You’re a good mom, so you already know this: If “Montessori” is in the name, then the product is good for your kid. But what does that actually mean, anyway? Simply put, Montessori methods are about letting the child choose their own activities, hands-on learning, and playing together in a constructive way. That’s all well and good, and for the record, as a parent and former teacher, I love Ms. Maria Montessori’s philosophy.
But can we just be honest for a second? Imagine your kitchen at its worst. And then imagine that you allow your 2 year old walk in there as they CHOOSE for some HANDS-ON “learning” and PLAY time. That’s what the Montessori learning tower is designed to do.
How does that work out for you?
This is what my kitchen looks like right now as I’m typing this. And that’s not even the worst!
The Montessori Learning Tower gives my daughter free reign to get level with the counter, grab a clean glass cup, and scoop all the greasy water out of the pot soaking in the sink, dribbling it all over the counter, the floor, and herself. Then she can move on to taste the half a bouillon cube that should have been tossed in the bin last night. Then she can do something creative with that massive knife, I don’t want to imagine what. Then she can discover how similar soft butter is to lotion, and take a single bite out of each and every juicy nectarine.
And even when the kitchen is clean and I invite her to work with me to bake something or prepare a snack, it’s not so simple. Working with a toddler in the kitchen means that I do most of the actual work, and at the same time keep an eye on my daughter that she doesn’t make a complete mess of the food we’re hoping to eat, or cut herself with a knife, or rub lemon juice in her eyes, or eat any raw eggs, or dump in more salt when I’m not looking, etc.
So I guess you could say that’s the negative side of having a Montessori Learning Tower.
On the positive side, the tower is great if you want to have your child involved in some baking or cooking (preferably on your terms, not your toddlers). It is much more stable than a regular kitchen chair, and the barriers on four sides add to the safety. Because who wants to risk their kid falling with bowl of pancake batter?
And it’s nice to have the option to let your child be involved in the kitchen. One reason is because kitchen skills are important for life. Anything that can help the future me NOT be the mom who has to cook 3 meals a day for my 18 year old has the potential for winning in my book!
Also, those experts think that kids are more likely to taste the food if they’re involved in preparing it. I was sure that was true when I watched Master Chef Junior, but it’s still hit or miss with my 2 year old. She has been munching the occasional lettuce leaf, and that might be because she “helps” make a salad a few times a week. Then again it could be an offshoot of her rejecting most my suggestions, but I never once suggested she eat any lettuce, so it’s naturally appealing.
You don’t have to be jealous of my veggie eater though – she eats tree leaves too. Also, I’ve noticed that doing an activity in the kitchen with me keeps her concentrated and engaged for longer than any show on Netflix. Oh, and it makes me look like a really good mom for even trying to work with my child in the kitchen.
So, the cost of using the Montessori Learning Tower is the pain in the butt of having a toddler wreak havoc on my kitchen, and the fact that preparing any food with her takes at least twice as long as doing it without her. But the payoff is that we spend time together and my child learns valuable skills. Is it worth it? Ask me on a good day and I’ll say “Yes, definitely.” Ask me on a bad day and I’ll say, “Oh, by the way, we’re selling that tower. You want it?”
How to get one for your little kitchen helper:
♥ You can make your own by getting a step stool from Ikea and following the directions on this blog. Or if you’re really handy, then you can follow these directions to make a fold-able one so you can put it out of reach easily.
♥ You can order one on Amazon.
♥ We bought ours from this seller and we found we needed to make one modification. We added these little sliding locks because my daughter was leaning on the bars and they were moving out of place, nearly giving me a heart attack! We bought them at Bauhaus for about a euro each. (See last picture from above)