Monday, February 1, 2016

IKEA Step Stool "Hack" for Toddlers

Maddie loves to help in the kitchen. Washing her hands, washing dishes, stirring things, watching things, eating things. I was getting in a habit of sitting her on the kitchen counter to help, but I worried about her safety up there. So I picked up a simple step stool from IKEA, and it was a major hit! She wanted to be up there 24/7. But... I still worried about her safety. She is just a leeeetle bit clumsy (sorry Mad, must be genetic), and I knew it would just be a matter of time before she slipped off the side of the step stool onto our unforgiving ceramic tile. I had heard of something called a "learning tower" but hadn't looked into it much because I also heard they were expensive. My wheels started turning with the step stool, and as usual, Pinterest saved the day! I searched for something along the lines of "toddler stool safety rail" and came across a bunch of IKEA step stool "hacks" for DIY learning towers! Tom is usually up for a woodworking project, and equally (if not more) concerned than me with Maddie's safety, so he was easy to convince. We were able to wrap up the whole project one weekend.

We started with this basic stool and used these instructions. I can't at all take credit for the design, we pretty much followed the instructions to a T. And by "we", I totally mean "Tom". We stained the step pieces in a similar color to our kitchen cabinets and the rest of the stool we painted white. In retrospect, I wish we had stained the dowel and top rail as well, because messy finger prints show up so easily on white paint! But the concern was that the stain wouldn't match because the stool and wood pieces we used were different types of wood. And as usual, I got impatient with the stain and did two coats within an hour of each other despite the instructions to wait 8 hours. Then Tom got impatient and slapped on some sealant a few hours later. The result was an uneven, slightly gritty stain job. Womp womp. Oh well, I'm not super concerned about it. It's really only noticeable up close and I know the stool is going to get some serious wear and tear anyway.

So far the DIY learning tower has been awesome! I worry much less about Maddie's safety in the kitchen. She hasn't quite figured out how to climb in and out of the stool on her own yet, but I'm not totally complaining because 1) she can't get into things without my knowledge/help, and 2) when I really don't need her help with something, I can conveniently put her in step stool jail ;) HOWEVER, if I were to do it all over again, I think I would explore swapping the dowel for a piece of wood with a hinge and a latch so that I could open it for Maddie to climb up and then lock it shut once she's in. Having to lift her in and out right now sort of defeats the whole "step stool" thing.

Don't mind the fact that she's pretty much always in PJs....
or that she's eating uncooked oatmeal with her hands...

This easy IKEA hack has me super excited about my next IKEA hack project... for Maddie's 2nd birthday, I'm planning to "remodel" this simple little play kitchen! Again, Pinterest has ALL the good ideas. Do you have any to share??


Also doubles as a great indoor bird-watching station ;)

1 comment:

  1. These are cute toddler stools that are personalized. I thought it would relate to the blog.