While pregnant with my son, I was a complete mad woman; searching high and low for things to make him stand out and be unique and different. He is my first boy after having two girls, so I did not want anything to be typical or boring when it came to him. From his Turkish ‘Kilim’ rug in his nursery to the play gym he was to play within the first few months of babyhood, I wanted to be unique & fresh.
My experience with my daughters taught me that within their first few months of life anything could fascinate their world. Especially since the world seems like such a huge place for them and their curiosity, which is endless apparently. Once again, things I was taught along the way.
I remember myself being eight months pregnant and telling my husband that I wanted to make little ‘Baby M’ his own play gym, hand made and different than the norm. I showed hubby some pictures on Pinterest that were the catalyst for my inspiration and convinced him that it would be a fun little project to embark on.
We agreed and he loved the idea. We took the time to write down the things we needed and draw out simple design plans. We bought what needed buying and used whatever else we needed but had on hand to begin the building process. Some trial and error scenarios later and we finally structured it the way we wanted. I added some handmade little toys and attached them to the play gym.
I felt overwhelmed at first but something as simple as making a play gym does require an inkling of perseverance.
Below is our final product, something simple, handmade and honestly a piece of family history now. I am sure when my son grows older, I will remind him of it; and he will probably nod his head and continue along his way. Nevertheless, it was something I wanted to do, and we did it.
What you will need:
- Four Pieces of Pine (The thickness is to your liking to be honest)
- Dowel Rod (We used a 19mm size rod for this project)
- A Drill
- A Pencil for Measuring & Marking
- A Saw
- A Measuring Tape
- Some Rope (Thin enough to thread through the holes that you will make)
- Some Sandpaper
- A Miter Saw (For angled cuts, or alternatively a saw that allows angled cutting)
Step 1: Begin sawing the pieces of pine to your liking, we did ours at 65cm in height.
Step 2: Mark where you would like to make the holes for the dowel rod to sit in place. We measured at 10cm from the top of the pine.
Step 3: Once step 2 is complete, use this piece as a template for the rest. To ensure perfect measurements.
Step 4: To ensure stability on all surfaces it is best to miter saw the legs of the pine pieces at a 45° angle.
Step 5: Once all the holes have been made make sure to sand down all the edges to make them smooth for baby not to hurt themselves. (We didn’t have a chisel or filer on hand for smoothing out the holes, so hubby came up with the idea of rolling a piece of sandpaper sheet around a wooden pole or just on it’s own to sand in the holes).
Step 6: With a drill, make a hole large enough to feed through your select sized rope approximately 18cm from the foot of each piece of pine. Feed through your rope and tie a knot on the ends to prevent them from coming back through.
Step 7: Assemble the play gym by feeding the dowel rod through the holes you made earlier and place any low to medium hanging toys along it. (Our toys were handmade using organic wood, which may be used later as teething toys.
This project is something that should be unique to you and carries with it a sense of your touch always. Hence why measurements can differ, materials can be customized and changed, and your ideas can flourish through your design to your liking.
Another benefit to this design is the storage option. It can be easily folded up, toys and all and practically stored anywhere because of its flatness.
Would you believe it took a whole two months to receive the do-it-yourself wood beat kit that we ordered? After finishing the play gym though the end results were well worth the wait. We will be switching out the toys as Baby M grows to best suit what attracts him. And honestly you can use any hanging toys you find at baby stores instead of wooden ones. All to your preference.
We video recorded Baby M playing in the gym and hearing his joyful screams and giggles were too adorable. He absolutely loved it.
I hope you enjoy this idea, and maybe put it to use with your own flair. It would make it worthwhile watching the smile on your bub’s faces and a great story to tell them later.