Adult Johnny Jumper





Introduction: Adult Johnny Jumper

About: I like making things out of items that would have otherwise been discarded. Check out my other projects!

This is largely a proof-of-concept project to create a device for people with disabilities to use for exercise per friendorphobia's request.  Their mother loved dancing and hated the leg lifts and arm circles that were prescribed as "exercise" in the later years of her life.

"You know those baby exercisers that hang in the doorway - I think they are called Johnny Jump-Ups. They suspend the baby by elastic cords, and the baby can jump and kick without falling. I would think there would be a way to make something like that for an adult invalid, to support her or his body weight while allowing them to move to the music."

So here is my low-cost and low tech stab at a device to help with some mobility support.

Step 1: Materials

You'll need a few specialty items for this project.
  • A harness - Depending on their mobility abilities you might want a full body harness.  Just about any harness could work.  I didn't have my climbing harness but had this arborist harness.  I think a harness like the Black Diamond Alpine Bod would work well because of the ease of putting the leg straps on.  The nice thing about the harness I used is that it is designed for hanging on the harness for a long period of time.  However it is designed for a seated position.
  • A large ring - I used a three foot diameter ring from a clothing store rack.  You could construct a square or triangle out of lumber but I had this salvaged piece kicking around. 
In addition you'll need an assortment of things from your local bike shop, hardware store, or outdoor goods store.
  • 6-8 similar diameter inner-tubes from bicycles (these could be old ones with little damage.)
  • 3 or more fairly large carabiners, snap links, or threaded connectors
  • 20 feet or more of webbing, rope or cable.
  • Ceiling attachment rig - perhaps a large eyebolt into a beam, or a length of webbing tied around a beam.  Perhaps with a swivel.  Or, this could be replaced with a structure attached to casters that would allow for more mobility. 
Many of the materials you're shopping for will say on them that they are not for lifting or hauling.  Use some common sense here.  Many of those disclaimers are so people don't try towing a car or taking on some other task with massive forces involved. 

Step 2: Attach the Inner Tubes

I used three inner tubes on each side.  But you may need more or less depending on the weight of the person using it.  I found the six provided a decent amount of elasticity for me at 200 pounds.  A smaller diameter inner tube than the 1.75 size will probably need more.  You'll want an even number for best balance unless you're using three points of attachment. 

Just take the inner tubes and fold them in half around the ring.  Use a large carabiner or snap ring to connect them.  I had to do them one or two at a time to pass the gate.

Step 3: Attach the Webbing

Use equal loops of tubular webbing, rope, or cable to suspend the ring from the ceiling (or this step could also be construction of a stand for the ring to hang from).  Use a water knot to make the loop in the webbing. Then use the girth hitch to attach the webbing to the ring.

Step 4: Suspend the Seat

For my test I just hung it from my porch beam.  Unfortunately that's at only 6 feet high so the level was about two feet lower than it would have been if it had been hung from something inside.  And since the harness I used was designed for a seated position it wasn't optimal to demonstrate the possibilities of dancing or other standing movement.  But this did work really well for pivoting, swaying from side to side, and bouncing. 

Despite the photographic evidence, I did not need to use my hands to balance in the seat - only when I intentionally leaned back.  I am certain that if this was mounted higher and also had a climbing harness that it would have been very easy to stand up with the support necessary.

I could swivel my hips from side to side, bounce with my legs, rock back and forth and otherwise get jiggy without having to support my full weight on my legs.  With the harness I used, some balance or upper body strength would be best but with a "three point" or full body harness and a little more rigging it would also be quite useful.

One of the first jobs that I had when I got out of college was to provide recreational services for people with disabilities.  We worked with downhill and cross-country skiing, canoeing and kayaking but never with dancing.  I have close friends that work with people with disabilities today and have sleds for use with hockey, have wheelchair basketball leagues and hand-cycle mountain bikes at their disposal... and I hope that a simple contraption like this will allow for some with less adventurous interests to live a more active an healthy life!

