Which learning towers are best?
Kitchen counters are built at a standard height of 36 inches to make it easy for adults to prep and cook. Kids who are curious about cooking and baking would like to help but are too small to be able to work at the counter the way an adult can.
Until now, that is. Learning towers are purpose-built step stools with enclosed sides so kids won’t fall. The term “learning tower” is trademarked but has come into common use the same way someone would say “Kleenex” when they mean “tissue.”
Whether you call them learning towers, kitchen staircases or kitchen helpers, these platforms give your children the opportunity to explore, interact and play at adult heights. If you are looking for the original learning tower, take a look at the Little Partners Original Learning Tower, designed by a Montessori educator.
What to know before you buy a learning tower
Standing on a chair to help in the kitchen is typical of little kids, but unsafe because chairs are designed to sit in, not to stand on. Learning towers are made of wood or plastic and have one or two steps with a platform to stand on and sturdy sides to learn against. These sidewalls and safety rails are the key differences between learning towers and step stools.
The primary purpose of a learning tower is to let little kids participate in everyday activities that give them a sense of accomplishment by turning groceries into meals. Kids develop their gross- and fine-motor skills and learn to define cooking as fun, not drudgery or something that magically happens. Adults also get more quality time with their kids and connect them to their heritage with recipes and techniques passed down from generation to generation.
Learning-tower activities you can do with your child
- Help with cooking and baking: Little kids love to add ingredients, stir and pour contents into baking pans and lick the cake batter from the spoon. These activities help develop small children’s motor skills.
- Help with plating: When the food is ready to come out of the oven, your child can help place portions on the plates.
- Language development: Young children can learn the names of all the fruits and vegetables in your household, an important first step in learning to enjoy eating new things.
- Climbing skills: Young kids learn to climb stairs, use handrails and balance themselves securely while working at the counter.
- Seeing eye to eye: Your child gets to work together with you at the same height as a big kid or adult, an important step in developing confidence.
What to look for in a quality learning tower
What are the learning tower’s dimensions?
The height of the tower and the height of the platform where your child stands are two important measurements to consider. Look for learning towers that allow you to adjust the height of the standing platform to conform to your kids’ dimensions as they grow.
How safe is the learning tower?
Does it sit solidly and firmly on the floor? What about the side and front rails? Can your child lean on them with confidence?
Many parents like learning platforms that coordinate with the decor of their kitchens. Look for learning towers that come in a range of colors and finishes.
Look for better learning towers to be able to turn into art-center easels by adding whiteboards, chalkboards, erasers, magnets, non-spill paint cups and storage compartments for art supplies.
How much you can expect to spend on a learning tower
Basic learning towers cost between $60 and $100. Better units with greater safety, more features and more adjustments cost up to $200.
Learning tower FAQ
When can my child start using a learning tower?
A. The right time is when your child is able to stand for longer periods. Kids usually acquire this skill somewhere around 18 months.
Are learning towers really safe?
A. Yes. Learning towers are purpose-built to be stable platforms. As long as you don’t exceed the weight limit and your child stays inside the rails, your tower should be very safe.
What are the best learning towers to buy?
Top learning tower
What you need to know: This first learning tower was designed by a Montessori educator.
What you’ll love: This learning tower stands 39 inches tall overall, supports up to 250 pounds and adjusts to any or four different height positions. This learning tower has a wide base for extra stability, two climbing steps and a four-position adjustable platform that measures a roomy 15 by 18 inches. This product comes in your choice of five different colors.
What you should consider: Enhance the experience with the Little Partners Learn N’ Share Easel, Art and Education Attachment, sold separately.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top learning tower for the money
What you need to know: This solid-wood learning tower has four side rails and side-angled base supports for added stability.
What you’ll love: The entire unit is 35 by 18 by 15 inches and the non-toxic polyurethane coating on the wood allows for easy cleanup. The steps are coated in anti-slip materials and the height has three levels of adjustment so the roughly 12-inch-square platform can be raised from 13 to 17 inches above the floor. This learning tower is tested safe to hold up to 150 pounds, and at 9 pounds, is easy to move around.
What you should consider: This product arrives unassembled.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This natural-wood kitchen platform folds flat for convenient storage in a small space.
What you’ll love: This 36 by 23 by 23 inch learning tower is available in three styles and a range of colors. All four feet on this learning tower have two toes for added stability. This durable stool is crafted from solid hardwood and birch plywood and supports up to 125 pounds. It has a non-slip mat and netted front and back sides. The finish protects against scratches and scuff marks.
What you should consider: This foldable learning tower arrives needing you to only attach the feet with a screwdriver.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.