Among other things, I'm also a proud father of a 3yr old boy.
The kid has a lot of toys, all kind, and he loves playing with them. I wanted to create a kind of environment that will combine all of these types, and in the process make something that he didn't have already.
So, the idea of creating a play playground was born. I really don't know if it is an official term already, but the meaning is a playground for the toys :)
Step 1: The Blueprint
The first thing is the planning. I really wanted the following things in the playground:
- A road for the cars
- Bridge and tunnel
- Duplo bases - the kid has a lot of duplo, I wanted him to use it seamlessly.
- Muddy puddles - for Peppa pig figurines
- An area for tracktors
- "Lumber" and acorns to load on the tracktors
- A rock mountain
- A hut
All thing has to be accessible from the floor and fold able.
First I draw everything on a piece of cardboard and figured a way to have it folded.
As you can see on the picture: the center piece is a 2ftX1ft.
The side pieces are 2ftX2ft and the six small pieces are 2ft by 6in.
Then I went shopping. I sources everything from Home Depot, Michaels and ebay, here is a partial list:
- 5/8 Plywood for the main frame.
- 4" PVC pipe
- Paint stirrers
- 2 Duplo bases - 5-7$ of ebay
- green and brown felt - Michaels
- door hinges
- gorilla glue
- 3M77 - spray glue
- scrap black foam
- tree branch
I'm assuming that you have the basic tools like a drill and a dremel tool and of course imagination :)
Step 2: The Frame
The pictures are really self explanatory.
First, all of the plywood pieces are assembled together using door hinges, I've made cut outs for them with dremel. I wanted the plane to be as flat as I can and also it will have to be folded.
Then, the center piece is raised on 4 wheels, also two wheels are attached on each side piece, to make it flat when unfolded.
The 6 remaining pieces (2ft by 6 in) serve as ramps for the vehicles to come up.
This is really my understanding of the final product, but the intention here is to set up a guidelines which could be used with different dimensions or intentions - have fun :)
Step 3: Dry Fit the Tunnel/bridge and Glue the Felt
Once the frame is done and the schematics is transferred, I've cut the tunnel from a 4" PVC pipe.
I dry fitted it before the felt was applied, just to cut the slits for it.
Once the slits were cut, I've used 3M77 spray to glue on the green felt on top of the frame. Due to the size, It was done in two pieces and additional patches were needed.
After the felt was applied, I glued the PVC pipe. Just make sure you cut the felt from the slits before you glue in. You really want it to stick to the plywood and not the felt.
Step 4: Muddy Puddles and the Rock Mountain
Muddy puddles were cut out from brown felt and glued over with 3M77.
I've asked my wife to cut the actual puddles, this is why it is so neat.
The mountain was more interesting but very messy.
First I've decided on a place and removed the felt from it. Then used several bolts for the rocks to glue onto.
Next I took a PVC pipe leftover and did a longitudinal slit in it, so it can be popped oped later on. This will be our mold for the mountain
Next, I mixed the rocks with gorilla glue and put it all inside the pipe.
Here I made a mistake, I first washed the dirt from the rocks and mixed the with glue right after this. I know that gorilla glue reacts positively with water, but I did not expect it to foam so much :)
Eventually I needed to scrap off the glue from the rocks in order to reveal them a little, it was messy and frustrating, but finally worked out.
If I was doing it all again, I would let the rocks dry before the mix and probably would use less glue.
Step 5: Finishing the Tunnel and Adding Roads
I've added two more pieces of PVC pipe to the tunnel/bridge just to make them more fluent.
The roads went right over and in it. The roads were 3.5" wide, are made of black foam, glued with gorilla and bolted in. The roads continue up to the ends of the ramps, to make sure that cars can go right over them.
Step 6: Additional Touches
I've added a corner with saw logs, for the figurines to play. This is a simple log which I saw with miter saw to pieces. The pieces are bolted and glued together to form kind of steps.
Finally, the hut was added. I've used paint stirrers. Package of 10 stirrers is just 0.99$!, this is quality wood for these purposes. Also, one package was sawn for the lumber for the tracktors.
Two food boxes were added, one holds the "lumber" the other one acorns with rocks. This is loaded on tracktors and trucks.
Duplo bases are simple bolted in, just make sure you use the thick type, in this was the bolts heads won't interfere with the added pieces.
Step 7: Enjoy the Final Product
Well, it is really not for me to enjoy, but I did :)
Probably the biggest challenge was building it while the kid tried to play on it during the construction :) But he was in the clouds once it was finished and he could fully enjoy it.
This playground quickly became the center of our living room with all the toys on top and playing constantly.
Let your imagination go crazy.