Helper stands allow a toddler to help cook food, wash...

Helper stands allow a toddler to help cook food, wash dishes, and, in this case, have a pre-meal snack.

Toddlers love to help, especially in the kitchen. The trouble is, their version of helping is often a bit messy, and that is compounded by the fact that toddlers’ small size makes it difficult for them to mimic the adults they see doing exciting things like chopping broccoli, draining pasta and peeling carrots.

But today’s toddler has an equalizer -- the helper stand, which is also sometimes called a toddler stand or safety stand. These architectural marvels allow the little people in our midst the chance to participate in all manner of kitchen activities. The stands, which come in a variety of makes and models, typically include an elevated, enclosed stand that allows a toddler a full range of motion while also helping to prevent falls. Instantly, your vertically-challenged tot can be transformed into your sous-chef.

My wife and I have have a very curious and energetic two-year-old son who likes to be involved in everything we do, so buying a helper stand was a great investment for us. He now helps us make smoothies, assemble fruit salad, mash potatoes (with supervision, of course), and perform other easy culinary tasks. The stand helped him become excited about cooking before he reached two years of age.

These are numerous stands on the market, ranging from make-your-own kits to models that cost more than $200. We use Guidecraft’s “All Grown Up Kitchen Helper Step Stool,” which typically sells for about $150. Other popular models include the “Little Partners Learning Tower Kids Step Stool,” which usually sells for about $200, and the “Up-N-Down Steps” from Jonti-Craft, Inc., which costs about $185. All of these products are available online.


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