As we’ve been at home pretty much 24/7 for the past few weeks, our assortment of toddler gear has really been put to the test. We live in a very small space, so every major item we get has to be carefully considered with the hope it will be useful for a long time. Overall, we’ve been focused on finding things that are sized for Nori (currently 20 months) and geared toward helping her be more independent. Read on for our most used items!
1. A Simple Gadget For Hand Washing
Munchkin Faucet Extender (also at Target)
We love this! As Nori has been getting too heavy for me to lift up numerous times a day, this helps her reach the water on her own to wash hands while supervised (on a step stool).
This model stood out as it’s adjustable, easily removable, and works on a variety of faucet types. It’s also dishwasher-friendly for easy cleaning!
2. A Sturdy Toddler Learning Tower / Stool
Nori probably spends half her day on this thing. She loves popping up to counter height to eat a snack, watch or “help” us prep meals, or even just to read or play with her toys on our bar counter. There’s something about being able to climb up and down on her own to be at our height level that she can’t get enough of.
Note: anti-slip furniture pads like these are a necessary safety addition if you have hardwood or tile floors.
You can also use this in the bathroom for hand washing and teeth brushing. There are many toddler tower options out there, so here were some factors we considered:
Is the height adjustable? Some designs can adjust to different levels to grow with your child and make reaching the counter easier/safer. This is especially important if you’re shopping for a younger (like 18-24 months) or shorter toddler.
Does it have a back bar? Some are just step stools with side rails and don’t have the back safety bar on the top platform. Of course, always still use supervision with use of any stool or tower.
How will I store it? Make sure to note the dimensions of the tower base and check how it’d look in your home. Some towers are foldable, but we opted for one that has a smaller footprint at the base rather than foldability, because we expected this to get constant use.
Since we have a small kitchen, I usually keep Nori’s toddler tower across the bar counter (where bar stools typically are) so that we are face to face.
3. A Fun & Efficient Bath
Infant Tub: From the time she could sit up (about 6 months) to about 14 months, Nori used this smaller inflatable tub (not pictured) as her everyday tub.
Toddler Tub: When things got cramped in the infant tub, we transitioned to this toddler tub (also sold here) which is much more spacious, but still only half the size of our bathtub. She absolutely loves it, and we like that it uses less water and is light & portable.
The downside is it came with a strong plastic-y odor so I cleaned it well using rubbing alcohol and let it air outside first.
4. A Small-Space Crib
Babyletto Mini Crib (also at Target)
Well, two years later we’re still in our ~850 sq foot condo, and this Babyletto mini crib has been such a space saver! It’s fairly light, has wheels, and is foldable for storage. There are two height settings for the mattress platform as your little one grows. Nori used this from about 6 months til now (20 months, 34 inches long) and it’s getting to be a pretty “cozy” fit lengthwise but she’s still comfortable in it. Several of our small space neighbors used this mini crib til age 2, and I think we’ll do the same.
5. A High Chair That Grows With Them
We liked this chair starting when she was about 8 months (in hindsight, would’ve gotten the cushion insert for even earlier months), and even more so now. It’s “grown” with her as the footrest has been lowered a couple notches over the past year.
This is a nice divided suction plate we like that fits on the tray perfectly! Also, see this post for my tip on getting food odors out of silicone and see my baby feeding post for getting started on solids.
6. A Comfy Book Nook
Most of Nori’s things are intermixed with ours, so we wanted to give her a defined space that was her own. She loves cozying up with milk or books on her mini couch.
We also always get questions on this bookshelf. While some may prefer shelves that display books with covers facing outwards, this way is a space saver, and she hasn’t had any problem identifying books by the spine.
See my recent post on some of our favorite toddler books!
Note: At first, books that didn’t get put back vertically would fall through the slats (potentially onto toes), but as her motor skills have improved, it’s no longer a problem.
7. Honorable Mention: Play Kitchen
Nori was ecstatic about this when we first got it, but these days spends more time either on her toddler tower or by her bookshelf. Since this is a larger piece, we’re at least glad it also functions as a storage cabinet for some toys, but the doors take a bit tugging to open.
What toddler gadgets or items can you not live without? Let me know in the comments below!