Learning towers bring toddlers and little kids up to counter height, protect them from falling backwards with their smart design, and let the kids help cook, play, or eat up where the action is. They’re SO useful! Today, I’m sharing my favorites to fit a range of budgets and spaces.

toddler-learning-towers

Learning Towers for Toddlers

We love how a learning tower, which is essentially a stool with a cage on top to prevent falling, gets toddlers right into the action. Little kids love to help and be right with grown ups in the kitchen, and this is the safest way to make that happen.

And since a learning tower  (which is sometimes also called a kitchen helper) will likely live in your kitchen for a few years, it’s a good idea to think through:

  • How much space you have
  • How long you ideally want it to last
  • How many kids you think might use it.

This will help you think through your budget to pick the best one for your family.  From an IKEA-hack option that starts with a $20 stool to a foldable, yet durable mid-priced option, and the upper tier of learning towers, there is surely one to fit your needs and your budget!

Why can’t I just use a stool?

I mean, you can. But honestly, my kids have unintentionally fallen backwards off of stools enough times that I don’t recommend it. I 100% love the safety aspect that learning towers offer because while you of course need to supervise them in the kitchen, there are times when you may need to leave their side.

It’s so nice that you can have them help you in the kitchen, or simply play at the counter while you work, and you don’t have to stand right next to them the entire time for fear that they’ll fall.

If you want your toddler to be able to safely be at counter height with you to cook or to play while you cook, an actual learning tower is a must. This is probably the most used item in my kitchen!

toddler-in-kitchen-helper

Why Learning Towers are So Awesome for Families with Toddlers

  • They offer a safe way for toddlers to be at kitchen counter height without excessive worry that they’ll fall.
  • This allows toddlers to be part of the action when you’re cooking dinner, cleaning up, or otherwise are busy in the kitchen—and they love that!
  • They’re a great spot for toddlers to safely stand when they’re actually helping you cook (if you do that sort of thing with your littles!).
  • Toddlers can climb in and out of a learning tower on their own, making it something that they can take ownership of…which they also love!
  • They can use one to wash their hands on their own and generally gain more independence.

Guide Craft Kitchen Helper

Best Learning Tower, Small Spaces

Guide Craft Kitchen Helper, $199

Full disclosure: Guide Craft sent me one of their learning towers to try and while I was honestly not looking for a new learning tower, we LOVE this one. It came nearly fully assembled and it took me just a few minutes to screw on the foot stabilizers.

You can adjust the height of the interior platform as the kids grow, it wipes down easily, and isn’t too big for smaller spaces. Plus, you can fold it flat for storage and it comes with a mesh back to prevent falls.

It’s also easy to move around if needed (I have felt coasters on the bottom of each foot) and is plenty roomy for a toddler to stand in and use up until 4-5 years of age. (My 4.5 year old uses ours regularly.)

  • Bottomline: This is affordable and well-made. It folds to store flat if needed, is big enough for a toddler to comfortably stand in it, but doesn’t take up too much space in the kitchen. Buy here.

todler-in-ikea-hack-learning-tower

Best Learning Tower, Budget

DIY Ikea-Hack Learning Tower, about $50

We had our IKEA-Hack Learning Tower for 5 years and we’ve loved it—especially since it’s very compact and costs under $50 to make since you start with an IKEA stool and build a simple frame on top. It’s easy to move, easy for toddlers to get in and out of, and is the perfect height for a toddler to stand at the counter.

It worked wonderfully for our first child. But… we had a different experience with our second who is a total climber. She’d regularly try to sit on the back bar, which is a problem since she could easily topple over.

(This is skinnier and narrower, so it falls over whereas the other ones in this guide are unlikely to do that due to their design.)

  • Bottomline: It’s a great option if you’re on a budget and have a small space. Keep a close eye on how the kids use it to ensure that it’s a safe option. Expect your toddler to outgrow it by the time they’re 3 or 4. This is the how-to method that we used (and that my dad has made numerous times now).

little partners learning towers

Best Learning Tower, Classic

Little Partners, starting at $209

This Little Partners toddler learning tower is usually thought of as the Rolls Royce of learning towers. Parents who have one swear by it and I’ve heard testimony after testimony speaking to how durable and useful they are for years, and through multiple kids.

It comes in a few colors and they also offer accessories like an easel, a busy board, and a nonslip mat to put underneath.

  • Bottomline: If space isn’t an issue and you want a learning tower that will last for years, this is a great option. Buy here.

little partners kitchen stoolBest Safe Kids Stool

Little Partners Explore n Store Kids Adjustable Step Stool, $159

This slim-design stool is similar to a learning tower, but is sort of streamlined. It would be a great option for small spaces, older kids who still need a height boost, and is super durable.

  • Bottomline: If you’re looking for something that takes up less space, but is still super safe, this kids stool is a great option. Buy here.
piccalo-mini-convertible-tower

Best Convertible Tower

Piccalio Mini Chef Convertible Tower, $199

It’s a tower! It’s a table and chair! It’s so cool, is what it is. This is a great option if you want a dual purpose piece of furniture that your toddler can use again and again. It also has three height settings so you can adjust it to fit as your child grows.

  • Bottomline: This is a great option if you want a tower that can double as a kid-size table and chair set. Buy here. (sponsored)

PICCALiO MINI CHEF FOLDABLE TOWER,$229

With an adjustable platform (for three height options) and a foldable design that allows you to easily take this toddler tower in and out of the kitchen, this is another great option from Piccalo.

