates durability reviewers love.
- Comes in 5 color options including natural and painted finishes.
TOETOL Bamboo Standing Tower
This learning tower features a large, non-slip mat at the top of the platform that keeps a child safe, even when with wet surfaces. This product is also constructed of natural bamboo and has 4 railings at the top to keep children secure. Similar to the SDADI learning tower, this kitchen helper offers 3 adjustable levels and an adjustable crossbar at the top to accommodate your child whether they're sitting or standing. Non-slip pads on the bottom also protect your flooring and the reviews state this learning tower is sturdy, and safe.
- Sturdy and safe with railings at the top and a non-slip mat
- 3 adjustable height options
- Easy to assemble
- Adjustable bar at the top to accommodate sitting or standing children
Guidecraft High-Rise Step-Up
The super simple design makes this learning tower a more affordable option. The step-up design also promotes safety as it's easy for toddlers to get up and down with textured steps and handles at the top that your child can grab onto. Additionally, this product is built to last and can hold up to 200 pounds. Reviewers stated that this product was easy to put together, durable, and easy to clean.
Guidecraft Classic Kitchen Helper
With a chalkboard, whiteboard, and fun shapes on the side, it's easy to see why this learning tower has glowing reviews. The product is made in the USA and folds for convenient storage. It can also hold up to 125 pounds and is made from a combination of hardwood and birch with a safe, non-toxic finish that makes spills and stains easy to clean. Those who have purchased this kitchen helper stated that's secure, easy to move, and the foldable option makes it worth the purchase. This product also comes in various colors.
Little Partners Learning Tower
This product was designed by a former Montessori school principal and has a plethora of features. From the climbing steps, removable enclosure panels, and roomy dimensions, to the solid wood construction and chalkboard on the outside, this learning tower is perfect for your little one. It also has four levels of height adjustment and can hold up to 200 pounds. Reviewers loved the sturdiness of the product and that the size was big enough for 2 kids at once. Other colors are also available.
If you desire a safe and effective way for your child to be a part of the kitchen process, a learning tower is a must-have. Whether you're prepping dinner, making cookies, or simply getting creative on your countertops, this piece of furniture allows your child to experience independence and creativity. It's also a great addition to your Montessori home.
Further Reading on Montessori:
- The 5 Best Montessori Busy Books for Learning and Development
- Where Can You Buy Montessori Toys?
- The 9 Benefits of a Montessori Education
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Ground Picture/Shutterstock.com.