How To Make Wooden Teeter Totters For Kids (A Fun DIY Project The Fam Will LOVE)

  • A little woodworking skills go a long way with this DIY project 
  • Making a teeter totter for kids is a quick and straightforward task 
  • The tools and materials needed are listed here, plus directions 
  • Before you start on this, read our essential safety tips first

Are you looking for a fun, low-cost way to get involved building something for your kids?

Do you want to put together a teeter totter so your children will be able to have fun playing in the backyard without having to go to the park to find their favorite toy?

Do you have some skill with woodworking and hope to challenge yourself with a DIY project?

If so, you’re in the right place! In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about how to make a teeter totter for your child to play on and enjoy in the comfort of your own backyard. Wooden teeter totters are getting harder and harder to find on playgrounds across the country, but you can give your kids the best possible playtime experience by installing one in your own yard for quick and easy access.

Of course, you do need to know a little bit about woodworking to be able to accomplish this project. However, the how-to guide below is designed for those who are still beginners or have just reached the intermediate stage. You’ll find this project challenging, but you shouldn’t be too stumped by it, and you should be able to complete the task in a relatively short amount of time.

When you want to give your kids something fun to play on that you built with your own hands, or when you just want to feel a little more involved in what your kids are playing with, this project is for you. You’re sure to love how fun it is to build this toy, and your kids will love playing on it for years to come, too!

Tools You'll Use

  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Safety goggles
  • Work gloves
  • Speed square
  • Sander
  • Circular saw
  • Drill bit set
  • Drill
  • Ear protection

Materials You'll Need

  • (2) 2x6x8’ boards
  • (2) 2x4x8’ boards
  • (1) 10-5/8” bolt with nut and four washers
  • 3-inch screws
  • Wood glue
  • (1) 1x8x3’ board
  • (1) 24” dowel

Steps

  • 1
    Cut the following pieces from your wood materials or have the hardware store cut them for you:

    a.) (2) 96” pieces from the 2x4s (A)
    b.) (2) 36” pieces from the 2x6s (B)
    c.) (2) 24” pieces from the 2x6s (C)
    d.) (2) 12” scrap pieces from the 2x6s (D)
    e.) (2) 24” pieces from 2x6s with the ends cut at 30 degrees (E)
  • 2
    Position both B pieces so that they are parallel with both C pieces in the center, about 4-3/4” apart from each other. The distance from one end of the long base pieces to the nearest center upright piece should be 14-1/8”.
  • 3
    Use several screws per each side to connect the uprig​hts to the base pieces.
  • 4
    Attach the 30-degree cut side supports to either end of the long base pieces using wood glue and screws. Ensure that they’re evenly placed on both sides.
  • 5
    Sandwich the scrap pieces between two 8-foot 2x4s and attach firmly with plenty of screws and wood glue.
  • 6
    In the center of the 8-foot 2x4s, drill a 5/8” hole.
  • 7
    Cut evenly-sized scrap pieces of wood to form the seats of your seesaw. These should be about 17” long and just slightly wider than the two main seesaw beams side by side.
  • 8
    Place washers on either side of the uprights and line up the bolt holes. Pass the bolt through to connect the seesaw.
  • 9
    Drill a hole in the handle pieces and pass the cut dowel rod through to form a handle. Glue and bolt the handles in place on either side.
  • 10
    Use screws and wood glue to attach the seats to either side of the seesaw.

    a.) Optionally, you may want to use wood glue to attach seat cushions or rubber to the seats to protect your kids when they play.

Fill in all holes with wood filler, then sand, paint, and finish the seesaw.

Safety Tips

  • Always double-check the seesaw before your kids use it. This means you need to build a seesaw that’s safe enough for adults to use, and you and another adult will need to test it out thoroughly before you let your kids play on it for even a moment. If the seesaw isn’t strong enough to withstand the weight of a child, it definitely isn’t going to work for an adult, so it’s very important for you to give it a try beforehand. Besides, it’s fun!
  • When in doubt, always use extra screws and wood glue to put your project together. Yes, it might look a little bit less professional this way, but having extra screw holes showing is surely better than causing any risks for your kids when they play on your DIY project. And there’s no reason why you can’t fill in and paint over those holes so they won’t be all that noticeable anyway. Remember that, no matter what you’re building for your kids, safety is always the number one concern you need to keep in mind!
  • Last but not least, take care to place your seesaw somewhere that your kids won’t get hurt if they fall off of it. Ideally, you should place it over some wood chips or a rubber mat, or some other type of playground cover. You may be able to get away with putting it over sand or over the ground depending on how soft your yard is, however. Remember, too, that you should put a cushion in place on the seats if at all possible so your kids won’t get jostled around too much when they’re playing. Stoppers under the seats can help this, too.

Conclusion

So how do you feel about building your own teeter totter now? It’s not too hard to put together a great wooden teeter totter for your little ones to play on and enjoy, but be sure you set aside plenty of time to work on the project so you won’t get overwhelmed or frustrated. You may also want to have another adult on hand to help you out as needed, although this isn’t necessarily a requirement, depending on your level of skill working with the tools involved in this project. Don’t forget, too, that it’s always important to have all your tools and materials ready and within quick and easy reach before you get started so you won’t forget a step or overlook something important.

When you follow the steps outlined above, you’ll be able to give your kids a seesaw they’ll want to play on again and again for many years to come. Don’t forget to paint it in a great color that matches your child’s other backyard play equipment, or even consider letting the kids get involved with the paint job when the time is right. You might end up with a completely one-of-a-kind DIY teeter totter painted lovingly with little handprints to treasure and enjoy!

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