The Learning Tower or Kitchen Helper: Which is Better?
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
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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.