Which little learning towers are best?
As your baby transitions into the toddler years, you’ll notice an increased interest in everything you’re doing. If you’re washing the dishes, they want to be involved. If you’re working on dinner, they want to be a part of it. A favorite of many parents looking to both educate and involve their toddler in daily tasks is the learning tower.
Parents are going wild for these souped-up step stools and a popular one on the market is the Little Partners Original Learning Tower. It’s adjustable, making it work for years, and with the solid wooden construction, it’ll last at least that long.
What to know before you buy a little learning tower
Before you shop for a little learning tower, it’s important to understand what it is, when to use it and the reasons you should invest in one. Learning towers are often compared to step stools. The big difference is the functionality of the two. While a step stool can provide your child with some much-needed height in the kitchen, a learning tower incorporates this basic function of a stool while also having at least three sides enclosed with a railing system.
At its core, a little learning tower is simply a way to better involve your toddler in more activities and teach them day-to-day skills they will need as they grow up. Often it’s used in the kitchen to include young children and toddlers in household work, but it can also be used around the house in a variety of ways.
Learning towers do come in a variety of sizes. Some are meant for one child, some are meant for two. Some are designed for small spaces, while others take up a larger footprint. Consider how much space you have available, as well as whether or not you plan to leave your learning tower out when not in use.
You should also take into consideration how big your toddler already is. If you have a 2-year-old or plan on having a second child and want a learning tower that will last years, you may want to invest in a bigger one now. If you only need it for one child and you have a good idea of how they are growing, you could invest in a smaller-built tower.
Safety should be a top priority with any piece of furniture your toddler will be using. With a learning tower, double-check the construction. Look for any cut-outs your toddler could use to climb out of the tower. You should also consider its weight in relation to that of your toddler. Should your toddler make a sudden movement, will the learning tower stay standing?
Additionally, check the railings. A learning tower should be enclosed on at least three sides. Some have a gate-like fourth side that acts as a final piece of railing. Assess the edges and corners, as well. You’ll want them to be rounded, just in case your toddler slips and bumps their head.
Ideally, your learning tower should be useful for more than 1 year. To make that happen, you should look for one that is adjustable. The standing base should have a way to be lowered so it can grow with your child. Not only does this extend the life of your learning tower, it’s an important safety measure so your child doesn’t accidentally fall out.
What to look for in a quality little learning tower
Some of the best learning towers on the market are able to convert into something else. There are models that turn into a table and chairs, others have attachments like a chalkboard or easel and others transition into a Montessori-style weaning table. If it changes into something else, you’ll get more use out of it and use it longer.
All finishes and materials of your little learning tower should be nontoxic. This is especially important if you get a model that converts to a table your child might be eating off of. However, chances are your child will at some point touch or lick some part of the learning tower, a normal way for young children to explore their world. Double-checking that it’s completely nontoxic will give you a great deal of peace of mind.
Little learning towers are getting more elaborate with demand and some brands are standing above the crowd by offering attachments. Things like chalkboards and easels are great things to look for when shopping around because you’ll have another way to use this big purchase.
To make it easier and safer for your toddler to get into their learning tower, you may want to look for a model that features stairs. Some are designed for the toddler to climb directly onto the standing base but having stairs helps them develop that skill and makes it safer for them to get on and off the learning tower.
How much you can expect to spend on a little learning tower
You can find a large selection between $80-$150. These tend to be more basic and have less convertibility, though they will do the job you’re interested in. If you can spend between $150-$300, you’ll open yourself up to learning towers that have more functions, better convertibility, stronger construction and better design.
Little learning tower FAQ
When should I start using a learning tower?
A. Generally, you should wait to introduce a learning tower until your child can stand firmly on their own, at least around 18 months old. Most manufacturers recommend waiting until your child is 2-6 years old.
What should I look for in a learning tower?
A. The basics you should look for are strong safety rails on at least three sides, rounded edges, rounded corners and a non-slip platform. Beyond that, look for stairs to make it easier on your toddler to get in and out of the learning tower, any convertibility to extend the usefulness of your learning tower and adjustability to make sure it grows safely with your child.
What are the benefits of a learning tower?
A. The first benefit is greater interaction with your toddler. As you interact with them, you will teach them day-to-day life skills they’ll use forever. These learning opportunities will foster confidence and independence as they master basic skills. Along the way, you’ll help their fine motor skills develop through basic daily rituals.
What are the best little learning towers to buy?
Top little learning tower
What you need to know: Having been designed by a Montessori school educator, this learning tower has the clean look you’d expect and superior functionality.
What you’ll love: This is an easy design for your child to get in and out of, with larger openings on each side for them to crawl through. And they’ll likely never outweigh this learning tower — it can support up to 250 pounds.
What you should consider: The legs reportedly stick out about an inch, so it doesn’t sit exactly flush with the counter.
Top little learning tower for the money
What you need to know: With a simple design that includes four enclosed sides, you get a super safe learning tower at an affordable price with this learning tower.
What you’ll love: With three options for height, this affordable learning tower will easily grow with your child. It also gets them flush with the counter. The solid design is easy to clean and very sturdy.
What you should consider: It’s recommended that you lift your child into this learning tower.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: A Montessori-inspired learning tower that works great in small spaces, this is one you and your child will love for years.
What you’ll love: The best thing about this learning tower is it’s foldable, so it’s perfect for a smaller household. It’s made of solid hardwood and birch plywood, so it’s incredibly durable. It also has a netted side for added safety.
What you should consider: It only has two height adjustments for the standing base.
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Kasey Van Dyke writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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