May 22, 2023
Best toddler learning towers for getting little ones involved
Invest in one of these handy pieces of apparatus to help your toddler develop a
Invest in one of these handy pieces of apparatus to help your toddler develop a new sense of independence at home
nyone with a toddler will know that this age group often suffers from an acute sense of FOMO – whatever you happen to be doing, they will want to be doing exactly the same thing, whether that's prepping the food for your next meal, doing the washing up or giving your hair a quick once-over in the bathroom mirror.
Luckily, there's a clever piece of apparatus that helps them do just that, without having to resort to dangerous balancing on kitchen counters or precarious step stools at the bathroom sink: enter the learning tower.
Inspired by the Montessori methods of teaching, learning towers were designed to help kids learn and explore. Also known as kitchen towers or Montessori kitchen helpers, they do the same job as a step stool only in a safer way, as they’re surrounded by rails so you don't have to worry about your little one falling off.
While they’re popular in the Montessori educational system as a way to help toddlers and young children participate in household activities and develop a sense of independence, they’re by no means just for those who practice this method. Instead they’re a super handy piece of kit for letting your child help out in the kitchen or elsewhere around the house (there's an added bonus that it's thought that kids who help out more in the kitchen and become familiar with different foods at a younger age are less likely to be fussy eaters).
First up, be warned that they don't come cheap – the average learning tower will set you back around £120, but the convenience they offer more than makes up for their slightly hefty price tag.
Make sure your child is the right age to get the most out of the tower - it's safe to use a learning tower when your child is able to crawl up steps and balance on their own, which should happen around 15 to 18 months (though it's crucial that children are always closely supervised when using learning towers).
Invest in a solid, sturdy model so you don't have to worry about it tipping over, and make sure to factor in how much space they’ll take up. Some will fit under kitchen islands so can be kept out of the way, while convertible versions are a godsend for those with small kitchens.
Here we’ve rounded up the best toddler learning towers to buy now.
This British brand developed their Montessori learning tower after founder Emma Robbins grew frustrated with always having her toddler son hovering at her ankles while she was preparing lunch or doing the washing up. She used Montessori principles to inspire her tower, which offers a stylish way for kids to get involved around the house.
Available in four different finishes – white, grey, varnish and natural wood, which can be painted to match your own décor – it comes with three adjustable platform heights that will accommodate your child as they grow, with an age range from 18 months up to four years.
Reassuringly solid and sturdy, there's no worry about it tipping and it's easy to wipe down and clean, which is handy as things do get messy (especially when there's baking involved). Easy to assemble, it's made from 100 per cent birch wood and fits neatly under the kitchen counter – though it looks good enough to be a piece of kitchen furniture in its own right.
If you’re a little short on space or like products that multi-task, this is the tower for you. The clever design means that it easily transforms from a learning tower into a table and built-in seat for your little one – all you have to do is unclip the tower, fold and reclip it and hey presto! A whole new piece of furniture.
As for the tower itself, it feels nice and sturdy and comes with additional safety feet to further prevent the chance of any sideways tipping. Made from birch plywood, it comes in four different colours to blend in with interiors – black, white, grey and natural wood – each of which are coated or painted with safety-certified paint that ensures it's wipe clean to mop up any stains or spills.
This sweet teddy bear-shaped learning tower is one of the cutest designs we’ve seen on the market, and is bound to appeal to any toddler right from the offset. Suitable for little ones from 12 months up to 36 months, the tower comes with three adjustable heights that you can switch up as and when your child needs. Though it arrives flat packed, it's easy to assemble, and our tester had it up and operational within 10 minutes.
Sturdy without being overly heavy, it's easy to move around the house and the fun design means it works just as well in the playroom as it does in the kitchen or bathroom. If your little one isn't too keen on bears, the tower also comes in other fun animal styles, including tigers and giraffes.
What's more fun than a kitchen tower? A kitchen tower that also happens to have a built-in blackboard, that's what. This minimalist wooden tower, constructed from pine wood, provides a handy step and platform for little ones to help around the house, while also stimulating their creative skills with a chalk blackboard where they can let their imaginations run wild.
It's easy to assemble and comes with three different adjustable heights, so it will grow with your child as they grow. Best of all, changing the height settings doesn't require any equipment – simply move the platform to the required bar and you’re good to go.