  • Bottomline: This is a nice choice if you want maximum versatility and ease of putting the tower away when not in use. Buy here. (sponsored)

Best Tips for Using a Learning Tower with Your Kids

  • Plan to start around 16-18 months and look at the accessories from each brand to see what additional safety options are available. (Guidecraft makes a mesh cover so you can seal up one of the openings for added security while the kids are in it, for example.)
  • We keep our tower in a set place in our kitchen so our toddler knows where they can use the counter. And so I know where to keep things out of reach. (As in, don’t put yours right in front of where you store your kitchen knives!)
  • Wipe it down occasionally since it may get dusty or sticky, depending on how you use it.
  • If your child is using it unsafely—jumping on it, using it as a ladder to get onto the counter, trying to pull it over, I suggest putting it away for a few days or otherwise limiting their use to reset the behavior. They need to behave to earn the right to use it.
  • Consider how to share the tower if you have more than one kiddo. There are some options for a double-wide tower, but that only works if you have the space for it.
  • Use it as a place for your child to do simple activities while you cook so they can be nearby. It’s not just for cooking!

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Comments

  1. Hi! Thanks for the suggestions!
    I am debating between Guide Kraft and little partners. I guess the big difference is that Guide Kraft is foldable which is what I need as we have a small kitchen.. but I saw some reviews that it is not that easy to fold and the base is not sturdy like the one from Little Partners. Is that true?

    I also love the aesthetic of the learning tower from audwell but I am not sure how good/safe it is .. do you happen to know this brand?

    1. I have zero issues with the sturdiness of the Guidecraft base. We’ve used ours for over 3 years and it’s incredibly sturdy. The base does come up, though we use ours so much that we simply push it into the corner when we don’t need it rather than folding it (but I think it is easy enough). I also like that it comes with the mesh backing. I am not familiar with the other brand, I’m sorry! Honestly, both the Guidecraft and the LP options are really great and will last you. I do think the LP is a little bigger in size, which is why I didn’t go with that one since our kitchen is long and narrow.

  2. Hi Amy! First, thanks for everything you do. We use your site multiple times a week, and I really appreciate your approach. We’re ready to get a kitchen helper for our new place that we’re moving into soon and are wondering if there’s any chance you have a referral code for a discount. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi! I just checked and one I had from a bit ago still works for 15% off— it’s yummy15 to use on their site guidecraftkitchenhelper.com. (Price should be $169 after that.) Enjoy it and good luck with the move!!

      1. Hi Amy, any chance you have another code? I tried yummy15 but it’s expired now. I just found this article and would love to order one for my daughter but hate to pay full price if I don’t have to! I second that we love your site. We use your recipes several times a week and would be lost without it! 🙂

      2. Hi- I’m sorry, I don’t have a new one! And I’m so glad the site and recipes are helpful!

  3. Can you use any of these at a younger age? My son is 9 months and loves being in the kitchen but wants to be held to watch what we’re doing. I’m guessing it’s still too early to use something like this for him though

    1. They’re usually recommended at 14/16 months and up, or when kids are pretty stable standing up. There’s a guard that comes with some of them (like the Guidecraft one) that keeps kids from falling out the back, but it’s not 100% and I’m not sure it would be totally safe for younger kids. Maybe try putting him in the highchair right by you in the kitchen? We did that fairly often in the earlier months!

  4. Can you recommend any for twins? I have 19month old twins and wonder if any would allow for them to “safely” use at the same time.
    Thanks!

    1. Both Guidecraft and Learning Partners make a double, so it’s wider. I’d recommend looking into those since once the kids were about 2/2.5, it’d be tight to fit two of them in a single!

  5. Hi!! My 20 month old is a climber, and man I have never seen a child climb like him!! What would you recommend for a climber like him? Thank you !!

    1. My middle kiddo was like this (I found her scaling bookshelves more than once!) and we actually had to put our tower away for a month. I recommend any of the ones on this list, other than the DIY IKEA one which would be easier for them to pull over if they are regularly enthusiastically climbing, and be very strict about not allowing them to use the tower as a means to get onto the counter. Take it away if they do it, remind them verbally, and trust that this phase will eventually pass!

    1. I haven’t tried that one and I think it looks okay! The one thing I would mention is that I’ve found that ones that are skinnier, like this one, are a little more prone to being able to be pulled over. This tapers towards the bottom but is less wide than Guidecraft and Learning Partners just as something to keep in mind. Guidecraft does have a few single helpers in stock at their site guidecraft.com.

  6. I have a 2 year old and a newborn. I want to get a learning tower for my 2 year old but know the little one will want to use it when he is older. Is it a good idea to get a double one now? I saw some on Etsy, since guidecraft is still sold out. I just don’t want to buy a 2nd one for the high price of at least $150

    1. It could be a good investment to get a larger one now. I find that my kids prefer some space when we’re doing activities, so we actually trade off using the same one but that is possibly just based on their personalities. It would also depend on how much space you have in your kitchen!

  7. Hi Amy! Since the Guidecraft Classic Kitchen Helper is sold out everywhere, would you also recommend the Guidecraft Heartwood Kitchen Helper Stool? Thanks!

  8. You can definitely see your enthusiasm in the article you write.
    The sector hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe.

    Always go after your heart.

  9. We’ve used a learning tower for six months and it’s one of my daughters favorite spots in the house! She helps us cook and eats and plays while we’re making meals. She does also try to climb the counter tops so we need to adjust the platform but I still recommend these to everyone! I. Think the brand we ended up going with is kidzworkz. Found on amazon.

    1. Hi! I’m interested in this solution for small spaces and turns to table and chair but the link to amazon didn’t work for me.. what is the name of the product? Thanks so much!