Safely Helping Mom in the Kitchen

Call me ridiculous, but it's mid-October and Christmas shopping has started! I haven't bought anything yet, BUT the amount of mental energy put towards finding the best idea gift for everyone, and then at the best possible price would be enough to drain a car battery every hour.

For my girls, I was thinking about something I could use with them daily, that would be fun for them and helpful for me and that would help us bond and build lasting memories.

Kitchen Helper Safety Tower, by One Step Ahead

So, when I came across the OneStepAhead's Kitchen Helper Safety Tower Step Stool, I was delighted! You see? my 2 year old is always very eager to helping Mommy in the Kitchen but is unstable on the chair and it makes her (and ME) very insecure! This safety tower promises many hours of fun creative play while making the meal preparation process much easier on Mom and more interesting for my daughter!

It retails at $149.99 and has the following features:

  • Can be folded down to 7" thick, for easy storage
  • Light-weight
  • Adjusts to 2 platform heights
  • Comes in 2 colours (cherry or white)
  • Easy to enter and exit
  • An art easel (sold separately) can be mounted on its side
However, while most customers were very satisfied with their purchase, some others reviewed that when used in the highest position (for smaller children) it is impossible to fold. Other mentioned it arrived with scratches and dents and that the folding mechanism has no lock to "keep it folded". Also, this tour is meant for 1 child only.

Kitchen Helper, by GuideCraft

Then, I found the GuideCraft Kitchen Helper which looked equally cool. This one retails for $180 from the manufacturer's site but can be easily found at $149 on many online stores such as and  I was even able to find it as low as $114 on sale with free shipping on

The design is awfully similar to that of One Step Ahead's. Its features are:

  • Can be folded down to 7" thick for easy storage
  • Light-weight
  • Adjusts to 3 platform heights
  • Has a built-in chalkboard and whiteboard
  • Ships pre-assembled.
The critics against this model are also very similar to that of One Step Ahead's: some note a screw needs to be taken out with an Allen key before you can fold it, it arrived with some scratches and one dad even claimed that the shapes on the sides were very tempting for his toddler to climb on to so he had to cover them up with cardboard and duct tape to make it safe. GuideCraft recommends this from age 3 and up - at which age I'm guessing the temptation is all gone. The weight limit on this one is 150lbs and is also meant for one child at a time.

Little Helper FunPod, by Luca and Company

In the one-child-at-a-time category, I also came across the Little Helper FunPod by Luca and Company (or by Little Helper if you're in the UK). 

This one shows a very different design that is closer to a tower than a platform. More compact than the previous two when in use, it does not fold to be put away but is the only one I found that could slide underneath my lunch counter and take the space of a stool. For 190$, one child could have a very safe spot to play/work from without taking too much floor space in a small kitchen. When not in use, the unit can also accommodate some butcher's block top and be used as additional working space. The platform has 5 levels of adjustments to accomodate kids of different ages. It comes in natural (the original) or a variety of 4 colours. 

The only drawback (other that the price tag) is that the child will need your help to enter and exit the pod. When I showed this one to my husband his first comment was that it looked more plain (read boring) than the other ones, but if I do buy it, I am planning to paint one of the flat sides with blackboard paint to turn the whole area into a writable surface.

Learning Tower, by Little Partners

Last but not least is the Learning Tower, which retails around 199$ and can easily accomodate 2 children. It is by far the biggest one of the options I found online and cannot fold for storage, nor will it fit under your counter space. The quality of the construction is flawless and can support up to 500 lbs. It is also suitable for children as young as 18 months so it is a piece of furniture that will be an integral part of your kitchen for many years to come. An added convenience is that the platform can be adjusted in a few seconds without using tools. This can be particularly useful if your children are of different age and size. Different add-ons can be purchased to add a blackboard/whiteboard and turn it into a large easel, or a playhouse/puppet theater. 7 colours are available to choose from. 

Its one and only flaw is to be very large. Basically, if your kitchen can accommodate another piece of furniture like this one, go for it!  But if, like me, you have to be strategic about everything that enters the kitchen, you may want to look elsewhere...

The Custom and Always Economical, DIY Option

You think all these options though interesting are too pricey? I hear ya! If you're handy and want to make your own, I also found plans for a DIY (do-it-yourself) project that will take you a bit less than a the weekend to put together and will give you the satisfaction of knowing your child is safely helping you in the kitchen, for a fraction of the cost of the ready made safety stools/towers out there.

Ana White's website offers so many cool plans for the starting and the most experienced woodworker for free! The Little Helper Tower's plans are found in her Kids category for the intermediate level woodworker and the lumber costs are estimated to range between $20-$50. Because you are doing it yourself, it also give you an illimited choice of colours and the freedom to make adjustments to better suit your needs (e.g.: smaller floorprint or making it shorter to fit under your counter).

If you visit her BRAGS section, you can also find many do-it-yourselfers who accomplished the project and shared pictures of their own. This can surely inspire you to get started!

If you have purchased or built a safety tower for your child to participate in the kitchen and would like to share your views on the subject, please do! I am on the verse of making a decision for my own kitchen and want to hear from everyone's experiences good and bad before I commit to buying or making a tower!


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