Our Learning Tower is a HUGE hit so far!!!
So I had heard the term learning tower and decided to look it up one day. Turns out a learning tower is what I would call an awesome kitchen stool- maybe I’d name it the kitchen helper! It is essentially a stool that has a rail so your toddler doesn’t fall off. The safety feature is intriguing- especially if you want your toddler focused on a task other than “staying on the stool”.
So, while I wish I had, I so did not invent this- got the basic idea from this blog. The learning towers that are pre-made are super expensive. We are talking $200! I was definitely not going to spend $200 on this project. We made this stool using the above directions, however, for MUCH less!
Start by purchasing the Ikea Bekvam Step Stool. Go to Ikea or to their website to do so. Do not try and buy the stool on amazon, as it is much more expensive. At Ikea, the stool is $14.99.
The supplies we bought at home depot were as follows:
Poplar planks 1.5″ x 1.5″
Poplar planks 1 x 3
3″ Construction Screws
I assembled the Ikea stool and left the top board off so we could work with it and attach the 4 posts easily.
From the top of the stool to the top of our counters measured 16″. So, we started by cutting the 1.5″ x 1.5″ planks into four 16″ sections.
You’ll notice that our stool has side bars that we built in at the halfway point, and at the top. On the side, we used the 1.5″ x 1.5″ boards and put them in between the posts. We measured based on where the posts were going to be attached ahead of time (but you could also wait until this step and measure after the posts are attached for your 2 side pieces that are halfway up. Pre-drill through the posts and the 2 side boards, then attach with construction screws.
At that point we had 4 more boards to cut and place: the halfway point across the back, and the two sides and back braces at the very top of the stool. We waited to measure so we could get exact pieces (not everything went together perfectly square, so the cuts were not all the same). These need to be attached with slightly smaller screws since they are not going into the length of the post. We had some on hand that we used.
Once everything is screwed in, we attached the newly built section to the original stool with the provided bolts, we sanded the edges a bit by hand, and painted the newly built top section (since we purchased the stool in white from Ikea).
Our construction differs from the blog above in some of our measurements, and we left out the dowel on the front side of the stool. We decided it would be easier for her to climb in and out of the stool without that in place, and that there wasn’t a huge need for it. We can always add another piece later, if we decide she needs the added safety.
Caroline loves her stool so far! She immediately tried it out and helped us wipe the counter down. The next morning, I had her help spread peanut butter on her toast. She also “helped” while I made lunch, by snacking on some cheese for our sandwiches. She loved that she could see everything that I was doing. And today, she buttered her grilled cheese (with mamas help, of course).
As she gets a bit older she is really going to enjoy helping out in the kitchen with clean up and cooking. We are making enchiladas tonight, so I plan to have her help sprinkle the cheese on! Hopefully she doesn’t eat it all before we make everything! LOL