How to Build a Climbing Wall for Toddlers


Want to keep your toddlers active? Engaging your toddlers in climbing is a sure way of doing so. A climbing wall has the ability to provide all the thrills your toddler is looking for. Also, it is a great way for your toddlers to have fun.

What you ought to know is that building a climbing wall in your home is not that complicated. With the right tools, materials, time and a few skills, your toddler will be having fun in no time.

Want to know how to build a climbing wall for toddlers?

Below is a step by step guide that will help you accomplish this.

Requirements

As said earlier, to build a climbing wall, you need a few supplies and tools. Here is a list of what you need to get started. Remember, some of the tools can be leased from the local store.

  • Tools
  • Pencil
  • Safety goggles
  • Work gloves
  • Drill
  • Work boots and coverall
  • Stud finder (optional)
  • Tape measure
  • Chalk line
  • Hammer
  • Supplies
  • 5-inch wood screws
  • Deck screws
  • 8 feet 2 by 4 wood (use as furring strips. Three is enough)
  • 1 Sanded plywood ( 4 feet by 8 feet by ¾ inches)
  • Climbing holds ( bolt-on)
  • Grit sandpaper (#120)
  • Allen wrench
  • Crash mat (the higher the climbing hold, the thicker the crash mat)
  • Screws with nuts (purchase this if the climbing holds came with none)
  • 14 feet braided climbing rope

How to build a climbing wall – Step by step guide

Step One – Planning

Ben Franklin once said “failing to plan is planning to fail.” The first step is to have a clear image of the final product in your mind. The internet has countless images of climbing walls made by other people. Taking the time to look at these pictures or blueprints can give you an inspiration. As a result, you can design a climbing wall that suits your needs.

Take a paper, pen, and draw your plan. In your diagram, include measurements and the position of each climbing hold. Since the climbing wall is designed for toddlers, try not to position each climbing hold far apart. Remember, your toddler has limited reach, unlike older kid and adults.

In this stage, select the location of your climbing wall. Would you like to install the climbing wall in your garage, basement or a spare bedroom? Remember, you are building the climbing wall for toddlers so you don’t need the climbing holds to go all the way up to the ceiling. This will present a challenge to your toddlers. Also, it may lead to injuries. Just position the climbing holds halfway the wall. You can always adjust later to offer a challenge.

Step Two – Clearing and Measuring

Now that you have identified where the climbing wall will be positioned, it is important to move all obstacles. For instance, if you have chosen your garage to host the climbing wall, move any tools, parts or any other obstacle that may be a danger to your toddler. By doing so, you ensure the safety of your toddler.

With the plan in your hand, start by selecting the best side of the plywood panel. Now, turn that side to face the floor. The reason for doing so is to ensure that all chalk markings are on the bad side of the plywood panel. This leaves the good side looking clean.

Take your tape measure, place one end at the top edge and measure 12 inches. Mark that position with a chalk. This will create a 12-inch margin close to the top of the plywood panel. Repeat the same process at the bottom.

From the left side of the panel, divide the plywood panel into 8 inch wide sections. These sections should be vertical and you should have a total of 6 sections. Once you are done with the top of the plywood, repeat the same from the bottom. That is, divide into 8 inch wide sections.

In the end, you should have a grid pattern.

Step Three – Make a wood structure

Its high time to reinforce the wall. For this step, you require a T-nut. If you install the plywood panel directly on your wall, the bolts will dig into your drywall. To prevent this, you must reinforce your wall. All you have to do is build a frame to act as a bordering wall. By doing so, your drywall will not be damaged with holes.

Remember the 2 by 4 boards you bought earlier. This is where you get to use them to make a box structure. Start by placing four of these boards – corner to corner. Using deck screws, secure the boards together.

Using the remaining boards, brace the inner part of the structure. Basically, all you have to do is attach one board after every two feet. Secure these boards with deck screws too.

Using this, screw the frame onto the studs. Make sure that the strapping overlaps the joints(horizontal). Also, remember to use the stud finder to locate studs in your wall.

Step Four – Install the climbing holds

The grid pattern created earlier will now act as your guide. On every intersection, drill two or three holes. From here onwards, choose a different intersection and drill holes. By doing so, you should have several equidistant holes.

Remember earlier we talked about positioning the climbing holds halfway or ¾ way up the climbing wall. The reason for doing so is that your toddlers are still at a young age. The point of this climbing wall is to provide an alternative to other fun activities such as cycling or playing with dolls. So, do not make it too challenging.

Proceed by inserting a ⅜ inch 4 prong T- nut into every hole. Make sure you hammer the T-nut until its flush with the plywood panel surface.

Turn the plywood and using an Allen wrench, mount the climbing holds. This is the same with the braided climbing rope.

Step Five – Installing the climbing wall

Now that you are done mounting the climbing holds, its time to mount the climbing wall itself. Since we already have our frame and we already identified the position of the studs earlier on, all you need is to place the panel against the frame. Makes sure that no climbing hold screw is in contact with the drywall.

Using wood screws, mount the plywood panel on the frame. For the braided rope, tie a note to the carabiner and a few more knots along the rope. Make sure the knots are equally spaced between each other.
Now, you are done creating your climbing wall for toddlers. The only thing left is to give your toddlers a chance to have fun.

Final thoughts

Want to add some color or other decorations to your climbing wall? There are many choices for you to select from. For starters, if you decide to paint, you can apply a high gloss PVC paint. For a great finish, apply a PVC primer beforehand then two coats of the paint.

Alternatively, add a wallpaper. You can choose from the several ideas available out there – from superheroes to landscapes and the world map. Just remember that traditional wallpaper paste does not work on wood. Use a water-based urethane or textured paint to protect the wood before installing the wallpaper.

All this should be done before mounting the climbing holds. Once you are done, take a step back and look at the masterpiece.

Ricky Kesler

Ricky Kesler has been an avid DIYer for years. Recently he's really taken to home security, but he has a lot of experience with all sorts of projects from Plumbing to Electrical and Framing to Tiling.

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