How to Make Push or Pull Toys

Written by kirk maltbee
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Wooden toys were once the only option for tykes and toddlers looking for some playtime. Many of the wooden toys have since been replaced with plastic, stuffed or electronic options, but wooden toys hold a bit of nostalgia for many folks who remember a simpler time. Wooden toys can still be purchased at many stores; however, some people may choose to go the DIY route and make simple push and pull toys themselves.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Poster board
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Wooden planks, 12 inch-by-5 inch, ½ inch thick
  • Jigsaw
  • Sandpaper
  • Electric drill with 3/8 inch bit
  • Wooden plank, 12 inch-by-5 inch, 1 inch thick
  • Clear coat, primer or paint
  • Dowel rod, 3/8 inch thick
  • Wood glue
  • U-shaped nail
  • Hammer
  • Nylon cord or dog leash

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  1. 1

    Draw a basic outline of your intended toy on a sheet of poster board. Your imagination's the limit, but common choices are a train engine or an animal, such as a duck or a puppy. Cut the shape out of the poster board and lay the cutout on your wooden plank.

  2. 2

    Trace around the cutout of the shape to create a visual guideline. Use the jigsaw to cut a wooden shape of the toy from the plank. Sand the edges of the wooden shape to remove any burrs and splinters that would be harmful to little hands.

  3. 3

    Mark the location for the wheels on the shape. For a duck, you'll only need one hole toward the middle of the toy; for a push/pull train engine or a puppy, you'll need a hole toward the front as well as another near the rear. Drill the hole(s) completely through the shape.

  4. 4

    Measure and cut your wheels on the other wooden 1 inch plank. Sand the wheels smooth as you did for the body. Spray all wooden components with clear coat to provide a protective and lasting coat, or prime and paint the wheels and body in the colour of your choice. Allow the paint or clear coat to dry.

  5. 5

    Cut one or two axles from the 3/8 inch dowel rod to 2 inches in length. Thread a rod through each hole you drilled in the body. Drill holes in the centre of the wheels, apply glue to the axles and thread the wheels onto the axle ends sticking out from either side of the body. Allow the glue to dry.

  6. 6

    Hammer a U-shaped nail into the front of the shape, leaving a little space between the curve of the "U" and the wood, and attach either a small cord or a small dog leash to the nail. The cord or leash can be removed if the child wants to push the toy around instead.

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