I first came across the Little Helper FunPod at a friend’s house when my son was still just a bump. I thought then what a good idea it was and now, with a lively toddler running around my feet all day, it seems an even better one. So I was delighted when the lovely Kim, who came up with the idea, agreed to send one over for me to test drive.
Picture this. You are trying to make the dinner. Pots of boiling water are bubbling on the cooker, sharp knives are on the worktops and your little bundle of joy is hanging from your legs wanting to come up and see what all the excitement is about. Well that was me every mealtime – attempting to keep him safe and get the food on the table while feeling guilty the whole time that I was ignoring his attempts for attention.
And then the FunPod arrived. I hate to sound like a PR machine but this thing is truly fantastic. I love it and so does the little man. The idea is simple. The pod is basically a solid wooden box with four feet at the bottom and a removable foot plate that slots into place and adjusts according to your child’s height. The moment we finished putting it together I popped him in, pushed him up to the worktop and he stood there next to me, happily messing about with some playdough and watching me as I made his dinner. The next day, he rushed into the kitchen, saying “FunPod, FunPod” and pushed it across the floor to where he wanted to go.
We have used it every day since. I have him with me stacking plastic cups, stirring bowls with my wooden spoons, or his favourite, transferring handfuls of teabags from the packet into a mug and pretending to make a cup of tea (we drink a lot of tea in our house). It has even become his little den. He sits down at the bottom, playing with a toy or hiding from us, emerging with a big grin and shouting “Peepo”.
It comes in a variety of finishes – white, black, red, buttermilk, maple, natural wood – basically something to suit all decors. Ours is walnut accessorised with Postman Pat stickers. Very fetching.
Here are the downsides. You do need the room in the kitchen. It is a sturdy piece of furniture – it has to be to stop it tipping over. It is fairly heavy although my 22-month-old has no trouble pushing it across the kitchen tiles, and it isn’t cheap. They come in at £112.99 on the Little Helper website (www.littlehelper.co.uk) although you can get it for less elsewhere. It might sound a lot for what is effectively a wooden box but it is well made, safe and it works. Kim and Sean Johnson came up with the idea seven years ago to keep their daughter safe in the kitchen and now their little invention can be found in homes across four continents. There is a reason why some things take off and some don’t, and this thoroughly deserves the success it is enjoying.