When I was pregnant and had a newborn, I was very careful about what I bought. I was all for minimalism (although I did spring the money for a bedside co-sleeper, cloth diapers and some minimalist cloth diaper accessories.) So imagine everyone’s surprise when I decided I wanted to buy a learning tower for Mac. Well there are three definite reasons I wanted to buy one.
(For anyone who doesn’t know, a learning tower is a big wooden platform that toddlers and older children can use to be able to reach the counter.)
As a Montessori parent, I value independence for children. I want to give them the tools and resources to teach them to succeed in life. (To learn more about Montessori, make sure you read What the Heck is Montessori?) One area of the house where it is especially hard for a child to gain independence is the kitchen. All of the counters are up so high that they can’t reach, even if they do have a small step stool. A learning tower will help them be able to be an active part in food preparation.
From the time Mac was about 1, she has been able to not only climb in and stand in the learning tower, but to also push it around the kitchen to get where she needs to be. The platform can be lowered four rungs, so it will grow with your child.
Most people are probably thinking “Okay, I get that you want to give your child independence, but just buy them a stool.” That would be a much cheaper way to give them independence. But I’m sorry, a flimsy plastic step stool just doesn’t give the same sense of safety as a solid wood learning tower with railings on all sides.
It has also helped give us a safe space for her to watch from as we cook on the stove or open the oven. Mac always wants to help us cook and I want to let her, as much as I can. But if I didn’t have a designated “safe space” like the learning tower, she would be right in the way as I was taking food out of the oven.
There are plenty of guides online to build or hack your own learning tower for cheaper. But Andrew and I are not the best handymen. We also live in a small townhouse. I knew that what ever kind of learning tower we had would be prominently displayed on our small main floor.
I picked a beautiful, dark wooden learning tower that doesn’t show the food Mac spills on it and looks like another beautiful piece of furniture instead of something I threw together from some wooden scraps.