Thursday, June 9, 2016

DIY Toddler Tower

Baby D loves to bake with me---especially muffins, but really anything I mix together.  As soon as I ask, "Do you want to help Lovey cook?".   He rushes to pull the step stool out from beside the refrigerator.  When we made macaroons for the delivery nurses, he became very distressed that I needed to stand on "my 'tool" to reach the food coloring.
I like having him help and love it when Michael and Adellelyn have wanted to help me as well, but have felt very uneasy about him standing on the step-stool at times.  Because it is slanted, he can't get as close to the cabinet as needed and if he should lose his balance or step backwards, he would hit a very hard tile floor.

At one of the schools I worked with, they have Toddler Towers in their toddler classrooms so that the children can reach the cabinets in a safe way.  They are adjustable and awesome, but also big, bulky and expensive.  To the tune of $150-200 expensive.
Enter one of my grand ideas.  I found directions for a DIY Toddler Tower over on Ana White's website.  After showing it to Ron, we decided that we could build one ourselves and even make it so that it would fold up for storage.

I measured and Ron cut.
As I eluded on my Instagram photo of this step, building projects are sometimes a bit stressful for our relationship.  We have very different ways of approaching things like this and we both can become a bit "snippy" about it.  Such was the case this time, as well, but fortunately, those moments don't last long and we are soon working together again.
Then we assembled.
The directions were easy to follow, with the exception of the part about adding hinges.   The directions only said to purchase 8 sets of sturdy hinges, and we soon realized that half of the ones we bought were too large for the boards.  So, back to Lowe's I went to exchange the hinges.  The other part that was tricky was where to put the hinges.  The included drawing shows half of them on the inside and half of them on the outside.  We couldn't figure out any possible way for that to work, so we placed all of our hinges on the inside.
That meant that our front and back boards had to be placed on the outside of legs, which left a space between the front and the platform that I was worried about feet slipping into.
Adding a scrap of wood to both the front and back fixed that problem and the rest went together just fine.
I sanded and painted the tower and had the chance to try it out this afternoon.  (Please ignore the very messy counter top--it's real life).
It worked great!!
Baby D was a little bit hesitant to climb up the rungs by himself, but it is just as easy to lift him up onto the platform while he is this small.
The front fits flat against the cabinets and hits just below the counter top, which is perfect.
I like that it has the curved sides to hold onto--particularly when I need to step away to get an ingredient.
Of course, being at counter level means that he can reach my iPad and swipe away recipes.  And steal blueberries from the pie.  But, it also means we can cook together much more easily and safely.
The cost of all our supplies was about $35.00 (hinges were the most expensive part of the supplies).
Now, excuse me while I add a scoop of ice cream to our bowls of Berry Crisp. (For our very simple, yummy recipe, click here.)

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