As soon as my daughter learned to walk, my wife became convinced that she needed a learning tower. “What the heck is a learning tower?!” I asked. She then proceeded to flood my inbox with Amazon links.
A learning tower, as it turns out, is a neat little structure that kids can climb into and have a platform to stand on. It allows them to do things that they’d ordinarily need to be taller to do. This includes baking with a parent, washing hands at the sink, retrieving items high on a shelf, etc.
It wasn’t until my daughter could sprint through the house without tripping over herself that I began to warm up to the idea. But even then I wasn’t so sure. For a long time, she was skiddish with just about everything. For instance, I was never able to put her in one of those toddler backpacks. Every time I tried, she’d lose her mind. So I was skeptical that she’d be willing to even stand in a learning tower. But I eventually came around.
At the time we began shopping for a learning tower, all of the seemingly decent ones came in somewhere between $150-$200. It pained me to think about throwing that kind of money at something my daughter would turn her nose up at. The towers that I saw didn’t even look all that complicated to build. I thought I might be able to save a few bucks by building one myself. So I began looking at learning tower plans online.
I eventually came across a set of plans by a lady named Ana White. Her take on the learning tower looked simple enough. So over the Thanksgiving holiday, I decided to give it a go.
Ana White’s tower is super easy to build. And cheap. I think I spent around $50 all-in on materials. The project took maybe 3-4 hours to complete. Below is a picture of how it turned out.
There are some slight differences between my version and Ana White’s. Ana’s plan calls for a mix of screws and wood glue for assembling. The amount of screws she calls for on some of the more stress-bearing areas made me extremely nervous. I doubled up screws on things like the ladder rungs, platform supports, and the top bars. And because of that, I had to slightly offset the placement of some things. But that’s pretty much it. Ana’s plans are great. If you’re interested in building a learning tower for your kid, I highly recommend checking out Ana White’s plans.
How does my daughter like her learning tower? She LOVES it. She began climbing into it on her own pretty much right away. It’s definitely made hand-washing easier. She really, really likes being at counter-level. That’s now where she wants to snack. Something that was unexpected is that she will actually grab the learning tower and drag it around to where she wants it to be. I knew that would happen eventually. But she’s not even 2 yet, so that was a bit of a surprise.
Estimated Cost: $50
Wood-working skill level: Novice