I spent the first half of this year substituting in the high schools around our house and one thing I really hope for Iddo is that she’s in the honors classes in high school because the regular classes are a bit scary. So I’ve wanted to make sure that she gets plenty of cognitive stimulation, especially now that she’s starting to be awake more rather than just eating and sleeping.
We have some toys that are designed to hang from stuff for her to interact with, but nothing to hang them from. I wanted to get an activity gym for her, one like this one – Kushies Shangrila. But they are a bit out of our budget right now. So I looked online to see if anyone had figured out how to make one. I found a few good ideas, but there were things I didn’t like about each of them and places where I saw they could improve their ideas.
For starters, anything we put under Iddo needs to be washable because she spits up a lot. So the tutorial where the polls were sewn permanently to the blanket wouldn’t work. Plus, I’m still finishing the first quilt I’m making for her (two more sides of binding to stitch down). So I didn’t want to have to make another blanket right now. I wanted more flexibility in design than using hula hoops like I saw in one tutorial, so I was glad to read about PEX piping on another one. Then I let it all percolate in my brain while we traveled.
I bought a ten foot length of 1/2 inch PEX piping for $3.22 and pulled out a pair of Brett’s old jeans (yup, this is another “I made it with my husband’s pants” post). And made this, an infant activity gym:
Which doesn’t look like much. We cut the pipe so one piece is the diameter of the pipe longer than the other. I removed the back pockets and the belt loops from the pants and then cut the legs into 18 strips all 1.75 inches wide. And then I sewed them back together with 1/4 inch seams. Because it is denim and I didn’t want to turn roughly 20 feet of fabric tubing, I left the seams on the outside and then frayed them. I like the fuzzy look.
It looks a lot better when it’s all put together.
I put the elastic at the top to hold the pipes together, but because I also sewed the straps together up there it isn’t really necessary. I used the belt loops for the loops to hang the toys from. I’m planning on making a bag to put the whole thing in out of the pockets. The pipes slide in through a slit at the bottom. So the whole thing can come apart for storage/washing.
And I can put any blanket I want on the bottom for her to lay on. Which is great because she’s already spit up on the two we’ve used.
The diagonal on the bottom is about 42 inches across. So a small baby sized blanket fits corner to corner in there while a normal lap sized blanket fits edge to edge (like in the photo above).
And now my child can work on her physical and cognitive development and we only spent $3.22 (not counting the cost of the toys Grandma G got her). We’re working on her budgeting skills real early.
She has seemed to enjoy it when she’s been awake and full enough to play with it as well.