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Learning Towers - How to know if your little one is ready and which one to buy!

The learning tower is easily one of our most used products that we've bought in the last 6 months. My girls use it EVERY. DAY. They absolutely love it! It is so nice to be able to have them at the counter to include them while I'm making food or to eat a snack or to do an activity in the kitchen. I think it has also given them both a sense of independence and autonomy, which we all know toddlers love lol! My daughters just seem really happy when they use it :-).

*Diclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means (at no addtional cost to you) I recieve a small commision when you purchase through my link. I only recommend products that I love & own or that I would personally buy myself. Thank you for your support if you choose to buy through my links! It helps me continue to provide you with informational posts like this :-) I hope you enjoy!

In This Post:

We got a learning tower when Charlotte was 14 months old. But, honestly, I wish that we had gotten it sooner! Willow has been climbing into the learning tower to use it since she was 10 months old. I know from personal experience that it can be kind of confusing as a parent to know when is the right time to get your child a certain toy etc... but I'm here to help! Here are some FAQs I get about learning towers from parents:

"What age can I start using a learning tower with my little one?"

I personally go by what developmental skills the child has vs. an age to start as age doesn't reflect the full picture of the child. Children all develop at different rates and stages so I go off of what they look like developmentally.

"What skills should my child be able to perform before I start a learning tower?"

I like to see the child, at least, be able to stand independently. When I say stand independently, I mean that they are steady in standing without holding on to anything, preferably for at least a minute and also be able to manipulate objects in standing without falling.

When we think about what activities they will likely be performing in the learning tower, many of them require 2 hands for manipulating their environment (not for holding on for balance). Being able to stand independently without holding on for support just ensures safety when using the learning tower. That being said, they do not necessarily NEED to be walking but very very close to walking.

*In summary: To use a learning tower, I believe your child must be able to stand independently.

"What kind of learning tower is best?"

This is totally going to depend on your space, your child, your preferences, etc.

We have both transformable and foldable learning towers at our house. The first learning tower that we got was transformable into a little table for Charlotte to eat or do activities at.

When I was contemplating which kind to buy, I was torn between getting one that folded for storage or one that had a dual-purpose, like the table option. I ultimately decided to go with the dual-purpose tower because, although I liked the idea of being able to fold up the tower and store it somewhere... I couldn't really think of a good place in my house to store it that would be convenient for me to go and grab when we needed it.

I also thought about, realistically, how often I would be folding it up to store it away... and I honestly couldn't think of many scenarios where I would need it put away. Also, I'm kind of a lazy person (ha!) so it almost seemed like it would be more trouble for me to be folding/unfolding it all the time to store vs just having it out. However, this also turned out to be the case when it came to transforming it into a table. I find that I rarely, if ever, use the table function of the tower. Maybe it's because we have a larger space and lots of other seating options for the girls so the little table just kind of gets forgotten! Could be totally useful for a smaller home where you need the dual purpose feature of transforming to a table more readily available.

The price of the tower was also on the lower end of learning towers which was a definite plus.

What are some thing to consider when buying a learning tower?

Things to consider when purchasing a learning tower:

  • Space: How much space do you have in your kitchen? If you have a smaller space, I would consider a learning tower with a smaller foot print or one that is able to fold for storage. Do you plan on keeping it out all the time or have a larger space to store it (like a closet)? If so, then you can probably save money by getting one that doesn't have the foldable storage feature.

  • Accessibility/Safety: Are you concerned with your child stepping off or slipping through the tower? Maybe opt for one that has a netting/mesh cover or more coverage. What about climbing, is your child the type who might try to use the tower to climb onto the countertops? If so, I would encourage you to choose an option that does NOT have cut outs on the sides. They could use these as footholds to climb up onto the counter. I would select an option with a more "open" design or a fully enclosed one that they would be less likely to use for leverage and climb onto the counter.

  • Convertible: There are options which can convert from a learning tower to a table, which essentially gives you two products for the price of one. Is this a feature that interests you? Do you have space for the tower to function as a table (larger footprint)? It is of note that these options usually are not able to be folded for storage.

