For me, this quote has had a profound impact on my parenting journey. As someone who practices gentle parenting, I am often reframing my perspective to better understand my son’s words and actions in order to try to meet his underlying needs. And so often his questions – tears – tantrums are spurred by his inability to do something. To help with meal preparation. To wash dishes. To crack an egg. To pour the melted butter into our Saturday morning pancake mix. So, what better way to help him engage in these out-of-reach activities than with a learning tower.
Traditional learning towers like these are essentially steps stools with sides to keep the littlest of helpers safe. They are often seen in Montessori classrooms and homes alike. They also happen to be pretty pricey and pretty huge. When we decided to add a learning tower to our already super tiny kitchen (so tiny that our kitchen table folds away to the wall—thank you IKEA) we knew it had to have a small footprint to live in our space. Adios traditional learning tower. Hola IKEA hack tower from the super talented mint in the middle.
We started with the Bekvam stool from IKEA and followed Jenny’s instructions (detailed here) to create this petite version of a learning tower. This project doesn’t require a lot of materials, but it does require a drill, some time and lots of measuring to line things up properly. Kudos to my husband who is very handy for taking on this project. He built the stand when Asher was 13 months and we still use it daily at 25 months. However, Ash is getting a bit too tall for the tower at 36 inches, so I’ll be investigating larger towers soon (thanks in advance, Dad!).
For us, the learning tower helps to satisfy Asher’s need to experience, engage, help and observe all on his own. Using the tower, he’s learned what his “jobs” are when helping during meal prep and he loves to prepare special desserts for people we love. These are special memories that I will hold onto for a long time.
>> Note: We’ve never had an accident in the tower, but Asher doesn’t spend much time in the tower without us being in the same room <<