Helping tower: The best toddler step stool

The helping tower is hands-down the most used piece of toddler gear in our house. We all love the helping tower. My mom saw it on Instagram and recommended it to me, so I ordered it on Amazon and it arrived fully assembled in about a week. Now it’s in use Every. Single. Day.

Since then, my dad has built another one for our second child. They both love their learning towers!

A helping tower (or ‘learning tower’) is a piece of furniture that lets children participate alongside parents in activities at kitchen counter height. They provide a secure environment and have built-in steps, giving your children more independence.

Basically, to your toddlers, the world is a curious place! Kitchen helpers let your child explore the world and participate in daily activities in a safe way.

Learning tower
Helping tower: The best toddler step stool

What is a learning tower/helping tower?

A learning tower is an alternative to a step stool. Because of their design, they are much safer for activities in the kitchen. Essentially, they bring children up to kitchen counter height, which increases a child’s independence!

The original learning tower is sold by Little Partners. It’s got a Greenguard Gold Certification and a versatile design. The beautiful designs that Little Partners have made are some of the best learning towers on the market (and the most beautiful, too!). The Little Partners company was started by a Montessori school educator, Carol Gamble.

Learning towers have…

A learning tower has: Steps, a platform to stand on, and four sides. One of the sides is a simple bar, which makes the learning towers safe while still giving the child easy access. Some towers may have to three different heights, or even four, and the color and style will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer!

Some models will also let you adjust the height. This way, you can pick the appropriate platform height for your child depending on their stage of growth. Some may also be easily collapsible, making them easy to use in small spaces (this makes for easy storage, too!).

Since getting a learning tower for our kitchen, we barely use the step stool! We also loved that they didn’t require any tools for setup, making it easy for us busy parents! This is something to look for if you’re purchasing from a store, I suppose!

Benefits of learning towers

The four sides provide protection, while the steps allow children to participate in everyday activities. They are also super easy to clean and don’t take up too much space, making them an attractive option for many families!

This Montessori-inspired tower is incredibly sturdy and allows our toddler to participate in cooking and eat at the counter while I work. It lets our toddler be fully engaged in whatever is happening without me worrying about her safety. It’s one of the many Montessori-inspired pieces in our home.

I got this one off Amazon, and I think the maker also sells on Etsy. I’ve also seen other models for sale at big box stores. You could also make your own learning tower, too! The natural wood version in the photo below is hand-made.

The Little Partners learning tower is the original learning tower and is what many of the current models are based on. The little partners learning tower is a beautiful soft white and wooden design, making it attractive for your home (much like the one in the photo above). Their platform adjusts, giving four height options.

Learning tower 1
Helping tower: The best toddler step stool

How to use learning towers

My kids eat their Cheerios standing on the helping tower, they do their Play-Doh there, we do science experiments there, and we even have coffee time there… It gets used all day! My kids will climb into their helping tower any chance they get, making it one of the best learning materials in our house (and the most used, too!)

As you can see in the photo at the top of the post, some kitchen helpers can even fit two little ones. Just double-check the weight limit before doing this!

Since these learning towers are carefully designed to provide a secure learning space, children can use them as young as age two (with supervision). The sides and back bar prevent falls, and the large openings and roomy platform make it easy to enter and exit the learning tower.

Learning towers also come in numerous height options. For example, some have two built-in steps while others may come with three of four different heights.

Some even have adjustable heights! With adjustable heights, the kitchen helper can grow with your child! When searching for a kitchen helper for your toddler, just consider the weight limit and the size of your space.

Also, be sure to read reviews before purchasing! You’ll need to make sure that the tower works for your space and that it is appropriate to counter height.

Learning tower add-ons

We decided to stick with the basic learning tower because it is just what we need for our home. But, if you want additional accessories, there are lots of options!

Additional security

For added safety, you might consider a non-slip mat. Putting a non-slip mat under the tower will prevent movement and sliding.

You can also get Kitchen Helper Keepers (safety nets) if you are concerned about falls.

Learning tower 2
Helping tower: The best toddler step stool

Activity centers

Depending on the model you find, you may find one with an activity center. These are basically an activity pack for your children to practice drawing and writing. If you’re good at sewing, you could also probably make one for your own tower!

Conclusion

Worth it!! 100%

Having a toddler learning tower has made the world of difference in our home. This simple piece of furniture provides a healthier environment for nourishing my child’s imagination, lets her be fully engaged in the learning and creative process, and is one of the best learning tools in our house. With this tower, she can be an active member of the family, no matter the task. Her parents are loving the added independence, too…

This learning tower has quickly become a favorite item in our family home because it helps us reach the ultimate goal (and our child’s innate desire) of increasing her independence. As our child grows, she continues to love this piece of furniture, too!

Because it is easy to move around the kitchen, she excitedly brings her learning tower to whichever activity we are working on. She’s used it for helping with food prep and reaching things she needs off of the counter, as well as for countless crafts and snack times!

A helping tower might not work for you if…

The only time I would see a kitchen tower not making sense for you is if you have a small kitchen. Because many learning towers are made of solid wood and can be quite large, they won’t fit well in smaller spaces. That being said, you can find foldable towers that are made for easy storage and to accommodate small spaces!

The learning towers we have are amazing – But they are not height adjustable. If being able to adjust the size is important, look for one with three height options so your kids can continue to use it as they age!

Okay, last one. If you are worried that your kids will use the tower to climb into places they shouldn’t, then a learning tower may not make sense yet! With enough practice and guidance, though, kids learn how to use their kitchen helper in a safe way. It just takes a bit of time to adjust.

We’ve written a lot of posts on Montessori education and ideas for parents to make their homes Montessori-friendly. If you’re looking for room design tips or activities for your children, check out some of these:

Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a digital content creator and mom of three. She is also an engineer and bit of a plant nerd too. She has been featured by publications such as Real Simple, Mother Earth News, Homes & Gardens, and Family Handyman.

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