  • Adjustability: Some learning towers come with the option of an adjustable platform that you can move up and down based on your child's height to allow them better access to the countertop. This can potentially extend the lifetime of your tower. It's also a great option for households with multiple children as the platform can be adjusted for each child.

Here I've compiled a short list of options that may work for you:

Foldable for Storage Options:

I love this learning tower! It is by Piccalio and I love a couple of things about it. First, it looks nice! Secondly, it folds easily away for storage. Third, it has and adjustable platform, so it can grow and adjust to your child's size. This is an important feature in my opinion because the previous tower we had didn't have an adjustable base and I noticed my oldest daughter was starting to get too tall for the platform and there was no way for me to adjust it. Piccalio makes 2 different kinds of learning towers and we actually own both of these learning towers and I absolutely love the foldable one. It's great size for both of my girls but especially great for Charlotte now that shes older (currently 2.5 years old) because the platform is adjustable & larger in size.

Some downsides I see with this is that obviously, its more minimal... therefore the enclosures around the standing platform are also minimal which is a concern if you're worried about your child slipping backwards. BUT Piccalio actually has thought of this and has a solution for it with their Helper Tower Safety Net, which can attach to the back of the tower and prevent your little one from falling backwards off the tower in standing. Only downside to using a net like this is that it takes away the autonomy for your child since they will likely need your help to remove the net to climb up or down by themselves.

This kitchen helper is a great option for someone looking for a foldable tower. I love that it comes in a variety of colors and that it has lots of safety features including full enclosures, adjustable platform and a safety mesh in the back that can be removed to allow easy access in and out of the tower. This is a very popular option for foldable towers and everyone I know who has it LOVES IT! This tower also comes in a version with cute cut-out shapes design, but I would personally opt for the version without the shape cut-outs to prevent any unwanted climbing using the cut-outs for footholds to climb onto the counter.

The Explore 'N Store tower has an adjustable height standing platform (4 different heights!) which makes it a great investment since it will grow with your child. It has a small overall footprint and fits under your counter for storage. The bottom step also folds up and out of the way. The base is extra wide to prevent issues with tipping over. There are no cut outs and limited places where your child could get a foothold to climb up out of the tower. This is a great option if you want the option to store the tower under your counter vs folding flat.

Convertible Tower Options:

We got this learning tower as a gift and decided to keep it instead of the previous convertible we had from Etsy (shown next in this section). It's visually and functionally almost exactly like our previous tower, which is the first one I ever bought for Charlotte, but I'll go over what makes this one different.

One big difference I noticed is that the Piccalio tower was far easier to construct. It took my husband over an hour to construct the Etsy tower and I built the Piccalio one myself while I was watching both of my daughters. It also comes with stabilizer feet in the front of the tower that help decrease the chance of tipping. We never had any issues with tipping in the Etsy tower but the extra fail-safe is nice. The overall construction/quality of the tower is similar to the Etsy one. It has an option for an adjustable step (which is also the seat when the tower converts to a table) and this is a feature that the Etsy one does not have. This is important because it allows you to adjust the seat of the table to the height of your child. I noticed I used the table function of the Etsy one less often because the seat was too high for Charlotte and I was worried about her falling off.

This kitchen helper has the ability to convert from a tower to a table. But it doesn't have the option for an adjustable platform so it's always the same height when your child stands on it. Meaning that as they grow, it may become too small for them to stand comforably to work/play at the counter. This one MAY be a better option for a climber kid as it doesn't have the extra cut-out along the side for them to step on and climb up. It's also compatible with the Piccalio Helper Tower Safety Net, which can attach to the back of the tower and prevent your little one from falling backwards off the tower in standing.

This is the first tower we purchased for Charlotte and we loved it! It served us well for almost 2 years until we decided to stay with the Piccalio tower instead. It's from an Etsy shop called DuckwoodWorksShop. Charlotte learned quite quickly how to climb up/down by herself. It's well made, well priced and is convertible to a little table. We didn't really use the table option A TON, if I'm being honest, and I think it's mainly because she was a little small for the height of the seat. Her feet weren't able to touch the ground so I was worried about her flipping backwards in sitting.

