Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own. As an Etsy and Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information see Disclaimer and Disclosure Policy.
Learning Towers are a must for toddlers. Imagine constantly having to look up at things and feeling so small. This is how your toddler tends to feel almost every day. Enter the Learning Tower, and all of a sudden, your little one is right there with you, feeling important.
They are up at the same level as mom and dad, and it gives them so much joy. If you don’t have a learning tower yet, get one! Here is a list of the best learning towers and info on how to make your own.
What is a Learning Tower?
A learning tower is an enclosed platform for toddlers and young kids. The tower raises your child to a counter, workspace, or table. It is a Montessori inspired step stool that gives toddlers more independence while staying safe.
They are sometimes called kitchen helpers because it allows young kids to be in the action of whatever is going on out of their reach. It gets them up high to your level without the danger of falling backward off the stool.
Learning Tower vs Step Stool
Toddler can climb up on their own safely
Adjustable Height Options Available
Can be Used by Newly Walking/Standing Toddler
Why Can’t I Just Use a Stool?
Using a step stool can be a little tricky for a toddler that is just learning to walk. They don’t quite have their balance completely figured out yet. You can just use a step stool for your toddler to help you out in the kitchen or help with other tasks. But, it is not as safe or practical. Not to mention, most of them aren’t tall enough.
It can be tricky for them to climb up on the stool without having something to hang onto. Toddlers tend to be pretty wobbly, too, so it is best to stay right next to them at all times when they are on a step stool in case they lose their balance.
Many times a regular dining chair is used too. This is unsafe, as well. The child can lean too much on the back of the chair, and it could flip over. Chairs are also made to move across a floor easily, so there is the possibility the chair will slide around if your toddler moves around too much on it.
Why Learning Towers are so great
These enclosed stools are also called Kitchen Helpers. Why? Because they allow your little one to become your favorite new sous chef. When children are young, all they want to do is help with everything, whether it is baking or cooking, or even washing the dishes.
They are always small tasks that I let my kids help out with, but they love to help in the kitchen. Even if I just give them a bowl to ‘mix’ in while I do stuff. Keeping them busy ‘helping’ makes it so much easier to get the tasks done that I need to do.
As they get older, they get to do a little more. They are learning while having fun. My kids can’t wait until cookie making and pie making during the holidays. They love to roll out the dough and cut out shapes. My little girl is obsessed with sprinkles to her specialty is decorating cookies.
Benefits of a Learning Tower
Learning Towers make kids feel important. During their early years, they are just trying to get attention and want to be involved in activities at all times. The kitchen helper makes it easy for toddlers to help with everyday kitchen tasks that we, as adults, don’t think of as important. However, it means the world to them. It creates such a great bonding experience with your toddler.
Most of them are very lightweight, so they can easily be moved to the bathroom to do their nighttime routine with little help. It gets them up higher to the sink so they can wash their hands and brush their teeth. When toddlers feel in control of doing their routine, it makes the process go a lot smoother.
They encourage your toddler to be independent and helps with their gross motor skills. Everything they do while using their tower is most likely teaching them something. It gives them a safe environment to be curious and find out more about the world around them.
What to look for in a learning tower?
There are many different features you can get in a tower. There are basic towers or multifunctional ones. Here are some features to look out for when deciding what you want out of your helper tower.
- Is it paintable?
- Adjustable heights
- Removable back support bar
- Non-slip top step
- Maximum weight capacity
- Durable Material
- Easy to clean
- Easy to Assemble
**Best Learning Towers for Small Spaces**
This Learning Tower is foldable and lightweight. These features make it perfect for small spaces. You can easily move and store it whenever you want. The sides have fun cutouts, and the feet allow it to go up flush against the counter. It is only one platform (no steps) with a cutout that the kids use to step up onto the platform.
A foldable helper tower is perfect for small spaces. This comes fully assembled and ready to use. This one is a best seller and sells out fast. Get one while they are available! It is very durable and stable. The unique hinge joint design allows it to fold up easily. It is perfect for kids of all ages, starting at 18 months. It will support up to 176 lbs. I love the sleek modern design.
**Best Learning Towers on a Budget**
Made with solid pine and uses non-toxic finishes. It safely supports 150 lbs. The four-sided railing provides plenty of support for your toddler. At 33″, it elevates your child to counter height so they can help prepare meals. There is a removable gate that can be removed when the child gets older and more stable. All four legs have non slip strips, so it stays stable on any floor. Assembly is required.