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    43 Discussions

    Thanks, sir! I was looking for something like this to bounce with our 8 month old. I make metal circus gear, so I already have 10 of the rings in back stock. And of course I have everything else for rigging. Done!

    I have been looking for ages for a larger size jolly jumper for my little granddaughter who has a rare chromosome disorder she is three and loves her baby jolly jumper as she loves being able to move but unfortunately it is too small for her now I will give my son a copy of this to see if he can make a version for her to use any advise would be welcome she weighs 15kilo and is 98cm long thanks Lyn

    I have a nephew with cp and his 8th birthday is coming up and I always make him a gift and now I figured out this years thank you

    Oh my god I love this! I remember how much fun those were when I was younger.

    this is so funny! i always envied those little babies who got to bounce in those johnny jumpers! now us adults can have a crack at that bouncin fun product!


    Really awesome idea! I worked with Developmentally Disabled and had some limited mobility paraplegics that would have LOVED this item!
    Thru that association I thought of what my assistants used to transfer Wheelchair bound people in our was called a Hoyer Lift (trademark name, I think) and it had just the right sort of sling to put the client in and lift them from the chair to baths, commodes, etc. I am certain these slings are available at Hospital supply stores, as they do wear out and the lift mechanism is something that lasts forever (I have the one that a Grandparent had for our home use-now put to good use elsewhere). It has been a number of years and I do not remember How the sling attaches to the client, however-I think it was buckled. Might look at one of these and see if it serves the purpose!

    1 reply

    We got a jolly jumper for my sons.
    Best. Baby. Toy. EVER.

    If you ever need a gift idea for new parents, get them one. They are freakin' awesome! The only downside is that they're too small for adults... until now!

    I work in childcare in Australia where we are expressly forbidden from using them. Too many kids with greenstick fractures of the legs, feet and ankles :-( I love the idea of an adult one, though :-)

    I used one with both my kids, but I set it up so their feet didn't touch the floor (specifically to avoid green stick fractures) They still had a lot of fun. I used it as a little swing for them. I'd love an adult one too.

    Hmmm... I've never heard it called that. And both seem to be trademarked names for products that are marketed that do the same thing. I like Jolly better because it is asexual.

    I think the one we had when Zieak was a baby was a "Johnny Jump Up" - he probably doesn't remember using it...

    Actually, the brand of this that we bought for our sons (both of them had one) was called "Johnny Jump-Up."

    anybody remember the set-up that the spy master had in (and i think the show was the "avengers") the ceiling was covered with hanging short springs with knobs or handles. my legs have always been lemons and the idea of being able to swing monkey bar style anywhere in the house has been a dream of mine. no need for wheel chair traffic lanes or crutches.

    Oh, cool, you did get this done! I had seen you discussing it earlier but didn't see the ible.

    My wife recently learned about a track that some elderly or disabled people have that runs along the ceiling, allowing them to be moved from bed to places like the shower etc. Now I can't remember the name of it. Anyway this would be an interesting add on to that.

    3 replies

    Ah they are actually really common. I worked for a short period in a hospital spinal ward where most of my patients were para or tetrapelgics, and we mainly used them. They are called a Ceiling Hoist, though specific names may change with brands. They use a full sling, usually that holds them in by wrapping around the legs and fully supporting their back, neck and head. They don't use supports like this- a rock climbing harness- cause they would cause skin tears.

    Ceiling hoists are mainly used for bed to arm chair, shower chair or wheel chair. Though you can have some that move throughout the house, they are alot more expensive and dangerous (The patient swings around a bit, and with two people already assisting with the hoist it would be hard to get them through tight doorways or halls.

    But all my patients that managed to go home had one installed in their bedroom so they had alot more freedom. Luckily with the aussie health care system most of the costs are covered, I can't guess how much it would cost in other countries though...

    My grandparents had one of those tracks installed when my grandmother was limited to a wheelchair in the later years of her life. I don't know what that harness system was like though.

    I'm trying to remember how it went - it had something that went under her armpits and then "L" shaped metal pieces that slipped under her legs - I don't know what brand it was, but from using it with her, I don't think it would suit this purpose.