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The Learning Tower or Kitchen Helper: Which is Better?

Updated on September 11, 2014

Toddler Safety Stool Reviews with Pros and Cons

I'm the busy mother of a toddler, as well as a teacher of young children. So believe me when I say that toddler safety stools are an indispensable part of my life. They enable young children to help in the kitchen, do crafts, and do a whole range of learning activities while being contained safely.

Children thrive when they're allowed to observe adults working and learn how to do the same activities. Every child loves mixing a bowl of cake mix, counting out spoonfuls or stacking cups. These fun moments build their vocabulary, spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, and much more.

But it's stressful constantly wondering if that 3 year old balancing on the kitchen chair is going to wobble too far back. Or how long the excited 18 month old can stand up on the barstool before losing their balance.

When I first heard of the existence of safety stools, I was so excited! These fabulous products allow children to be at counter height, while being safely contained within a wooden structure that prevents any falls. What's more, these safety stools can be used for other fun and games outside of the kitchen.

But there are many differences between the brands that you should know about before you invest in one. From their size to the available colours and accessories, I'll walk you through the pros and cons of each.

On this page, I'll go through the two most popular toddler safety stools - The Learning Tower and The Kitchen Helper - to find out which one is best for your house and family situation.

Benefits of hands-on play in the kitchen

photo credit: qwrrty via photo pin cc

As a young girl, I attended a Montessori school. This alternative education system has existed for over a century and is popular throughout the world. I really enjoyed my years learning the Montessori way, and today I actively involve my son in the house so he can pick up these skills, too.

I personally use a safety stool at home so my toddler can work alongside me in the kitchen or at the table while being totally comfortable and secure.

One of the main reasons I love the Montessori philosophy is because of its emphasis on hands-on play for children. Dr Maria Montessori, who founded the education system strongly believed that children learn best by getting messy, exploring textures, and working out how to do things themselves. These theories have become more and more popular lately, and research has shown that she was right: children learn best by experimenting, rather than just taking notes.

We all want to raise a child that helps out with dinner, sets the table and knows how to prepare at least a simple meal. Starting out as toddler will give your child the confidence later on to know that they can create a meal. There's nothing like seeing the pride on a 2 year old's face when they eat something they've helped make. So whether it's the simple act of mixing the salad dressing with the lettuce, kneading dough or counting the number of strawberries in the bowl, get your toddler to join in the fun!

So how does helping in the kitchen benefit your child?

- Language development and communication improve as your child talks about and explains what they're doing, and listen to what you're explaining, too. They also learn to communicate politely (by asking you to pass them something, for example), and follow simple directions for recipes.

- Your child works on their intellectual development every time they classify ingredients into groups, discover texture and temperature, learn cause and effect and arrange items and actions into the right order.

- Stacking, stirring, pouring, mixing, whisking, flattening, and every other kitchen task works your child's physical development. Hand-eye coordination is improved, and a wide range of motor skills are practiced.

- Emotional and social development is important. In the kitchen, your child learns to interact with and respect themselves and others, and to adapt themselves to the situation and time limits. They express problems, and find practical solutions.

- In messy kitchen play, all the senses are used, improving creative development by letting the child feel and describe sensorial experiences. They are also creative by choosing new flavour combinations, mixing colours and textures and so on

- Finally, your child works on their mathematical development by counting, ordering and calculating the quantities and temperatures of kitchen items.

It's the only product of its kind to be usable from 18 months old...

The Learning Tower by Little Partners

Little Partners Learning Tower Kids Step Stool | Adjustable Kitchen Counter Step-Up Helper (Natural Original)
Little Partners Learning Tower Kids Step Stool | Adjustable Kitchen Counter Step-Up Helper (Natural Original)

The Learning Tower is the original safety tower and you can tell that their years of experience have made a quality product. Sturdy, well-made and handsome, this is a product that will look great in your kitchen for years to come. It's the only product of its kind to be usable from 18 months old, and can be used up until the child reaches 5 or 6years.

Available in 9 colours - including Natural, Apple Green, Pink and Royal Blue - you can be sure it will fit in with your other furnishings, as well as your child's personality. The adjustable base is easy to move up or down according to your child's height: no need for tools.

For extra fun, you can purchase a Playhouse Kit or Art Easel that will transform the Tower into a puppet theatre, playhouse, art studio or anything your child can come up with!

 

The Learning Tower on the Rachel Ray Show

Check out how versatile and fun this product is.