Sturdy and lightweight, this is the perfect budget-friendly enclosed stool for your toddler. It is easy to put together, so your toddler can even help you with that. It is a fundamental model perfect for getting your toddler to counter height.
The sturdy handles allow your child to pull themselves up. It does not have back support attached, but you can always add something on the back if you are worried or turn it around so the open side faces the counter.
**Best Classic Learning Towers**
Have your toddler explore their independence in style. This Learning Tower has a minimalist design but is very functional and sleek looking. This tower is very lightweight and of great quality. Your toddler will love helping out in the kitchen while standing safely in their tower.
This Kitchen Helper was made with safety and style in mind. There is an adjustable platform top step that can be adjusted to 3 different heights. Screw covers and anti-slip pads are included for added safety. It has a removable safety rod so your toddler can easily get in and out of their tower.
Multiple colors are available in this classic learning tower. Easy quick assembly.
**Best Multi-Functional Learning Towers**
This Montessori Tower is a Kitchen Helper enclosed step stool that transforms into a table and chair for an activity area. This multi-functional tower is easy to assemble and transition. It is well constructed and made of quality materials.
There is an option to have animal cutouts, which is an adorable addition. Edges are all rounded and smoothed off. Toddlers can go from helping cook their dinner to eating it all in the same piece of furniture.
This Montessori tower is a great multifunctional learning tower. It goes from a kitchen helper to an activity table easily. Your toddler can go from helping in the kitchen to drawing or creating art. It is well crafted and sturdy. It has a support bar across the back to keep your little one safe. Assembly is required.
Are they safe?
Yes, learning towers are safe under proper supervision. They create a safe, enclosed, and stable environment for your toddler to explore and learn. However, even though they are safe, you should always supervise your child when using their learning tower. They may still need help climbing up or getting out. It gives them a little freedom and independence, but they still need to be supervised.
Be sure to make a childproof area where they will be helping. Do not have anything hot or sharp within their reach if they are helping you cook. Educate your child whenever they help you about certain objects that only mommy can use or talk about things they shouldn’t touch and why.
The best age for a learning tower
The best age to use a learning tower is 12 months to 3 years old. Your toddler should be able to stand on their own and have a good handle on balance. Manufacturers’ recommendations are different for each tower. Be sure to check the manufacturers’ height and weight maximum and/or minimum.
Tips for using a learning tower with your kids by age
Always use with adult supervision. Never leave your child unattended when they are using the kitchen helper.
Age 12-18 months
- always use the back support bar
- help them in and out of the tower
- great to use to help your toddler wash hands and brush teeth
- have them by you while you prepare things in the kitchen
Age 18-24 months
- have them add ingredients to bowls and stir things
- help wash fruit and vegetables
- clear the table and put dishes in the sink
Age 2 years old and beyond
- more hands-on help preparing meals
- put together sandwiches and other easy things
- help rinse or wash dishes
- roll-out cookie dough and cut shapes out
- pour their own cereal
As your child gets older, they can enjoy helping out more and more. Depending on their motor skills, you can get them child-safe utensils to help with chopping and cutting when they are ready.
DIY Learning Tower
Want to try your hand at making your own DIY learning tower? This is what I opted to do when my children were ready for one. It turned out great, and both of our kids had a lot of fun using it. When my daughter was old enough to use a small step stool, my son was big enough for our DIY kitchen helper, so it worked out perfectly.
How do you build a learning tower?
If you want an easy DIY learning tower, start with a step stool and build a tower frame to go on top of it. The Ikea Bekvam Step Stool is perfect to start with. Unfortunately, it has been discontinued through Ikea, but you can still find it online. Another similar option is Houchics Multipurpose Step Stool.
I mostly followed the tutorial found on Happy Grey Lucky. A couple of changes I made were I added hooks to the backside where the dowel goes, so I could slide the dowel in and out instead of screwing the dowel in.
I used unfinished pine, so I needed to sand mine. Instead of pine, you could also use birch or poplar, but it might be a little more pricey. I also skipped the step of wood glue and filling in the screw holes. So mine came out a little more rustic looking.
Your toddler will love their learning tower for years to come. It is a great gift idea for a baby soon to be a toddler or a preschooler. Start nurturing their love for helping you in the kitchen, and you will have a helper for life.
Both my kids love helping out in the kitchen. Every year we make Christmas cookies together. More recently, we started a make your own pizza night. Our Kitchen Helper has gotten a lot of use over the years.