Some downsides to this tower is that it isn't an adjustable height platform (it's only one height). I can also see that a climber child might take advantage of the cut outs on the sides to climb onto the counter. Additionally, the tower is from a small shop on Etsy, therefore, shipping times are variable. It took about 1 month for it to be delivered to us after we ordered (granted this was around Christmas, so shipping times might be quicker outside of the holidays).

I think this is the most "bang for your buck" tower I've seen! Not only is it foldable for storage and comes with full enclosure and safety mesh, it also can double as a slide and a chalk board! This looks like a fantastic option for anyeone looking for a multi-purpose tower. The two downsides I will note on this tower are the fact that it doesn't have an adjustable height standing platform and there are cut-outs on the side which pose a potential issue for some toddlers climbing up onto the counter. On a positive note, I do like that they include the full enclosure & added safety mesh to prevent falling from the tower. Overall, this one looks like a lot of fun!

Budget Friendly Options ($100 or less)

This is a great budget friendly find that has great reviews on Amazon. It looks like its easy for the child to climb into by themselves and even has an adjustable platform to accommodate your child at different heights.

There is no foldable or convertible feature for this tower. If either of these were something that you were looking for, this might not be an option for you. Overall, the tower is a small footprint which is good considering it can't convert or fold. Love this one for the price point!

This looks like a great option at a great price for someone in the market for a convertible tower. It even has a chalkboard/wipeboard feature! It does not have an adjustable platform which is pretty common for convertible towers. It has pretty good reviews on Amazon although it doesn't have a TON (only 125 reviews at the time of this blog post) but the majority are positive.

It has a bar in the back of the tower to decrease slipping through the back. It does have a cut out on the side that I would be cautious of if you have a climber child. Overall, great price and lots of functionality here.

3. IKEA D.I.Y. Kitchen Helper

IKEA learning tower HACK using 2 IKEA BEKVAM step stools ($30 each). This option is for someone who is into DIY to save a little money. There a tons of instructional for how to make one of these learning towers yourself using step stools from Amazon if you google "IKEA learning tower Hack". I will link one here: learning tower hack step-by-step.

This is a way to save money and many people swear by this hack! But DIY does come with it's own risks and obviously sturdiness and safety are a liability here. So DIY at your own risk!

Twin-friendly options:

This tower is the popular guidecraft model, but BIGGER! The double tower would be a great option for a mom of twins or two little ones who wasn't looking to buy two separate towers. I like that it has the removable safety mesh cover in the back so that you can allow them to climb into the tower but then secure the mesh to keep them from slipping out, which I think is extra important if you're going to have 2 kids in there!

The tower has an adjustable platform and folds away for storage which I think is a nice feature since the footprint of the tower, in general, is bigger than an average learning tower. It also comes in a different style with shape cut-outs, which I think is cute! Just be aware that if your children are climbers... they might use the cut-outs to help them climb onto the counter :-).

This learning tower comes in several different colors and is big enough to fit two kids or just one with room for one more down the road! I like that it has an adjustable height so that you can have it grow with your child(ren) and increase the longevity of the product. It's also a great option for "climber" kids as it doesn't have a lot of cut-outs on the sides that they could use as an extra "step" to climb onto the counter.

It doesn't come with a mesh backing, however, the railings along the front, back and sides are nice and wide for added safety. This also allows for more autonomy with climbing in and out of the tower without requiring an adults assistance to open the mesh gate.

This learning tower does not fold or transform.. it's purely a tower and that's it. BUT, it looks to be extremely high quality and has amazing reviews.

There is a limited edition version ($249) of the tower that has the option for all around enclosure on the sides, as well as a chalk board on the outside.

Another great option for a mom with two littles is this foldable double tower. It ha a more minimalist construction and folds flat for storage. It also has an adjustable height platform so it can grow with your kid(s). Because it is more minimalistic, there are less safety features and it's not fully enclosed which might pose a potential safety issue if you have younger children who are prone to slipping out the backside, however, this might not be as much of an issue for older toddlers.

I hope this guide has been helpful to you as you consider learning towers when the time is right for your little one. I promise, it's a great investment!



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