The Little Partners Learning Tower has been a game changer for us the last few months! I love to cook and Theo often wants to watch and participate. The tower has enabled him to be really involved and engaged in the kitchen in a safe way. He loves standing up high at counter level and being able to see what is going on. He even does some of his own "cooking" and blending (see the videos below)! It is much easier and safer than holding him on my hip and cooking one-handed.
The tower is great for learning and bonding, as well as getting children involved in and excited about cooking and being in the kitchen. It can also promote independence and confidence in children, as they learn to explore on their own (next to you) and to feel comfortable doing so.
We were very lucky to find our Little Partners Learning Tower used (for $60!) on Craigslist, although I would've otherwise bought it at full price. It retails for $199 on both Amazon and the Little Partners website. Its main competitor is the Guidecraft Kitchen Helper, which retails for about $125 on Amazon. This blog post from Seeme & Liz describes each product in great detail, and I have summarized the main pros and cons for you below.
LEARNING TOWER PROS AND CONS
Some of the pros mentioned by Seeme & Liz for the Learning Tower include: sturdy, solid wood construction; creates learning and bonding time for parent and child; large age range (18 months to 6 years – based on manufacturer's recommendations); comes in a variety of colors; standing platform has enough room for 2 children; and height adjustable platform – no tools required. Some of the cons include: it is large and doesn't fold for storage; small children can fall off or out when the standing platform is at the highest level, as there are no "rails" other than around the top.
KITCHEN HELPER PROS AND CONS
Some of the pros mentioned by Seeme & Liz for the Kitchen Helper include: it's collapsible, so it can be stored elsewhere (which is great for smaller spaces); has smaller dimensions than the Learning Tower, which makes it good for smaller spaces; creates learning and bonding time for parent and child; large age range (24 months to 6 years – based on manufacturer's recommendations); and height adjustable platform. Some of the cons include: workmanship could be improved - materials are furniture grade plywood and some solid wood, and hinges wear quickly; tools are required to fold it up as well as to adjust the platform height; feet that attach to legs are not very sturdy; and shape cutouts on the sides can encourage your child to climb on it.
In my opinion, either the Learning Tower or the Kitchen Helper is an excellent long-term investment. It depends on your needs, the space in your home and how much money you want to spend. It has been so much fun for Theo - and really for all of us! It has made being in the kitchen together a much more enjoyable experience. It is much easier and safer than holding him while cooking or than having him stand on a chair. Just remember that your child should always be supervised in the tower and in the kitchen in general! Happy cooking. :)
Do you have a tower for your child? How has your experience been with it? Do you know of any other similar products that you'd recommend? Please let us know in the comments!