Keeping kids safe in the kitchen is a priority for every parent!
Unfortunately, a chair isn’t always the safest item to use.
Luckily we discovered The Learning Tower when our kids were quite young (18 months and 3.5).
In this article I will compare The Learning Tower vs. The Kitchen Helper.
They are both very similar products with slight differences that I will discuss.
As parents, we know children love being in the kitchen.
However, until your child is quite a bit older it is difficult for them to help out for several reasons, one of which being their size.
But have no fear, there are products out there that can make it much safer for your child to stand with you in the kitchen.
Unless of course you want to use a chair.
That’s what we were using prior to discovering The Learning Tower.
Don’t get me wrong, you’re not a bad parent for using a chair for your child to stand on (that’s all I used when I was a child as these handy products didn’t exist).
For me personally, I found this to be especially difficult once we had two children. I also didn’t like how “open” a chair is.
There is nothing stopping a child from falling off the chair.
This is where the Learning Tower, or if you prefer The Kitchen Helper, comes in.
But if you are handy and have some tools you could make one of these yourself!
I have listed some DIY Learning Towers at the end of the article, so make sure to scroll all the way down.
Having a product such as The Learning Tower isn’t just about safety. It can also help develop your child’s independence as well as pretend play.
Cover it with a sheet and you now have a fort, castle, spaceship, etc.
Watch your child’s proud expression as he climbs into the tower on his own and is ready to help you in the kitchen!
Keeping Kids Safe In The Kitchen!
*This article may contain affiliate links*
The Learning Tower
The Learning Tower (by Little Partners) is constructed of solid wood (birch and poplar).
My family and I found that it was very sturdy and fairly easy to assemble.
My husband did all of the assembling, but I don’t remember hearing many curse words, so it couldn’t have been that difficult.
Unlike The Kitchen Helper, the Learning Tower does not fold as it is made of solid wood.
Here is my list of pros and cons based on my experience:
- sturdy, solid wood construction
- creates learning and bonding time for parent and child
- large age range (18 months to 6 years – based on manufacturers recommendations)
- comes in a variety of colors (natural, ebony, dark cherry, espresso, green, red and white)
- standing platform has enough room for 2 children
- height adjustable platform – no tools required
- looks good in any kitchen
- has a “lip” at the back of the platform to prevent children from sliding off
- has various attachments that can be purchased to make it a multi-use product (e.g. easel, puppet stage curtain), or just cover it with a sheet like my children did in order to make it a fort!
- it is large and does not fold for storage, so if you live in a small space it will always be seen (39 x 22 x 24 inches ; 35 pounds )
- small children can fall off/out when the standing platform is at the highest level as there are no “rails” other than around the top. Note: This never happened to my children, but based on the reviews of others, it is a possibility. Remember, this is not meant to be a babysitter, parental supervision is still required.
*NEW IN 2020*
There is now a collapsible version of The Learning Tower which helps with the storage issue. However, it is best suited for one child (between the ages of 18 months and 6 years) as it is slightly smaller than the original version. It looks more like an adjustable step stool with safety rails. You can check it out here!
We used the learning tower in our house for approximately 3 years.
It was definitely worth every penny.
The Kitchen Helper
The Kitchen Helper (by GuideCraft) is similar to The Learning Tower in that it provides a safer alternative to a chair or stool for your child in the kitchen.
The Kitchen Helper has some features that The Learning Tower does not have.
However there are also some negatives that go along with this product.
Here is my take:
- it is collapsible, therefore can be stored out of the way
- smaller dimensions than The Learning Tower, thus good for smaller spaces (20.2 x 5.5 x 40.2 inches ; 20 pounds)
- creates learning and bonding time for parent and child
- large age range (24 months to 6 years – based on manufacturers recommendations)
- height adjustable platform
- workmanship could be improved. Materials are furniture grade plywood and some solid wood, hinges wear quickly.
- tools are required to fold it up as well as to adjust the platform height (*Based on their newest product video it appears that an allan key may longer be needed to fold it up)
- feet that attach to legs are not very sturdy
- no “lip” to prevent small child from sliding off
- *shape cutouts on the sides can encourage climbing of the Kitchen Helper
*NEW IN 2020*
There is now a version that does not have the cutouts. It also comes with a “keeper” (a mesh screen that can be attached to the back opening to prevent children from accidentally falling out. It also comes with a non-slip mat that can be mounted on the wooden standing surface to prevent slips!
Check it out here!
One thing to note is that the maximum base height for both of these products is about 19 inches.
Learning Tower DIY Alternatives
If these products are not in your budget, or if you are handy and like creating your own kids products, why not give some of these made by hand alternatives a try!
Ikea Hack Learning Tower Stool
You will need the IKEA BEKVAM Wooden Utility Step Stool, or something similar in order to make this kid-safe kitchen tower.
Head over to Happy Grey Lucky for the instructions to make this one.
The instructions are so detailed that a beginner would probably be successful with this project.
And it’s much smaller than The Learning Tower or Kitchen Helper, so perfect for smaller spaces.
Collapsible Homemade Kitchen Helper
Ana White has a wonderful DIY site with so many awesome ideas for kids.
Check out her Folding Little Helper Tower.
It’s a bit more complicated than the Ikea hack, but if you are handy it shouldn’t be too bad.
Especially with the instructions that are provided.
If you head to Pinterest you will find many instructions to make your own Learning Tower.
Most are similar to the two I choose to feature.
Here are some other great products to get the kids involved in kitchen activities while keeping their safety in mind!
Which One to Choose?
I would have to say the choice between The Learning Tower vs The Kitchen Helper will be a personal one.
And it may come down to cost as well.
The Kitchen Helper tends to be about $50 less than The Learning Tower.
However, I do have to say that either of these products will make a great addition to your home.
Both will help get your little ones safely involved in some fun kitchen activities that will enhance their language skills.
If you have one of these products, please leave me a comment with your thoughts!