DIY Baby Play Gym

img_7813Most parents have several months to prepare for baby. Although we tried to prepare mentally and emotionally, we decided not to buy and decorate until we had an idea of how long we’d be waiting for our little man. Fast forward to June 13, and we got word that we were matched with a little boy due July 12. The next two weeks, we painted the nursery and bought a crib mattress and tried to get as much together as possible. I started working on a registry June 28 – the night before little man made his early appearance.

img_7837What I learned in registering and talking with other parents is that the baby gear industry is slowing draining all of our bank accounts. Some if it is absolutely necessary and so helpful, but a lot of it is expensive and takes up space.


Because our house is on the small side and I want to be as minimalistic as possible, I decided to forgo the pricey and rather large footprint baby gyms and make my own.

At Michael’s I purchased the following four items:

The total bill (with a 40% coupon on the full-price leather string) was $8 and some change.


To make this super easy play gym, follow these simple directions:

  1. Line up your 3 dowel rods so that the tops are even.
  2. About 4 inches below the top of the far right dowel rod, use the leather cord to tie a simple knot.
  3. Weave the leather over and under all 3 dowels about 4 or 5 times until it feels tight.
  4. Wrap your string vertically a few times between each rod to secure.
  5. Tie the leather off in a tight knot and cut to trim string.
  6. Cut a long piece of leather and attach to the knots you’ve created at the top. Add the teething ring or toy of your choice to the end for baby to reach and bat. 
  7. To open your gym, cross the two outer dowel rods over the middle to open.* We have had no issues with tipping or hitting the dowel rods, but if you feel your baby could tip it over, feel free to add more support.


It folds up so easily and I can scoot it in the closet when we’re not using it. As he grows and gets older, we can change out the toy on the end to be more age appropriate. I loosely adapted my method from this tutorial. You should give it a try!


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