Oh, Learning Tower, how do I love thee.. shall I count the ways? They would be way too numerous for this post, but I will say that you are the single most used item in our home. You are versatile, a staple, our favorite piece of furniture. And we can’t live without you! (Even my stingy husband “sells” it as the single best investment for kids every time someone comes over to our home.)
Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, I’ll tell you what a Learning Tower is. Many people think it’s a safe stool, and they are mostly right, but not entirely. It’s a large, sturdy, non-tip wooden (highest quality layered birch) platform with 4 adjustable heights to allow up to 2 children (aged 18 months to 6 years) a safe and secure environment for independent, explorative fun and learning at counter height level. (Whew! What a description!)
But it’s so much more than that!
Warning: Be prepared for some major messes, major learning, major giggles and major fun.
It’s a learning aid, helping device and imaginative play apparatus. We’ve had our Learning Tower for about a year and a half, and in this time my children have managed to do just about everything in it and with it: Perfecting gymnastic tricks, eating snacks and meals, “hanging” around like a monkey, doing schoolwork, hanging their own clothes, cleaning the counters, decorating the Christmas tree, playing hide n’ seek, watching TV, creating a puppet show, doing arts and crafts, washing dishes, bathing toys, making bubbles in the sink, washing hands, brushing teeth, brushing hair, juicing in our juicer, cooking and baking, making smoothies, putting away or getting out dishes.
My children have also used it as Rapunzel’s tower, a dragon’s lair, a drive-thru window, a castle, a fort, a spaceship, a dog house, a fox hole, a bunny hole, a truck, a train, a king’s throne, a stage for a one (or two) man talent show. They dance, sing, conduct, and even practice the violin.
This summer I plan on using it as a special birthday throne during cake time to make our son feel like a star on his special day.
My daughter is ALL about independence. Her unyielding “I can do it myself” attitude can seriously kill me on most days. So the Learning Tower has been perfect for her imitative play. She watches me carefully and then mimics everything I do, so that she eventually can do it by herself. This really helps her perfect skills and accomplish tasks to build her self-esteem and further her independence. (Oh boy, like we need that!)
It’s also allowed me my own independence (and sanity). I can shower, get chores done, cook, wash dishes, etc. knowing that my children are safely contained playing, coloring or eating in their tower. All I have to do is set out food, arts/crafts or a toy on the counter and away they both happily go into their tower for prolonged periods of time. I don’t have to worry about falls, nor do I have to worry about fights on whose turn it is to be in the tower, since the standing area is wide enough for 2 kids (18×15 inches). In fact, they each have their respective sides for entering/exiting and standing. Another task I’m able to accomplish is mopping floors without kids slipping and sliding all over my wet floors (because they always want to be where I am). They can be right in the middle of the action, watching me from their tower, without actually being on the wet tile.
There really isn’t much of anything that they don’t do without it.
Now, tell me, can your stool do all that? And what other step stool actually encourages climbing? (I wouldn’t suggest you try it with anything other than a Learning Tower.)
Don’t be fooled by impostors. Others do not have the person and weight capacity that the Learning Tower has (2 kids, 500 pounds). Others may also fold for easier storage and transporting. The bulky (23×32.25×38 inches), 35-pound Learning Tower does not. And while this may seem like an inconvenience, it’s one of the main reasons why it is so incredibly safe. I’d sacrifice convenience and space for complete safety and peace of mind any day. Nothing will tip, fold, cave in or fall apart when my kids are in it or climbing on it.
Included with the tower is a blue piece of fabric for play (use it for all sorts of things, including a magic performance). Plus you can purchase a playhouse kit or an art easel. We have the easel, and it quickly and easily attaches to one side of the railed platform, creating a “wall” for an extra measure of safety. The easel is a magnetic chalkboard on one side and a magnetic whiteboard on the other, and it comes with a tray and a magnetic strip to hold the child’s artwork while they paint, color or draw. It can also be mounted on a wall.
Suggested Areas for Improvement:
Don’t get me wrong, as this is one awesome piece of equipment, but I do have some suggestions that would personally help make our Learning Tower even more perfect than it is.
- Even though my kids have their “sides,” they sometimes squabble about staying on their own sides. The 4 year old tells the 2 year old to keep her foot on her side, and vice-versa. In my perfect world, I would have a removable divider just to keep the peace. My husband says that in his perfect world, it would be nice to have an expanded version of one (maybe 6 inches or so longer?) with that divider as an option or even made to hold 3 kids at a time.
- When my two year old eats or plays with play-doh, bits of food/play-doh inevitably fall in the space between the tower and the countertop. (She’s just not that coordinated enough to have the food make it to her mouth 100% of the time!) This makes for a messy clean-up job daily. It would be nice to have an extension or lip that could make the gap seamless with the countertop.
- Again, my 2 year old likes to stick things into every hole, and though not impossible to remove, it is tedious and difficult, especially when caked on. It would be nice to have some sort of a cap on all the holes for the screws.
- As I said, I don’t mind the bulkiness of moving it at all, but perhaps that could be alleviated a bit with a couple of wheels to use it like a dolly. I do see that this may not be a feasible possibility due to potential dangers associated with it, but if that could be worked in without any danger, that would be awesome.
- And like I mentioned in a previous post, it would also be wonderful to have 2 optional, removable sides (something that slides out of the way?) or just simply a second rail (at the midway point on each side) that can be raised or slid out of the way for easy entrance/exit.
BUY IT! The Learning Tower comes in Natural, Dark Cherry, Apple Green, Royal Blue, Azure Blue, Red, Pink, Black and White – all carefully finished with durable, non-toxic, lead-free finish. At $199.99 it is quite pricey, but a TOTALLY worth it, must-have household item. Purchase it on the website, on Amazon or find a store near you.
**WIN** A Learning Tower (valued at $199.99) during BlogMania!
Come back April 25th during BlogMania for a chance to WIN this and OVER $900 dollars worth of fabulous prizes from sponsors of A Nation of Moms!