La Tela di Carlotta
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Montessori Learning Tower DIY (Laura for Team Mama)

Apr 18, 2016

Laura, a Montessori mum and reader of La Tela, built this DIY learning tower for her son Toli and was so kind as to share how she did it with us for Team Mama.

I’ll leave you in her hands, but first I need to thank her… Oliver loves watching Alex while he cooks so we didn’t waste any time, on Friday we bought all the materials and on Saturday we made our own learning tower.

This is the result.

As you can see from the picture above, we slightly changed Laura’s design, using only four flat bars at the top as to form a frame around the structure. These are the measurements of our bars:

  • 4 square based bars (vertical ones): 40cm long as to reach a total high of 90cm
  • 2 rectangular based bars (front and back): 42cm long
  • 2 rectangular based bars (sides): 24cm long

Update

After two years of using this IKEA DYI learning tower, I’d like to add that: 1. we restored it once by sand-papering the wood, and it became like new; 2. we never had accidents as it’s extremely stable; 3. I especially like the hole on the base where the feet rest, because it’s a great place where to grab to climb up.

Alternative

If you don’t want or don’t have time to build your own (time is also money!), I recommend the Montessori Learning Tower by Woomo that we’re now using for Emily (I picked it among all the other options, and it met all my expectations).


Post by Laura, mum of Toli (17 months)

My son Toli has chronic mamitis, which I love… except when it’s time to cook. Preparing something decent to eat can be a real challenge with a clingy baby pulling of your pants. When looking for a solution, I ran into the Montessori learning tower: it’s a structure that allows the baby to do activities at the same height as the parents and in a safe, independent way. For Earthquake Toli a simple chair wasn’t enough!

My version of it is one of those famous IKEA Hacks and it’s very easy even for someone like me who’s not very handy.

This is what you need:

  • A Bekväm stool, from Ikea
  • Four square-based wooden bars (in my case 39 cm long to match the kitchen countertop. My counter is 89 cm and the IKEA stool is 50).
  • 3 flat (rectangular-based) wooden bars 36 cm long
  • 2 flat wooden bars 24 cm long
  • 14 long screws
  • A drill
  • A screwdriver
  • A saw (if you want to cut the bars yourself, although I recommend you have them cut at the shop. Here in Spain in the bricolage shop Akí they cut them for free if you have the member card)
  • A pencil

In the left picture, you can see all the bars, still to cut, and in the right one the difference between the square-based ones and the flat ones.

Let's get to work!

Assemble the IKEA stool—everything except the upper shelf, the one with the hole in it. Put this shelf upside down, and draw the silhouettes of the square-based wooden bar in each corner of the shelf. Cross the diagonals of each square to find the middle point, like so:

Using a drill bit smaller than the screw we’re going to use, drill those four points, and insert the four screws, which need to be as long as to go through the shelf and into a good part of the wooden bar. Screw the four wooden bars onto them and attach this structure to the IKEA stool. We’ll end up with a structure like in image 1 (below).

At this point, we only have to screw the flat wooden bars in position. I put two on the front, one on the back (the step side) and one on each side, like in picture 2 (or alternatively you can create a frame at the top, like Carlotta did).

Our Montessori learning tower is now ready to be used and enjoyed. Toli loves using the red washing brush to hit a pan or pot. Or often I give him a toy where he has to cut with a knife fruit and vegetables kept together by velcro so he feels like he’s doing the same as me. Or I give him a cloth to clean the countertop or pasta to move from one bowl to the other and back.

And mummy can finally cook in peace!

Tell me what you think

Did you like it? Do you agree or disagree? I'd love to hear from you.

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The blog

I write mainly about Montessori, parenthood, and multilingualism. Here are some recent posts.

Mums, dads & kids
We don't know how to be parents, we learn it everyday as we go. This is my way of motherhood, the small victories and the bitter defeats, my inconvenient truths and the endless life lessons. And also all the baby products and toys we love the most.
This is life
Audiobooks of real-life stories for kids
Let's not project our insecurities onto our kids
Question authorities
Parents need to be constructively selfish
One more step towards self-acceptance
When you think your marriage is over after kids.
Alex
We forgot our 10-year wedding anniversary!
Yoga is not only the perfection you see online
Montessori
One day a few years ago my husband came home and said, "Why don't we put a mattress on the floor in the baby room? It'd be much more natural". "Never" was my reply. That's how our Montessori journey started. Since then we've been living, breathing and applying the philosophy at home day in and day out, starting from ourselves. Because educating children starts from the parents.
Montessori express: change the sentences into positive
Montessori express: everything is NOT fine
My baby cries desperately in the car (15 months)
Take care of the mother behind the woman
Montessori express: ask instead of correcting
Montessori express: describe instead of criticising
An example of how I practice empathy with my kids
How I show empathy to my children
Happy 4th birthday, Emily
Montessori New Year's tradition
Living sustainably
Living sustainably for me doesn’t only mean to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It means to make decisions that are sustainable for our planet, the people on it, but also for our life, our lifestyle, and our happiness. It means to take any daily chance to evolve and be happier, healthier, kinder, more responsible and more caring human beings—the only sustainable way for a meaningful future.
Face yoga is an act of self love
Why you should wear the same outfit twice on Instagram
The power of creating habits (and why you should do it, even if you then break them!)
Responsible eating is the diet of the future (Would you like to teach it to your kids?)
The power of NOT complaining: can you do it for a whole month?
Clean up your planet, please!
Infographic: 8 steps to switch to cloth nappies (a guide for reluctant parents)
A personal note on happiness
A personal note on social media
A change of life always widens your horizons
New to La Tela?
I’ve prepared collections on various topics that I’ve written over the years. Perhaps you’ll find one that interests you.

Travel

We sold everything to travel the world for two years. We're currently in New Zealand.

Books

In 2020 I wrote 4 books for the Italian collection “Gioca and Impara con il metodo Montessori” curated by Grazia Honegger Fresco. The collection is a project by Il Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport.

We also implemented the workshops of the last 15 volumes of the collection with Oliver and Emily.

Instagram

I update Instagram almost every day to be "close" to my family far away.

Why La Tela di Carlotta?
I dreamed of the name La Tela di Carlotta. One morning I woke up and in my dreams I had created a blog named just like the American novel (Charlotte's Web). Many years and endless ups and downs later, this web of thoughts and stories is my work. It took me a long time to understand what kind of online presence I wanted and today I know: I'm transparent, I show real life, I don't advertise, I only recommend sustainable brands (and not only because they pay me) and I believe in the value of my blog and my courses—because if we don't believe in the value of our work, no one will believe in it for us.
Carlotta
Carlotta dreaming of La Tela
I know! I don't want it to be over yet either.