When your baby starts learning to crawl -- which usually happens between 6 and 10 months -- he may struggle to get traction. His legs may flail out under him while he goes nowhere, or he may actually start moving backward. You can buy a crawling track that can help your little one perfect his skills, or you can save your cash and build one yourself. An infant crawling track is a narrow path that is bordered by foam bumpers that gives your baby a place to push off when he is crawling. The track can also be positioned at an incline so that gravity can help your little one get some forward momentum.
Determine how long and wide you want your track to be. The track should be narrow enough that your baby can push off on the sides but not so narrow that he is cramped. Some commercially available infant crawling tracks are 19 inches wide and approximately 47 inches long. If you don't have enough room in your home for that length, you can make the track shorter.
Measure and cut your plywood to the width and length you have settled on, using a circular saw. Remember that the track will be lined with a bumper, so add 4 inches to the width when finalizing your measurements.
Cut a piece of foam or rubber to the same size as your plywood. The foam or rubber should be thick enough to provide some padding on the plywood, but not so thick that it makes the surface pillowy and soft. A 1/2 inch should be sufficient, but you can adjust this to your preferences.
Staple the foam or rubber to the plywood using a staple gun.
Cut a piece of fabric to the size of your plywood, plus 2 inches along the height and the width. Many commercially made crawling tracks use naugahyde, which is a pliable vinyl. You can choose any fabric you like that is not irritating to your baby's skin.
Wrap the fabric around the plywood and staple it to the side that does not have the foam or rubber.
Cut two pieces of 2x4 lumber to the same length as the plywood. These will create the side rails.
Cut two pieces of rubber or foam 10 inches wide and the same length as the side rails.
Staple the rubber or foam to one side of the one-side rail. Wrap it around the piece of lumber and staple it along the other side. Do this for both rails.
Cut two pieces of fabric 11 inches wide and the same length as the side rails.
Staple the fabric on the edge of the rail that does not have rubber or foam. Wrap it around the rail and staple it along the other side of the same edge.
Attach the rails to the plywood track with 1-inch screws. The rails should meet the track at the edge where you stapled the fabric. Screw them on from the underside of the track.
Use foam wedges to elevate the track if you would like.
Items you will need
- Measuring tape
- Circular saw
- 2x4 lumber
- Sheets of foam or rubber
- Staple gun
- 1-inch screws
- Foam wedges
- Always supervise your baby on the crawling track for safety.
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