learning tower

Learning Tower: All You Need to Know (+ Best Models)

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Learning towers are super popular in Montessori households.

But they’re also appreciated by families that do not apply Montessori principles in their homes, simply because of their convenience and the benefits they bring.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at what it is and why it’s so great. We’ll also recommend the best learning tower models you can currently find on the market (our favorite is this great model by Guidecraft).

What is a learning tower?

A learning tower (also called “Montessori kitchen helper”) is a raised platform designed specifically to lift a toddler up to counter height, thus encouraging independence and participation in cooking activities. It is equipped with safety rails to prevent the child from falling.

Montessori education is all about letting children participate in everyday activities. It helps to strengthen their independence and learn to take responsibility in the household.

They feel like part of the family, learn new skills, and develop their soft motor and gross motor skills. No wonder that toddlers simply love being in the kitchen and helping with the chores.

Not to mention the fact that children who participate in cooking are usually more willing to eat the food, or at least to try it.

Learning Tower Benefits

What should I look for in a learning tower?

When choosing the kitchen tower, there are certain aspects you should pay close attention to. For example:

  • height – how tall is the tower and what is the height of the standing platform?
  • safety and stability – is it stable and are there enough safety features?
  • adjustability – can you adjust the height of the platform?
  • design – will it fit the decor of my kitchen?

From the Montessori point of view, one of the most important things is to look for a product that allows your child to climb into it when old enough. This promotes independence and freedom of movement and saves you from some unnecessary lifting.

All the learning towers in this list are quality products made of sturdy materials and fulfill the safety standards. The rest is up to your specific needs and design preferences 🙂

Best learning towers for toddlers

Now let’s take a look at specific products from reliable sellers we consider to be the best learning towers on the market.

Sous-Chef Toddler Tower by Sprout Kids

sprout kids toddler tower

Sprout Kids is a well-known manufacturer of Montessori-friendly furniture for kids. Their learning tower called “Sous-Chef” is a premium, durable product with many great features – including the adjustable platform height, a guard plate, or practical handles that help toddlers to enter it easily.

  • Height: 34.5 inches (88 cm)
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Platform height: 12″, 15″ or 18″ (30 cm, 38 cm or 46 cm) 

Piccalio Mini Chef Convertible

piccalio learning tower

This sturdy learning tower by Piccalio has a very unique design. It can be converted into a toddler desk with a chair (so you’ll save a lot of space and money having 2 pieces of furniture in 1). It is perfect for children 18 months and older. 

  • Height: 36 inches (91 cm)
  • Adjustable: No
  • Platform height: 18 inches (46 cm)

Guidecraft Classic Kitchen Helper

guidecraft learning tower

If you don’t have much space in your kitchen, the Classic Kitchen helper by Guidecraft may be an ideal solution for you. It can be folded into a very compact size (22″ by 9″). The unit has adjustable height and some additional safety elements like a non-slip rubber mat and side netting. Available in 3 different colors. 

  • Height: 37 inches
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Platform height: 15″ or 18″ ( 38 cm or 46 cm) 

Piccalio Mini Chef Learning Tower

piccalio mini chef learning tower

Mini Chef by Piccalio has a simple, minimalist design that will match most kitchen decors. What we love the most about this learning tower is that it can be easily folded and stored away when not in use – very handy if you don’t have too much space in your kitchen!

  • Height: 36 inches (91 cm)
  • Adjustable: No
  • Platform height: 17.5″ (44 cm)

Sdadi Natural Wood Learning Tower

sdadi learning tower

The Sdadi learning tower has a classical design and construction that is safe and fits perfectly into any kitchen. We really like the side supporting foot that some extra stability to the base. The height of the standing platform can be adjusted.

  • Height: 35.4 inches (90 cm)
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Platform height: 13.5″ or 15.5″ or 17.5″ (34 cm or 39 cm or 44 cm)

Little Partners Original Learning Tower

little partners learning tower

We love the Little Partner learning tower because it has everything – natural-looking design, quality construction, wide base, adjustable height and it is easy to climb onto for older children. You can even buy an add-on attachment easel with 3 different canvases.

  • Height: 39 inches (99 cm)
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Platform height: max. 22 inches (56 cm)

Learning Tower by MontessoriHouseBed

learning tower MontessoriHOUSEbed

This kitchen step stool is a sturdy, well-crafted unit that has an adjustable platform height as well as climbing step height. It has a simple, elegant design and it’s available in various colors. A nice kitchen helper for a great price.

  • Height: 35.4 inches (89 cm)
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Platform height: 15.7” or 17.7” or 19.7” (40, 45 or 50 cm)

Why do we love our learning tower?

Learning tower was one of the best purchases in our household. We love cooking and preparing healthy food so we spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

Our little one is a very curious child who always wants to see what’s going on. Whenever I started cooking, she felt left out and wanted to see what’s going on. So buying a learning tower was a no-brainer for us as soon as she was able to stand on her own.

Here are our daughter’s favorite activities in the learning tower:

  • Observing the cooking process – she can touch and smell the food which is a perfect way to strengthen the sensory skills.
  • Language learning – we are naming the vegetables and fruits as I prepare them, which is a very natural way of learning new words.
  • Soft motor skills activities – we also practiced some food-related activities like transporting stuff from bowl to bowl, pouring water, or stirring.
  • Singing and repeating poems while cooking – we enjoy singing and repeating the poems by heart together, especially those related to food and drinks. It is a great way to strengthen the connection between words and actual objects.
  • Climbing the tower stairs up and down – now that she has learned how to climb the tower stairs, she’s sometimes doing it just for the sake of it (since we have our Pikler triangle in the living room, she uses the tower to practice her climbing skills in the kitchen).
  • Eating some healthy snacks – she’s much more enthusiastic about eating some healthy snacks while I’m cooking (I know it’s not ideal but better than chasing her around the whole apartment, I guess 🙂 ).

Read our guide to the Montessori kitchen and get inspiration for other toddler-friendly kitchen activities.

Difference between a learning tower and a step stool

There are two main differences between learning towers and step stools:

  • Safety – while step stools are just raised platforms with one or two steps, learning towers always have sidewalls and safety rails to prevent your child from falling
  • Adjustability – most learning towers can be adjusted to fit the height of your child which is not the case with step stools

Stepping stools may be fine for older children, but we wouldn’t recommend them for toddlers. There’s a lot of going on during food preparation, so having a safe kitchen tower where you don’t have to worry about bumping into your balancing child is a great advantage.

Providing a safe environment for your little one is 100% worth the extra money you spend on buying a learning tower as opposed to a step stool or using a kitchen chair.

a girl participating in kitchen activities in a learning tower

Are learning towers safe?

Yes, learning towers are safe as they are built specifically as standing platforms with safety and stability in mind. A sturdy construction, stable base, and safety rails that prevent your child from falling are standard features used on most helper towers.

That being said, the learning tower should always be used under adult supervision.

When should I start using a learning tower?

The recommended age for most learning towers is 18 months and up.

In fact, you can start using the learning tower as soon as your child is able to stand on their own for longer periods of time. The railings can provide additional support for smaller children if needed.

Can I build my own learning tower?

Absolutely, there are many great step-by-step guides available online (like this one). The cost of the materials is usually much lower than buying a read product, so you’ll save some money and you can modify the tower per your preference. Just make sure to conform to all the quality and safety standards.

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