The Littlest Helper Tower

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 06/12/2019 - 14:34
Difficulty
Intermediate
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Build your own toddler step stool and bring your child to counter height. Features adjustable height platform, removable tip resistant kit, and optional fold flat modification.

blue little helper tower in white kitchen

Reader submitted photo by Ginger and the Huth

Dimensions
dimensions diagram for little helper tower
Dimensions are shown above. Heights of rungs are adjustable platform heights. Platform measures 15″ x 18″. You can add additional guards to fit the special needs of your individual child. For an older child you could remove the tip resistant kit for a more compact profile.

Preparation

Shopping List

1 – 1×8, 8 feet long

4 – 1×2, 8 feet long

1 – 1×3, 8 feet long

Cut List

4 – 1×2 @ 38″ (Legs)

8 – 1×2 @ 15″ (Ladder rungs)

1 – 1×8 @ 15″ (Arches) OR 2 - 1x3 @ 15" (Substitute for arches)

2 – 1×8 @ 16 1/2″ (Front and Back Sides)

2 – 1×8 @ 18″ (Platform)

2 – 1×2 @ 15″ (Platform Supports)

2 – 1×2 @ 16 1/2″ (Bottom Supports)

2 – 1×3 @ 16 1/2″ (Top Supports)

2 – 1×3 @ 24″ (Tip Resistors)

4 – 1×3 @ 3″ (Tip Resistors)

Tools
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Drill
Circular Saw
Jigsaw
Power Sander
Level
Drill Bit Set

Instructions

Step 1

Cut Arches From the 1×8 that is 15″ long, cut arches as shown in diagram with a jigsaw.  Adjust so you can get both arches on the 1x8.

NOTE: Some people just opt for straight boards across as done in this reader submitted photo. 

simple little helper tower modification

You can substitute for 1x3 instead.  This will simplify the building process.

Step 2

Ladder Rungs
 

Measure and mark legs for ladder rung positions. Drill 3/4" pocket holes and apply glue to ends of ladder rungs. Attach with 1-1/4" pocket hole screws.

Build two identical.

Step 3

Assembly

Mark the location of the end pieces and predrill holes. Apply glue and screw in place with pocket hole screws. Adjust for square. You can add additional rails to the front and back as you see fit, but keep the sides open so your youngster can crawl in and out of the helping tower.

Step 4

Platform

Next, build your platform by marking the 1x8s that are 18″ long 1″ from the outsides. Attach with glue and 1 1/4″ screws the platform supports. These platform supports not only join the 1x8s, but they also keep the platform in place inside the helping tower.

Step 5

Step 6

Tip Resistant Foot

Round the corners on the tip resistors as shown above. Screw together. You can optionally exclude the smaller tip resistors, as side to side tipping is less likely than backward tipping. You know your child better than anyone. Build to suit your child’s needs

Step 7

Attach Tip Resistant Footer

Simply screw the tip resistant footer to the legs as shown above.

Step 8

Folding Mod

By placing hinges instead of screwing the front and back pieces to the side pieces, you can make the Little Helper Tower fold easily. Just make sure you use plenty of strong hinges, make the platform fit very tight (adjust the inset on the ends to 3/4″ instead of 1″ in step 4, and regularly check to make sure your hinges are not loose. I personally prefer simplicity, and any time you add hinges, it increases the complexity. But for those of you who require storage for the Little Helper Tower (would slide under a bed easily) this mod if done with care can be the solution.

Step 9

Help Improve This Plan

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Comments

Phillip Moore (not verified)

Tue, 04/05/2011 - 08:31

I built this, but made a few modifications. I made each side its own complete panel, and attached these panels together with hinges. It seemed sturdier this way. Also, I lowered the rail on one side giving it a definite 'front' that matches our counter height. Also eased all the edges with 1/8" round over bit to make it feel nicer for my daughter.

Keri

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 20:52

I really love this plan.  I made two of them, a stationary one for my 2 yr old and a folding one for my cousin's 3 yr old.  I definitely like the stationary one better.  I was having issues locating the jig saw, so I finally gave up and modified the plan.  For the tip resisters I just cut a 45 degree chunk off  the ends.  I still wanted an arch of sorts so that they had the extra head room while climbing in, so I used 1x2.  For each side, I used three pieces, two angling up and one to bridge them.  That left points from the diagonal cut sticking out, so I just cut those flush with the small bridging piece.  I  liked this, and if I had planned it from the beginning I could have saved myself the cost of some 1x8.  Now I'm planning a step stool or two =0).

I finished my son's with a Minwax wipe on stain/poly in bright green, which I like a lot but took a lot longer to wipe on than I'd expected.  Also, next time I'll let the pocket holes show and skip the fill if I'm not painting it - maybe even if I am.  I used a smooth foam roller to roll on some shell pink oops paint onto my niece's before I attached the hinges.  I used some pretty cabinet hinges for the wide boards, but had to buy utility hinges to fit the other.  The utility hinges came with much better screws and are sturdier, so I'll only use those next time.

Also, next time I will use 1x3 for the frames if I'm going to hinge them.  A little more expensive, but I can be sure that the edges of the hinges don't show.

guamgirl73

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 17:28

This is by far the best project I've ever built! I was looking to purchase one of these commercially, but no company would ship to Guam- Thank goodness! I saved a ton of money, and it was a really fun, simple build! Thank you Ana! Its not quite done, my toddler won't get off of it long enough for me to paint it- but its wonderful just the same!

Guest (not verified)

Fri, 05/06/2011 - 11:07

Wondering if I can convert this to be a snazzy potty step stool. Our potty is too high off the floor for my two year old to go without help. It would be wonderful to have this minus two sides to give her the assistance to get on the potty and have a rail to hold on to. Hmmmmm *wheels spinning* ! Thoughts?!?!

Kat (not verified)

Thu, 08/18/2011 - 21:19

I have the Learning Tower for my 4 year old. We've had it for about 2 years. My husband initially was very upset I spent so much money on it, but within three days told me it was one of my best purchases! We literally use it constantly--in the kitchen she helps us cook, make playdough, wash dishes, anything at the counter. SO I'm excited to see these plans! I'd say the only drawbacks to the original Learning Tower are the price tag and the fact that you can't fold it up and its not the easiest thing to move from place to place (counter to sink, etc.). You have solved all of these issues with your plans! I am SOOOO making one (or more--gifts for nephews?)! Thank you!

In reply to by Guest Jess (not verified)

loniwolfe

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 21:24

Any type would be fine. Alot of us use the least expensive boards we can get (white wood or pine). But you could buy nicer boards, like cedar, if you planned on staining, not painting. I always buy the pine boards to save money and everything I've built is super sturdy. I built the chesapeake outdoor coffee table and my 350lb dad uses it as a bench. lol.

Angela Williams (not verified)

Tue, 12/27/2011 - 21:57

OMG... can I buy this from someone?! There's no way I can build it, but my 4 year old would LOVE it!