While most towers only go up to around four years in age, this offering from Kiddy Moon is suitable for kids all way up to seven, meaning you get more bang for your buck with this choice. Specially designed to keep your little one as safe as possible, every element has been well thought out here, from the removable safety roller to the rounded edges to prevent painful bumps and bruises.
The simple design prizes practicality and durability above all else, with a polished non-toxic painted finish that's easy to clean and long fins added to the base for extra stability. Taking all that into account, it's not hard to see why this is one of their bestselling products.
Learning towers aren't always known for their chic colourways or attractive design, but this tower from Learning Bugs has both in spades. Picked out in a stylish mint green that will make it a feature in itself rather than something that needs to be hidden away. It's a great way to let your little one get more involved in the kitchen without sacrificing on style.
As well as being a great helper tower, it also easily converts into a little table for when they want to settle down to the serious business of playing and drawing – or eating whatever creation they’ve just knocked up in the kitchen.
This compact learning tower is a great choice for smaller spaces, as it comes with a folding step that can be tucked away for storage when your child isn't using it - during the day the step locks securely in place to allow your little one to climb up with ease. Designed specifically to fit under kitchen counters and islands, its slimline profile makes it one of the least intrusive options on the market.
There are plenty of extra little touches that make this tower as safe as possible, from anti-slip, anti-tip feet for extra stability to a full-surround safety bar at the top. Add in the fact that this is one of the longest lasting towers around, taking your little one from two all the way to six years of age, it's a great investment.
This kitchen helper is one of the cleverest pieces of multi-use kit we’ve seen – not only does it work as a Montessori tower, it can also be used as a high chair for smaller children and an adjustable chair for when they get a bit older. Made from premium hardwood covered with linen oil and beeswax, it's also a beautiful piece of furniture in its own right.
The clever design means it can be used in three main ways. Firstly, as a ladder to reach up to kitchen counters (though be aware that this option doesn't come with the same safety rails as some other kitchen towers); as a high chair with a removable table where they can eat their meals or play with books and puzzles; and as a simple dining table chair that will allow your little one to sit at just the right height to have dinner with the grown-ups. Lasting until they’re seven years old, this is a really durable, useful piece of kit.
This learning tower has been designed with playfulness in mind, and describes itself as a "fun pod" rather than a traditional kitchen helper. Unlike other towers, this one can't be climbed by your toddlers themselves but rather is designed as a place to pop them in to keep them safe while in the kitchen, with its own handy platform for seeing what's going on at counter level.
When they’re not getting involved with food prep, you can stash it in the play room where it instantly transforms into a toy, with two side panels that double up as chalkboards and magnetic surfaces. With its height adjustable platform, the tower itself works for kids up to six years old, depending on their height.
This fun design – which comes in a variety of rainbow and pastel hues – is bound to brighten up any kitchen while adding a splash of colour to your interiors. Hand finished by a small family business in rural Northern Ireland, it's a beautiful piece of apparatus that appeals to little ones thanks to its well thought out design.
Cleverly created to allow your child to climb in and out unaided, the tower features the brand's signature chunky dowels as well as cutaway shapes in the side to minimise the weight of the piece (while also looking pretty striking). Suitable for outdoor use, it's great for getting your child involved in a whole host of activities, from cooking, cleaning and brushing their teeth to potting up seeds for the garden.
Few toddlers could fail to fall for the charms of this learning tower, which doubles up as a fun slide. Suitable for use both indoor and out, this is a brilliant tool for getting kids involved in the kitchen while keeping things playful – and whizzing down on a slide is ultimate way to dismount from worktop activities.
Available in four colourways – including a sleek stripes design – the tower is a stylish piece of furniture in its own right. As well as featuring a slide, it also converts into a little table and chair for your toddler, which can be stored in the playroom or living room. It is one of the more expensive options on our list, but the price tag is worth it for the novelty factor alone.
When it comes to a simple, well-designed tower, you can't go wrong with the StepUp Baby, which fits seamlessly into any kitchen and is easy to use and clamber into for tiny toddlers and slightly older kids alike.
When it comes to versatility, our top pick would have to be the play tower from The Learning Tower Company – you can't beat a product that doubles up as a tower, table and slide.What is a learning tower? How do you choose the right learning tower for your toddler? Verdict StepUp Baby The Learning Tower Company