This prob is the wrong group, but my son was recently diagnosed with a
brain tumor (3 days after his 3rd birthday) and has had surgery and
just last week started his first round of chemo (this will be a long
process). His brain tumor is medulloblastoma which is a malignant
tumor that affects balance in addition to other areas. He needs
physical therapy but doesn't work well with the therapists and I would
like to make him what he needs at home. He needs steps that go up - a
bridge to walk across - and steps that go down again (he needs to pick
up puzzle pieces at one end and put them in the puzzle at the other
end. The steps in the therapy room are only about 3 inches deep (step
to step) and about one foot of step...and there's 8 up and 8 down.
Not sure if that's that important. I also need to make him a balance
beam (I think I can do that on my own - they want 80 for one at the
Thanks for any help that you can give me.
His carepage is at www.carepages.com and search for johnathondoerr if
you'd like to see it.
So sorry to hear that Teri. For you question, this group is as close as any
since you ask how to build something.
Clarify for me? 3 inches up and 1 foot or so across? It's ok if not used
to building things with the words we use here, but with a 3YO I kinda
suspect you meant 3 inches up/down and 8-12 inches across. This would mean
the top of the structure is about 24 inches high (8 steps worth). Otherwise
you'd have a structure 8 feet tall if you meant 12 inches up/down!
Main problem is going to be 'where to put it'. You do not mention your
climate or house size but to make it 12 inches across where the foot goes,
and 16 of them plus a bit of a bridge, then room for a puzzle of some sort
at each end, you are gonna need a very big room. 24ft *minimum* but could
be along the wall of a big room? Best would be outdoors if your climate
allows for it. (Could actually be rather nice looking over a brook or
something like a plastic fish pond).
Worst case scenario, has to be inside and no way to get 24ft run. You'll
have to go with fewer than 8 steps then with 1x5 (or 1x6) inch boards. You
will not find a precut stringer for a 3 inch rise.
That link shows what a stringer is and how to cut one. I think in your case
though, some 2x4 wood cut to supports (up/down legs) with another 2x4
longways to tie them all together firmly would work better and be easier.
Using 2x4, Cut 8 pieces (4 per step) at 1 inch less than the total rise of
the step. First set will be but 2 inches, next will be 5 inches, then ,
then 8, 11, 14, 17, 21, 24 (check my math, each should be 3 inches taller
than last set). Build the 2 bottom supports separately then nail or bolt a
2x4 (could be 1x2 for indoors but it's easier to just stick with one size
and get lots of the same wood), measuring carefully so a 10-12 inch board
piece fits snugly (this will be what he steps on, by your dimensions, 12
| || | side view
I'm no great artist here but the up/down are the 2x4 legs and the across
part is the 12 inch step (or 10 if you think it can be reduced to make it
all fit inside).
When you get to the 5th step, you may want to make a second stabilizer
across it all
(cant figure out how to draw that)
With the proper tools to cut the wood and a ruler, this is actually a pretty
easy project. Once you have the sides made (cheater stringer really), you
just stand them up then with evenly cut steps, nail them down to it. For
the longer center part, just make more of the taller 'legs' and nail more
To add rails, use more 2x4 along the outside to go high enough then angle
cut the top so you can run some railing / (less angled than that) or PVC
pipe might be stable enough if well anchored.
Sand the whole thing down then paint it bright colors appealing to a child
in a shiney paint.
Railroad tie would be perfect. Use angle brackets to bolt this to the floor
or if that isnt a good idea, to some plywood and place it on carpet. The
plywood is to keep it from turning over. X|__ are the shape of the
brackets I am thinking of and the X is the railroad tie. Most garden stores
Hope this helps! Kinda fun to type up. How big is the biggest space you
have to use?
Tough break for the kiddie and his folks--sorry to hear it. :(
Good luck w/ treatment and the rehab...
Others have already talked about the size problem but one would presume
it could be cut down some altho as somebody else noted, perhaps the
pro's know better or it may just be they have the resources and room.
For making something, albeit probably somewhat smaller, I'd suggest you
could make the stringers by cutting them out of 3/4" ply and then make
the stringers w/ 1X boards since a 3-yr old won't need much weight
support. It wouldn't be too difficult to do that w/ just a jigsaw or
handsaw and be lighter than 2X stuff.
Sorry took so long to reply. As far as his therapy - it was their
recommendation to do it at home and the only steps we have are narrow
spiral. We could use the exercise stepper (single plastic step) and I
have been using that - she gave me a list of items I needed - a 4"
thick tumbling mat, a huge ball, a balance board, a balance beam
along with others. Because of his age and the treatment, they don't
want us at the therapy center any more than we need to be as his
counts will be dramatically impacted resulting in needing transfusions
every couple weeks, etc. They need me to keep his musle tone up and
gave me the instructions on what to do. They have a 1 acre play yard
and we live in TX so we can be outside most of the year. I am also
doign the foam blocks for inside - his treatment will be longer than 1
year and we're unsure how much he'll lose because of radiation. They
want him working daily on doing his therapy = but making it a game -
he has a brother thats only 16mo older so he "helps" me by
participating in the play. I called and there were only 4 steps up
and 4 steps down - I just couldn't rememb er.....
Thank you so much for all your replies and words of wisdom.
Much easier to manage there. I think with only 4 steps, I'd just use
2ftx2ft 'stepping stones' which come in 3 inch depths and make some fairly
thick 'slipcovers' for them of blankets and such. These could be moved
about to provide variety which he needs to maintain interest. In dry
weather, can be used outside too.
You can probably find something like this in firm foam as well?
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.