5 Creative Uses For Toddler Towers
The Toddler Tower goes way beyond the kitchen. Learn five ways learning towers help encourage independence!
Once your tot begins to walk, you may start wondering whether or not to get a toddler tower. You’ve likely heard great things about them, but they are an investment and do take up a bit of space. Will you use it enough to make it worth it? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”
There are a variety of ways to use a toddler tower, both inside and away from the kitchen. Before we get to the specific uses though, here’s a bit more information on some common questions about learning towers:
Why choose a toddler tower instead of a step stool?
Toddler towers are a much safer option than step stools. A step stool tall enough to bring your child to counter height will require quite a bit more supervision than a toddler learning tower. This in turn allows your child less independence, as you’ll likely be hovering nearby to make sure they don’t fall.
Are learning towers Montessori?
You may have first heard about toddler towers in the context of Montessori, but are they really Montessori?
Yes and no. You won’t find toddler towers in Montessori classrooms, but this is because classrooms typically have custom-built furniture designed to bring everything to the child’s level. The sinks, shelves, mirrors, etc. are all at a comfortable height for the child.
Even the most dedicated Montessori parent can’t replicate these furnishings at home, which is why toddler towers are so popular in Montessori homes. They allow children the independence to reach things on their own, mimicking a Montessori classroom.
Whether or not you consider yourself a Montessori parent, the toddler tower can really enrich your home environment, enabling your little one to participate in a variety of tasks and activities.
5 Ways to Use a Toddler Tower
Cooking is probably the most common use for toddler towers. Even younger tots can help with things like tearing lettuce or herbs for a salad, stirring sauces or marinades, and pouring in pre-measured ingredients.
Even if children just watch, they gain so much by observing you. Not only will they learn new vocabulary as you describe what you’re doing in the kitchen, watching and helping with food preparation also helps encourage curiosity and interest in different types of foods.
As children get older, they can even use the toddler tower for independent snack preparation, doing things like spreading nut butter on crackers or chopping strawberries or carrots with a child-safe chopper.
- Working at the sink
It comes as a surprise to many parents, but young children actually love helping with chores adults dread. They especially love washing dishes.
Bring your toddler tower to the sink and demonstrate how to wash and dry dishes. They may not wind up completely clean, but your child will gain a valuable sensory experience as well as a sense of pride, having contributed to the family chores.
Washing hands and rinsing recyclables are other similar tasks your child can do at the sink.
In addition to washing dishes, the toddler tower allows young children to help with all sorts of cleaning-related tasks around the house, especially washing windows! Provide a small spray bottle of water and a cleaning cloth or small squeegee and show your child how to wash a window.
Children can also use the learning tower to hang clothes in their closet and wipe kitchen counters.
Toddler towers enable slightly older children to access the sink to retrieve water for things like painting, making mud pies and completing Montessori-style activities known as “Practical Life work,” such as table scrubbing and plant watering.
- Independent play
Sometimes your older tot may not want to help with dinner. Or perhaps you’re making a recipe that isn’t suitable for your little sous chef. The learning tower still allows your child to be nearby without pulling on your leg the whole time you’re trying to cook.
Offer options like drawing, play dough or looking at books that your child can do independently at the counter.
The toddler tower is also perfect for older siblings, who may want to work on a Lego creation or watercolor masterpiece out of reach of younger tots.
- Distance games
It’s no secret that toddlers have abundant energy and need lots of gross motor opportunities.
On rainy days or times when you’re unable to take your child outside to run around, the toddler tower is wonderful for practicing gross motor skills.
Montessori teachers often using a technique called distance games to encourage movement while learning. You can easily practice this at home, too! Choose a puzzle and put the puzzle frame on the counter in front of the toddler tower, then place the puzzle pieces in your child’s room. Ask your child to go get one piece at a time and bring it back to the puzzle. This activity not only encourages movement, it’s also great for developing focus as your child works to remember which piece to retrieve.
You can also try this activity with blocks. Simply ask your child to go get a triangular block, a small block, or simply the next block for the tower. You should, of course, wait for this type of activity until your tot can safely and independently go up and down the toddler tower.
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