We live off-grid and make pretty much everything we need. Together we built our home from scratch; our electricity comes from the wind and sun; we catch rain water in tanks we build; we raise a large part of our own food. The kids love this life, especially planting gardens, weeding, looking after the animals and gathering food from the wild for both us and the animals.
When Leo was two, he was awed by swings. Every time we'd go to the city, we were obliged to spend a considerable amount of time at a park, playing on the slides and swings. And when we got home, he would repeatedly ask to go back to the “city swings”. So, when we couldn't play outside due to gale force winds one day, we decided it was the perfect time to make him his own swing. It took us about 30 minutes to build, using things we had around the place, and he never seemed to tire of it. However, having helped build it and acted as our test-dummy, he regards it as "his" swing and is sometimes reluctant to share it with his little brother!
Step 1: Materials
- a 42” length of 3/8” rebar
- 2 x ¼” chain quick links (150+ lb)
- 2 x 3/8” chain quick links (150+ lb)
- 2 pieces of ¾” hose or tubing, each about 18” long (the tube must be wide enough for the chain to pass through it easily)
- 2 pieces of 3/16” chain (150+ lb), the lengths of which depend on how tall the object (tree, ceiling beam, etc.) where the swing will be attached.
Step 2: Tools
- duct tape
- tape measure
- crescent wrench
- 2' steel wire
(metal punch, hammer, channel locks or vice)
Step 3: Swing Seat
- Place your toddler inside the jeans. You want the waistband to come to above his/her waist, but not up to his/her armpits. If needed, fold and sew the crotch to reduce where the waistband comes to.
- Bend the rebar into a rough circle, with the two ends overlapping each other about 5”. You want the rebar to keep the jeans well open, but not stretched too taut.
- Feed the rebar through the belt loops of your jeans. Make sure the belt loops are securely sewn, as this is the part of the swing that is weakest.
- Wrap duct tape several times around where the two ends of the rebar overlap (you may want to unbutton and unzip your jeans to make this easier).
Step 4: Chains
- Place one end of a 3/8” chain quick link through one leg of the jeans and around the rebar, bunching up the fabric inside the chain link. Leave the chain link open.
- Tie the steel or baling wire through a link of the chain and feed the wire through one piece of hose or tubing. With the wire pull the chain through the tubing until the end of the chain appears at the other side of the hose (this will require either two people or tying the wire off to something sturdy so that you can pull against it). Untie the steel wire.
- Put the end of the chain into the open chain quick link. Tighten the chain quick link with a crescent wrench.
- Repeat steps 1 through 3 for the other chain on the other side of the jeans.
- Put each chain over the thing (tree branch, rafter) from which you will suspend your swing. Attach each chain to itself using the ¼” chain quick link. Tighten the chain quick link with a crescent wrench. Tie any extra chain to itself in a knot for added security.
- Put weight on the swing to assure yourself everything is secure and safe (it should hold an adult's weight easily), and then try it out on your toddler.
- This swing is very safe, but still don't leave your toddler unattended. He/she should hold on to the hose/tubing handles at all times.