Posted on March 02 2018
A Learning Tower is a safe, secure platform designed specifically to raise a child to bench height so they may better engage with the world around them.
They are also one of our favourite parenting-hacks. We've all been there - trying to prepare a meal with a toddler screaming at our feet to be picked up. It makes dinner-time much more stressful than it needs to be. Who would of thought that raising them up to our level would be so effective in calming the chaos? Little Big people just want to be involved in what you're doing - there's apparently a lot of fun happening up there on the bench that they just hate missing out on.
A Learning Tower is a Montessori-inspired piece that (in true Montessori tradition) aims to connect the Little Big user to that which is otherwise out of sight - a whole new world! - cue the Aladdin encore.
Sure you can sit them up on the bench or stand them on a chair - though worrying about them falling and crawling over to the hot stove isn't quite a stress-free experience. We have heard too many stories from parents who come to purchase a Learning Tower after such a fall for us to ever recommend this as a safe option.
Where can we use it?
Against any standard bench including:
- The kitchen
- The bathroom
- Some dining tables
- The garage work bench (so we've heard from our customers!)
Who can use it?
- Any strong stander will be safe in the Learning Tower (with close adult supervision of course).
- We roughly say from 12 months onwards for our Slimline Models, remembering that if used appropriately, that is, flush against a standard height bench with the chalkboard safety backing in place, the user will be enclosed from all sides. We have detailed some important safety instructions for you that you can download here.
What are some examples of use?
- Cooking and cleaning! Start 'em young!
- But no in all serious, it is of the Montessori philosophy that children are capable of participating in every day tasks. Let them help prepare meals, clean the bench, clean dishes and other practical life skills. They actually love this.
- If your meal is more of a one-man show then set up your Little Big user with colouring or play-dough right next to you - children learn from what we do, rather than what we say (not rocket science) so giving them the opportunity to observe you in the kitchen is setting them up to take an active role in family meals when they are ready and keeps them from screaming at your legs to be picked up!
- Brushing teeth and hand washing.
- When in doubt, bubbles and chalk. Unfortunately, adding a reusable bubble machine to the Learning Tower design proved too difficult, so we went with the chalkboard. If you can’t have your Little Big person in the tower for whatever reason (hot dishes or knives on the bench etc), having them occupied next to you is the next best thing. Except this time, instead of spreading crayons all over the kitchen floor, everything will be contained to a chalkboard that is vertical, meaning babe is standing, just like you, and concentrating on something, as you are.
Our Favourite Learning Tower Inspired Toddler Hacks
- Fussy Eater? Get them involved in cooking. Toddlers are so much more likely to try new foods (and eat in general) when they have been involved in preparing it. Get them stirring, whisking and chopping (we recommend the KiddiKutter knives that believe it or not, can chop through a carrot yet are perfectly safe for little fingers).
- High-chair hater? Does your Little Big person hate sitting still to eat? Well, Learning Towers are a great and safe alternate location for all meals. Trust us, they love it. Those Little Big people with extra energy really appreciate the freedom of movement a Learning Tower provides in comparison to being strapped into a chair.
- Witching hour emotional breakdowns? - At the end of the day emotions can run a little wild for both parents and Little Big people. It's also the time when we are supposed to be preparing dinner. It's tricky to not burn the soufflé (*cough* nuggets and chips) when your Little Big person wants all of your attention. Get them up in their tower - they feel involved and close to you and your soufflé doesn't suffer.
- Craft containment - Is it just us or can craft can be a little stressful? I mean, all that glue and glitter and paint on sticky little fingers and the fabric couch and fresh painted walls don't really mix right? Set them up in their Learning Tower at the kitchen bench and contain that mess (I mean art) in an easy to clean environment. Your walls will thank you.
Learning Towers are so much more than just a stool for cooking. Your Little Big person will love their new perspective and you'll find you'll be using it for all sorts of activities multiple times a day. We really love hearing all the things that your Little Big people get up to in their towers, so please share in the comments below!
PS - If you're in the market, check out Little Big's range of Australian designed AND made Learning Towers.