Stilts for Small Children

Introduction: Stilts for Small Children

About: Liked to draw and paint when I was growing up. Switched to carving and sculpture in my twenties. Work in wood, stone / marble, plaster, and ceramic clay.

tools and materials

saw, drill, 1 1/8" drill bit, hammer, finishing nails

two,  one inch dowels
two,  pieces of   2 x 4 about 4 1/2 " long
two crutch tips or chair leg tips, 7/8" diameter
wood glue

A   1 1/16"   drill bit would be a little better,
but they can be hard to find, expensive, and not really necessary.
A    1 1/8"  bit is about $6, dowels are about $4.50 and an 8 foot long 2x4 is about $3

Step 1:

Cut the 2x4 to about 4 1/2 inch length.
Cut an angle for looks. I used 45 degrees but it is not important.
Cut the width down to about 2 1/2 inches.

Step 2:

Drill holes for the dowels to go through.
Center the holes at 3/4" in from the end and one side.
A drill press helps but is not necessary.
To avoid tear out, don't drill all the way through.
Go a little more than half way and then turn over to drill form the other side.

Step 3:

Now for the dowels.
Decide on the height of the foot rest.

These kids are five and quite athletic, so I went with 10 inches.
I think that is pretty well the maximum height for this size stilt.

After watching the kids play on them,
I realized that this is very high for small kids to learn on.
A starting height of 3 inches is probably best and later making a pair of higher ones.

Mark the height.
For a foot I used crutch tips.
They are 7/8" so the end of the dowel needed to be sanded down to fit.
Pound the tips on firmly.

Step 4:

Attach the foot rest to the dowel.
Use lots of glue and a couple of finishing nails.
One nailed in from each side should do.
Allow the glue to set for at least 24 hours before giving the kids these things.

The good thing about this design,
is that kids instinctively let go of the handles,
and step off the stilts, when they begin to fall.
This makes it less likely that they will hurt themselves by falling.

On the down side,
they find it harder to learn how to lift the stilt with their hand,
and foot one side.
These are more difficult to master than the ones that attach to the feet.
But I feel they are safer to play with.

Still ... a word of caution...
Parental supervision and putting them away after play would be wise.

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    9 years ago

    Thanks for the post & great timing, just the other day my 3 year old asked for a pair. Best of all, quick and easy.