If you want to implement Montessori in your home but don’t know where to begin, start with the kitchen. A safe way for your young child to reach the kitchen counter is by using a Montessori learning tower.
There are so many learning opportunities in the kitchen with cooking, baking, cleaning, organizing utensils, putting groceries away, and putting clean dishes and cups away. And the kitchen is readily available, it’s familiar, and it’s something your family uses every day in real life.
A Montessori learning tower allows your child to help out with activities in the kitchen, reaching the counter. The tower we use is the Sous-Chef Toddler Tower from Sprout.
With real-life activities in the kitchen, your child can learn about different subjects hands-on. Below are some examples.
- Math: measuring, counting, sorting, cutting, and fractions
- Language: exploring cookbooks, recipes, learning names of food items, utensils, cooking supplies, and kitchen equipment
- Science: how different ingredients interact with each other, how bread rises with yeast
- Culture: preparing food from different countries around the world and learning about the people
- Practical Life: real-life activities that strengthen fine and gross motor skills, while developing order, confidence, coordination, and independence. Examples in the kitchen:
- Pouring water from a measuring cup into a bowl to make bread dough
- Transferring salt and yeast with measuring spoons into a bowl to make bread dough
- Squeezing a sponge at the sink to help wash the measuring cups, spoons, and the bowls
- Sensorial: the exploration of the five senses: touch, sight, smell, taste, hearing. Examples in the kitchen:
- Visually seeing and feeling with your hands the different sized measuring cups and measuring spoons.
- The feel of the flour and bread dough in your hands, and the sound of the dough when you knead it.
- The smell of bread baking in the oven, and tasting the bread after it has come out of the oven and cooled.
The opportunities and ideas are endless! But the youngest children cannot reach the kitchen counter on their own.
- You have a very curious toddler (like me) and they want to see what you’re doing in the kitchen!
- You could use a regular step ladder or chair to stand on to reach the counter, but this could be unsafe for little ones.
- You could get a short child-sized counter, shelf, or table for your young child to work in the kitchen, which we also have and recommend.
- But they still can’t see and do everything that you can see and do at the kitchen counter. This is where all the action happens! And your child wants to see and do what you’re doing.
Our beginning experiences in the kitchen with the tower
When our daughter first started walking at thirteen months old, we got a learning tower for her. We purchased the Sous-Chef Toddler Tower from Sprout. As a Montessori teacher, I was familiar with Sprout, because they produce Montessori furniture for the classroom, as well as the home.
I started to do research and learned about all different types of learning towers for toddlers and young children. There are many of them out there! I was happy to discover that the Sprout tower got a lot of positive reviews and highly recommended. We were sold and purchased it!
We also decided on the Sprout tower because of the slender, modern, and simple design. We love that you can put the tower together at home with no tools.
My husband is a Mechanical Engineer, so he truly appreciated the innovative design and the simple assembly of the tower.
To assemble, there are tabs that you stick into the slots; no screws or other additional parts. It is simple to assemble and the tower has a natural and minimalist look to it.
More features of the tower
The Sous-Chef Toddler Tower from Sprout is adjustable; it comes in three settings depending on your child’s height. The tower accommodates your child’s height from 28 to 44 inches tall! It’s sturdy, it doesn’t wobble. It is also very strong and can hold up to 150 pounds.
There are safety features in the design. There is a guard plate for children under 32″ tall. It is easy for little ones to climb in and out of the tower safely. The dowel or bar at the top keeps your child from trying to climb on the counter or other furniture.
The tower is also easy to clean. The tower was specifically designed to have wide spaces between the vertical panels and the steps, so when food falls onto the tower, it doesn’t get stuck in any cracks or crevices.
I think that is a genius idea! While cooking, my daughter has dropped and thrown flour and batter while at the counter, and it was very easy for us to clean it up afterward.
More reasons to love the Sprout tower
The Sprout tower fits perfectly under our kitchen counter when not in use
- If you have a standard height counter in your kitchen where you could slide under tall kitchen bar stools, the Sprout tower will fit perfectly next to them. We love that!
- It looks really nice under the counter; it is clean, simple, and slender.
The Sprout tower is very light and easy for a toddler to move independently
- When our daughter turned two years old, she started to take ownership of her Sprout tower. She could easily slide the tower to where we were working in the kitchen to see what we were doing.
- We don’t have to tell her to get the tower, or put her in it!
- Note that we placed felt furniture sliders in the feet of the tower so that it slides quieter and smoother.
As I write this, our daughter is two-and-a-half and she uses her Sprout tower for other things
- She helps us feed the fish.
- She wants to see what the cats are doing on the counter.
- She wants to look out the window and get a better look outside.
It’s a good investment
- We feel that Sprout is the best value. Learning towers are expensive and Sprout is not the least expensive tower on the market but:
- we love the quality craftsmanship
- it is worth it because of the adjustability; our daughter will get quality use out of it until she’s about five years old.
The kitchen is a great place to start if you want to implement Montessori activities at home. The Sous-Chef Toddler Tower from Sprout is a great investment. It allows your young child (from ages about one to five) to get in on all the action with you at the kitchen counter, safely. And it’s beautiful with a minimalist look and feel.
What did you think of this article? Do you have a learning tower in your kitchen? Do you have a Sprout tower? Tell us about your experience. Leave a comment below!