If you ever find yourself wondering what to do next with your high energy toddler, this game could come in handy. All it needs is 3-4 colored crayons and 4′ x 2′ of space.
Draw some colored circles on the floor (Squares work too). Be sure to keep it symmetric on at the least one axis to keep it simple. Toddlers can imagine mirroring more easily than rotation.
Stand in any of the circles and make your kid stand in the opposite one of the same color. You are all set! The rest is best explained through this video –
It is easy to add more complications. Adding more circles is one way of doing it. One can add different shapes too. Encourage your toddler to memorize the color-position association so that he/she need not look before taking a jump. The memorization helps to train spatial memory.
My daughter is nearly 3 years old now. When she was about 2yrs old, I noticed something very interesting. She had been barely walking for 15 months and now here she was, trying to balance herself on a narrow divider that divides the garden and the walking area. The divider was just as wide as her feet and about one foot tall (one foot is a lot when your whole height is ~85cm). She did not progress much before she called out for my help, but the courage that she demonstrated in just going ahead and trying it out put me into thought. I had to do something to let her be more adventurous, yet safe. Incidentally, Radhika (my better-half) had found a great carpenter. I quickly designed something that was inspired by the ramp walk obstacle in the obstacle coarse we had at school (It’s another of those Sainik School things that non-Ajeets may need more explanation on. Don’t bother). The carpenter quickly got on with his job, and in less than a week from conceptualisation we got this –
The experiment proved very successful. Within a week, Anu could go end to end –
She fell innumerable number of times before getting to this stage, but thanks to some cheering, she kept trying. Once she mastered walking, as expected she started challenging herself; Running, turning around, jumping in place, jumping forward and a lot more. More importantly, the beam provided her a platform to fail over and over again, overcome her fear and succeed. For those who are interested in replicating the setup, the material used is Indian teak and here are the dimensions –
Take care to round all corners. The one that we made is sturdy enough to support an 80Kg adult. Do test thoroughly before letting your kid try it.
I became a father on 22-Apr-2014. As per the prevailing superstitions in India, one is not supposed to shop for a cradle till the baby is born (Nobody mentioned anything about making one 🙂 ). I made part of the hammock ready before the d-day. Got rest of the act together in a couple more days. My princess loves it. Cumulative effort including this documentation was about 6hrs (The 6hrs don’t come easy as babies keep everyone busy all the time)
First find a suitable place. Make sure the hook is strong enough and well supported. Hang S-links from the hook so that regular links can be then added.
Secure the S-links.
Add as many links as necessary to get the right length. If necessary, add a ring at the end of the links to connect to the springs.
Add springs. Choice of the springs is the most important part of the hammock. The effective spring constant has to be such that the assembly stretches neither too less nor too much. A good rule of thumb – A stretch of 15 cm with about 5 kgs of load gives decent results (Natural frequency of about 2Hz with a 3Kg newborn which will drop down to about 1.4Hz in 4 months when the baby will be about twice the birth weight). Pune being an auto-hub, made my life easy. I got these automobile springs within 10 minutes of search.
Make sure the springs are secured properly.
You may want to add one more ring at the end to connect to the hammock hanger.
Since it concerns babies, it is better to put in some safety measures. The springs are the weakest link in the design. To be prepared for contingency, additional flex cables can be used to connect the top and bottom ring. The flex cable length should be such that there is no tension in the cable under normal circumstances, but when the springs fail, the cables should hold.
Find some hanger like component to hold the hammock. I found this nice hanger shaped steel rod. Use some thread to secure the hanger to the ring.
Use a nice cloth to cover up the not so nice looking mechanics. It is important to uncover the cloth and inspect the whole system atleast once in a week.
Tie the hammock securely. I used an old Saree. Old, used cotton Sarees are specially soft.
This is how it should look..
The hammock is ready for action!!
But wait! Use atleast 10kgs to test the whole structure for 1-2 hours. Place the baby only after thorough testing.
The results seem good. My princess sleeping peacefully…