Wednesday, February 20, 2013

DIY Balance Beam: Henry's Birthday Presents

Since we're on a tight budget as I harped on earlier in the week, we wanted to be super-conscious about not spending too much on Henry's birthday presents. Honestly, this occasion is the first time I've felt truly compelled to commemorate a holiday with presents for Henry. We did make him a board book for his 1st birthday, but that was more for sentimental reasons rather than the fact that Henry actually appreciated or enjoyed opening a present on his birthday. 

But now he's clearly at a stage where he enjoys opening presents, and we wanted to give him the opportunity on his birthday. I thought long and hard about what would be a meaningful and memorable (as well as inexpensive!) present, and I came up with the idea to make him a balance beam for the backyard (inspired by the one our friends made for their daughter, Ruby). It felt perfect for so many reasons, including:
  1. Henry loves to try and balance on things (curbs, parking spot bumpers, etc.).
  2. Henry loves "practical life" experiences like cooking, cleaning, gardening, etc. I thought it would be cool to give him an entire experience for his birthday (i.e., going to Home Depot, picking out the wood, bringing it home, watching the saw, using a hammer to hit the nails, etc.).
  3. I imagined it would be cheap to buy a plank of wood, a base of wood, and some nails.
While it remains to be seen whether he will enjoy using it, reasons #2 and #3 are definitely true. Henry had so much fun at the home improvement store and participating in the creation of his backyard balance beam. Plus, it was even cheaper than I imagined. We bought a 2x4 piece of pressure treated decking for about $4. Then we looked around for really sturdy blocks of wood to raise the beam off the ground. We struggled to find anything that would work well, and then I spotted a piece of scrap wood in the trash can at Home Depot. Score! We spent another $4 on a box of long nails. 

I also wanted to give him something to open, so I ordered two books about machines (he's fascinated, and I don't know the proper vocabulary words to help him name them in the real world), and I'm going to wrap up a book about butterflies that has been in the closet (we stop to look at the real butterflies in the flowers outside our house every time I pick up Henry from school in the stroller and we walk home). Altogether, the books cost about $12 (and I used our Discover Cashback bonus on Amazon). 

So for a total of $20, Henry got to build a balance beam for the backyard and add three books to his collection!

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ALICE said...

What a fun gift! My son is still a newborn and I'm already making lists of what to get him for birthdays and Christmases to come. A little crazy no? But this is def one for the list!

Catoctin Mountain Mama said...

I love this idea. Both my parents are cabinet-makers, so they have tons of extra pieces of wood lying around. I was planning on building a balance beam out of some tree stumps cut very short for next year. But, this will be perfect for now. Thanks for sharing.

13bees said...

such a sweet idea! I bought our girls a garden (built, installed and planted for $169!) via groupon so it will (hopefully) be easy to convince the grandparents to gift gardening supplies this year rather than clothing and stuffed animals :/

BB said...

I've bought a lot of books over the years at the library book sale. They sell all the books they don't have room for, and they usually have heaps of kids' books. I think kids need a lot of different kinds of books over time, and hope the budget isn't getting in the way of that.

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