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There are few better places for toddlers to learn than in the kitchen. Unfortunately, most kitchens aren’t exactly designed with toddlers in mind—the counter is far above their head, and dangerous things like stovetops and knives abound—but it’s the perfect setting to introduce them to beginning science and math concepts through measuring, pouring, and cooking. It also sets them on a path to be helpful and involved members of the family. Enter: The learning tower.
Championed by Montessori teachers and parents of enthusiastic “I do it !” declaring toddlers everywhere, these wooden kitchen helper towers (sometimes called Montessori learning towers or toddler towers) are the furniture you never knew you needed. (Until suddenly, you did.) Unlike too short step-stools and unstable chairs pulled up to the counter, a Montessori learning tower are designed specifically for little ones to safely engage in kitchen activities, side-by-side with parents and caregivers.
Why are learning towers great for toddlers?
Standing at eye level with grown-up butts all day has to get old. But all kidding aside, providing your eager learner with the opportunity to safely get in on the action is invaluable. From 18 months on, kids are capable of pitching in with age-appropriate chores and cooking. And, the more they can reach, the more they can help. Additionally, developing these skills from an early age helps build self-confidence and knowledge that can make them truly helpful even as a toddler. (There are no rules that say you can’t teach a three-year-old how to master the art of pour-over coffee. #winning)
What age is a learning tower for?
You know your toddler best, but look at it this way—if they can climb stairs, they can benefit from a kitchen tower. Some more open designs are better suited for ages 3+, however, most manufacturers recommend them for 18 months and up.
Are learning towers safe?
Like any furniture they can climb on, toddler towers need to be used on an even surface. And while they often have a wide footprint, tipping is still a concern, so be sure to only use them while pushed up against secure structures like counters and sinks.
What are the best learning towers? Check out our top picks below!
A version of this story was published June 29, 2021. It has been updated.