Posts tagged "playpen"

How can I reuse or recycle baby stair gates and play pens?

We’ve had an email from Karen:

How can I recycle a baby cot, stair gate and play pen?? Cant bear to throw them away but seems difficult to give away!!

It doesn’t have to be difficult to give them away – join your local Freecycle/Freegle group, post an “offer” message and chances are someone will come to collect it from your house, at your convenience, within a few days if not hours (or post an ad on GumTree [like Craig’s List in the UK] or on eBay – if your goal is to get rid of it, start it at 99p and mark it “collection only” and it’s almost sure to go).

Or give them to a charity shop – it might have to be a furniture focused charity or charity shop but there should be one of those near you – and some places even collect furniture donations. The NCT also regularly organise local “nearly new” sales – for parents to pass items onto new parents in need.

As for reuses, we covered baby cots a few weeks ago – some nice ideas on there including making the cot into a bench seat/sofa for the growing kid’s bedroom. Stairgates are also used by people with dogs as well as babies, to keep pesky mutts in or out of certain places – if you know anyone with dogs (particularly small ones), they might be interested. Ditto a play pen to some extent – they’re useful for penning in all sorts of small animals, not just baby humans – someone who breeds cats or puppies might like to use it for a birthing area, or it could be used as a temporary run for ill/pregnant/new rabbits or chickens.

If they’re still in good condition, it would definitely be best to pass them on – any other suggestions for how to pass them on easily? Or for reuses/recycling ideas?

(Photo, which illustrates my doggy point, by ewen and donabel)

How can I build a baby playpen reusing or recycling stuff?

Early 2009 was apparently a boring time around here: every couple we know – bar one other couple & us – had a baby last autumn/winter. (The other couple are expecting their first in just over a month; we got a dog & chickens instead.)

All the babies are starting to crawl/walk with support now so need penning in lest they get *everywhere*. At their own homes, they’ve have purpose-bought playpens but when they visit here, their parents have to hold them/leave them in their prams for the duration of the visit. I bought a handmade quilted playmat for when they were smaller and couldn’t escape so easily but mobilebaby has put an end to that. What with our dog, cats & chickens, giant cactus plants, knitting needles & other sharp/swallowable craft supplies, endless electric cables and bajillion stairs (house over four storeys, garden over another four) … well, with all that, sometimes I think *we* need to be penned in for *our* safety.

So, anyway, I’d like to make a playpen type thing – and I’d rather not buy a whole lot of expensive supplies to make it. However I do realise there are safety concerns – especially with hinged bits (it will need to be collapsible so it can be packed away when the babies go home to stop the dogs/cats/chickens getting in it).

There are surprisingly few how-tos online (or at least very few that I can find), which is odd considering how long babies existed before the invention of mass-produced nursery furniture. There seem to be two basic designs these days – wooden bars (or metal/plastic ones like in the picture) or plastic mesh sides. I presume the babies will be very keen to see out so reusing/upcycling some regular fabric – for example, old bedding – for the sides would cause upset.

Any thoughts/ideas?