Is the Learning Tower for you? Pros and cons

Pros:

- puts your child right up at counter height

- can hold 2 children at once

- easy to wipe clean

- adjustable shelf grows with your child

- is very stable

- good quality wood looks nice in the kitchen

- you can buy an extra art easel (chalkboard & dry erase board) that attaches to the Tower

Cons:

- does not fold up

- takes up more space than the Kitchen Helper

- is more expensive than similar products

- requires setting up

The Learning Tower vs The Kitchen Helper

In just seconds, the Kitchen Helper folds flat and can be stored out of the way...

Is the Kitchen Helper for you? Pros and cons

Pros:

- lightweight

- can be folded flat for storage

- has both a chalkboard & dry-erase board built on

- lower cost than the Learning Tower

- easy to wipe clean

- comes already set-up except for the feet

- adjustable shelf grows with your child

Cons:

- can only hold one child

- not available in bright colours

- not recommended for children under 3 due to small parts

Not just for the kitchen

Toddler safety stools are so useful!

A toddler safety stool can be used for all sorts of things outside of the kitchen.

- Doing craft activities at a high bench

- Reaching a book or toy on a high bookshelf

- Putting on a puppet show

- Drawing on a chalkboard or dry erase board

- Making a play house or doll house

- Helping mum or dad hang the laundry

- Playing make believe games: the stool is a castle watchtower or lighthouse!

And much more, just let your child use their imagination.

Do you like cooking with children in the kitchen? - And what do you think of these safety stools for toddlers?

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    • Expat Mamasita profile image

      Expat Mamasita 

      5 years ago from Slovakia

      The learning tower looks fantastic, i've never seen them before.

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 

      5 years ago

      I would love to get one of these when my daughter is a little older as I really love cooking and would love to cook with her. I hadn't come across them before but I can see that they would be really useful and much safer than just using a normal chair or stool.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      I loved cooking with my kids, they learned how to prepare meals for the family and loved the rewards of eating it too. Love the tower helpers! :)

    • victoriahaneveer profile image

      victoriahaneveer 

      5 years ago

      I have never tried but I think they would be too annoying!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 

      6 years ago

      I can't say I've ever tried - except, of course, when I was a child in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing!

    • kellyfontane profile image

      kellyfontane 

      6 years ago

      Nope! They annoy me haha

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      This looks like a very helpful lens on a great way to let kids reach the correct height to help mum in the kitchen. And it also looks safer than balancing on a chair or something similar.

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 

      6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I don't have a pot big enough..hahaha..... When I first read that you talked about the best kitchen tool for the toddlers, I was hoping it wasn't the steak knives or cuisinart! ha! Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • profile image

      Ladybird 

      6 years ago

      It is a good way for them to learn.

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 

      6 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      We always involve our kids in the kitchen. At age ten and twelve, they can prepare their own meals which is much more than I could do in the kitchen at their age. This is a great idea! When ours were younger, we would drag a chair over for them which was always fraught with danger!

    • Rosetta Slone profile imageAUTHOR

      Rosetta Slone 

      6 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      @poldepc lm: I love hearing from an experienced parent that these ideas really work. Thanks!

    • Rosetta Slone profile imageAUTHOR

      Rosetta Slone 

      6 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      @danf87: Haha great point!

    • Elaine Chen profile image

      Elaine Chen 

      6 years ago

      my son always said he knows how to help adult complete a job, this lens is great to give me some great ideas how to get my son really help me in the kitchen

    • profile image

      danf87 

      6 years ago

      Finally a way to get my toddlers to wash the dishes.

    • Ardyn25 profile image

      Ardyn25 

      6 years ago

      This is such a cool product, I've never seen one of these before. Such a wonderful way to let them participate. My son always had a chair pulled up to the counter when I was in the kitchen, he also fell a few times. It covers the safety aspect. Great lens!

    • JackieM293 profile image

      JackieM293 

      6 years ago

      Some great info on the educational value of working in the kitchen. Sadly my kitchen is barely big enough for me so one of these products would be a real struggle from a space perspective. It's a shame because both my kids love to cook, the 7 year old manages with an ikea step and the 2 year old is just waiting desperately to grow! Thanks for an informative lens. J

    • eccles1 profile image

      eccles1 

      6 years ago

      I think it's great when we teach children the way of the kitchen!

    • profile image

      Echo Phoenix 

      6 years ago

      I would have loved this when my children were helping me in the kitchen, we spent a lot of time there! I miss those days more than words can express:)

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 

      6 years ago

      I loved always...result?...my children do cook themselves at home now, because they learned

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      6 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I absolutely loved having my children cook with me in the kitchen. What a great invention to help keep them safe and allow them to really reach things!

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