Are you wondering how to find that perfect step stool so your kids can reach counter height safely, be independent, and doesn’t break your wallet?
We are in love with our step stool ♡ — it has served our family for almost three years since Zac was 1.5 years old. It is so sturdy that even my husband can stand on it safely (it has a 300 lb. load capacity.) So naturally when I’m recommending step stools for children, I always recommend the one like ours.
Here are some of its features that I have really appreciated — the 7 things to look for when you’re shopping for the perfect step stool.
(#1 to #5 have to do with safety, #6 with practicality, and #7 is the MOST IMPORTANT of them all.)
1. Non-slip surface. This is non-negotiable for us. (Anybody else have slippery and fidgety kids?) Look for a surface with non-slip dots or treads. Some wooden step stools are so gorgeous and totally fits the bill — for these, you can easily affix inexpensive non-slip treads designed for stairs or non-slip decals for bathtubs.
2. Two-steps. Most step stools are either one- or two-steps. I have both types and find that the two-step step stool is much safer for a young child since it is not as steep. Trust me — you will be thankful for this when you’re carrying baby in one hand, milk bottle in the other, and your preschooler is independently and safely walking down those steps with a bowl of apples instead of whining for your help carrying him down.
Here’s a short video showing Zac being totally independent using the step stool.
(New post) I’m very pleased with how we’ve set up our Montessori kitchen — no additional space required, only child-sized tools provided. At 3 years old Z is able to juice an orange from start to finish independently (with supervision.) http://plantingpeas.com/juicing-oranges-from-start-to-finish/
PIN IT: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/449445237791376015/
Posted by Planting Peas on Wednesday, July 29, 2015
3. Non-toppleable. It’s really difficult to explain this so you’ll have to take a look at the photo below to see what I mean. There’s just something about the edges of a step stool that make a child want to bear his weight down on it and make it topple. The last thing you want is your child collapsing to the floor while he’s working with a knife. My kids almost always find a way to topple any 1-step step stool, but it’s almost impossible to topple our 2-step step stool.
4. Deep steps. Beware of some step stools out there that look oh-so-pretty but have such a shallow first step. Any shallower and it might as well be a rod. The best way to test this is to climb on it yourself — if you feel safe and secure, then chances are it will be perfect for your child. (In the picture below, Zac’s 4-year-old feet fit almost fully on the first step.)
5. Flush to the cabinet. Make sure you don’t get a step stool with too much of an angled side! You’ll want the side with the highest step to go right up against the cabinet or as much as possible; or little feet might get wedged between cabinet and stool.
(a) for adult to carry using one hand. Imagine you’re carrying baby in one hand and your toddler or preschooler is insisting that it’s their turn to switch on the lights (immediately), except they need your help to bring the step stool. (Bonus points if the stool has a handhold.)
(b) for kid to carry or push around. Once you’ve tested that you can lug the step stool around with one hand, ask your child to give it a test drive too. Make sure they can carry it with both hands, or at the very least be able push it around the store. Being able to do this increases their independence at home infinitely! Zac has, on more than one occasion, used his handy step stool to secretly steal the tv remote from a tall shelf.
7. Measurements. Most important. Must not be overlooked. The last thing you want is to get home only to find that the kitchen counter reaches your child’s chest with that short stool. Mighty helpful that will be!
Kitchen counter heights vary, so I used this rule: The angle of the child’s arms are approximately 45 degrees from the counter when his palms are face down on the counter top. When we first bought this stool he was a lot shorter however he’s growing nicely into the stool now.
Next, use a dining chair as a test step stool and make approximate adjustments (in our case, we needed the stool to be about 2 inches lower). Make a mental mark of where that height hits your legs.
So now when you go shopping, your leg becomes the measuring tape! Convenient eh?
In case you’re wondering, our step stool is by Gorilla Ladders and we bought at Home Depot for about $15 three years ago. We love it and cannot live without it. I don’t think they make them anymore though, but this step stool by Rubbermaid comes extremely close and meets all my requirements listed above.
I’m aware there are specific kitchen helpers made for children, those with the tall walls, however we never had the time to check out one of those. In all honesty, we got our little black step stool as a temporary fix when we moved into our house. But we never had to go buy another one because this turned out so perfectly. ♡
I’ve created this free printable so you can either print it / put it in your purse so you don’t forget or send dear hubby to go shopping instead.
I hope I’ve been helpful!
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