This post originally appeared on the Bellani blog.
The Learning Tower is one of those pieces of kid gear that makes parents in the know say, “Oooooh.” It’s a pretty clever idea: an adjustable platform that can act as a sort of combination step stool, activity center, and jungle gym. The standard suggested usage scenario is that it enables kids to reach the counter or sink in your kitchen so they can “help” you cook or at least play with kitchen tools. (The website is full of pictures of adorable moppets in ridiculous chef’s toques.) It’s made of wood, rather than plastic, which is nice. Because we are cheap (er, frugal) we scored one secondhand off of Craigslist and we’ve been very happy with it.
For the first few months that we owned it, we kept our Learning Tower in the kitchen, pushed up against the island where I did most of the cooking and prep. The idea was to get the kids up closer to our level so that we could interact with them while still getting things accomplished. Unfortunately, given the age of the twins, our interactions with them largely consisted of repeatedly urging them to EAT their Cheerios instead of throwing them on the floor. No, seriously, if you throw your food on the floor you’re going to have to–that’s it. Get down.
Then we got the whiteboard/chalkboard attachment, which essentially turns the Learning Tower into sort of a Learning Easel. This seemed awfully promising. It even had a big magnet that could hold up a large piece of paper for coloring. The problem, of course, was that our kids didn’t quite get the concept of only coloring with crayons ON THE PAPER and not all over the tower itself. We had much better luck switching to chalk, but it didn’t take us long to realize that two toddlers sitting constantly underfoot playing with (throwing, eating, and occasionally drawing with) chalk didn’t make for a calm, productive, and clean kitchen. The Learning Tower was banished to the family room, and downgraded to full-time chalkboard status. We pushed it up against the wall next to the couch, and figured they could still practice climbing up and down if the wanted.
And the kids loved it! Still do! The chalkboard is magnetic, and they love sticking alphabet magnets onto it. They love coloring with chalk (they like erasing even more) and Julian will sometimes grab me by the hand, pull me over the chalkboard, and insist that “Daddy draw b’loon.” I’m getting very good at drawing balloons, as it doesn’t really tax my limited artistic abilities. (Although, having seen a drawing of one once, they’re now insisting that I draw hedgehogs. Hedgehogs!)
So, that was that. They draw on the chalkboard, got better and better at climbing onto and off of the tower itself, and enjoyed being up a little higher. Sure, we had to sternly remind them not to violently SHAKE the tower, since that didn’t seem safe, but it seemed like generally good, clean, quiet fun.
Until they realized there was another way off of the tower:
Honestly, this is now their favorite game in the world.
I expect that in 6-12 months, when the twins are a bit older, we’ll be able to get more use out of the Learning Tower in its intended use. They’ll be, hopefully, more interested in being involved in what’s going on in the kitchen and have slightly longer attention spans. Of course, by then they’ll probably be big enough that we’ll need two of the dang things. Sigh.Filed under Baby Stuff | Comments (3)