If you’re a follower of @happygreylucky on Instagram, you’ve no doubt seen the Learning Tower, also called a Montessori Tower, featured often in her pictures. Once I had my baby, I knew that we’d implement the learning tower in our home as well— it’s a total sanity saver in our home!
I’ll start off by giving credit where credit is due, and that is to Sina of Happy Grey Lucky, who created this tutorial for making your own learning tower using an IKEA stool as the base. Using the IKEA Bekvam stool ($24.99 at our local IKEA in Burlington) and a few pieces of wood and dowel from the local hardware store, and a few hours of my husband’s time, we had our own learning tower which would otherwise have cost close to $200 if we’d bought it from a specialty store.
We bought the natural coloured Bekvam stool and I painted it and the additional wood frame white with one of the paint samples we had in our basement from when we renovated our home. I would recommend painting it a darker colour because I have noticed that markers, crayons, and play dough leave marks on the white quite easily and it looks like it could use a fresh coat of paint already.
When we introduced the tower to our toddler he was immediately obsessed. He was so thrilled to be able to see what we can see at adult height, and to know and take part in what was happening up on our kitchen island.
We’ve used the tower in many ways, including allowing him to wash his own hands at the kitchen sink, having him help bake Christmas cookies, and of course just doing his own thing while I’m working in the kitchen prepping dinner or doing dishes.
His favourite things to do on his learning tower are to play with play dough (in fact, that’s the only place we allow him to play with it in our home to minimize the mess), and colour and paint (I just tape a huge sheet of paper on our kitchen island and he goes to town).
For a while, we were having a hard time getting him to eat his meals in his high chair— he just wasn’t interested. No problem, buddy! Eat your meals on your tower at the kitchen island. He was thrilled with his newfound freedom and ate way better than he would in his chair. I have to give credit for this idea to Jillian Harris, whose little Leo eats at his tower all the time.
One thing I want to note though, is that I feel like close supervision is required when toddlers are using the tower. I don’t leave my little one more than a few arms reaches away from me when he’s on it because I wouldn’t want him to either lean on the dowel and have it give way, or to slip backwards down the stool steps. If he gets restless or rambunctious on the stool we put it away. We also keep it in the garage or basement when he’s not using it because we want to avoid the kind of mischievous situations toddlers find themselves in.
There are a few items that as a toddler mama I’m a big fan of, and the learning tower is one of them. I love things that allow my little guy a bit of independence and help him take part in activities that will help him develop and grow.
Does your family have a learning tower? What does your little one do with theirs?