DIY Tire Balance Beam

So, when I mentioned that “backyard makeover” on my last post, I basically meant turning the backyard into a glorified junkyard. The best part of home ownership is never having to ask permission from a landlord to do things like dig big holes and stick old tires in the ground. (You may, however, be subject to disapproving looks from your husband. Fair warning.)

I have a nearly five year old who loves running, jumping and climbing much more than he loves pretty much anything, and I want to encourage him to expend that energy as much as possible, and why not add some fun stuff to our backyard for it?

We actually don’t use the grassy/weedy areas of our yard for anything other than Larry’s bathroom and digging area, and we certainly don’t need a ton of room for that. Our lot is “only” 6000sqft, which is small for suburbia, but twice as large as our old yard. We have plenty of room to work with, so I started looking on Pinterest for DIY jungle gyms and stuff like that, and there were a lot of repurposed old tire climbing structures.

We already had the dome climber thing, so I didn’t feel like we needed a tall climbing structure, but then I saw a few pictures of buried tires used for jumping and standing, and I decided a tire balance beam would be fun. I didn’t find a specific tutorial, but obviously it looks pretty straight forward.

I got some free tires from a neighbor, bought $30 worth of spray paint and got started. I dried and cleaned the tires as much as possible, put a few coats of spray paint on each one (the orange and yellow basically took a million coats each, green and blue took like 1-2), and let them dry for a day. (Longer might be better but I have no patience.)

Then, the annoying part – digging. Don’t worry, I called 811 and had the proper people come mark any buried lines before digging. But then I dug a 10.5ft by 1ft by 9″ ditch and lined all the tires up. I wanted the bottom third of the tires buried. It actually took a lot less time than I thought. Only about an hour of digging. And then filled the tires and surrounding area back up with the dirt I dug up and stamped it down with a rubber mallet. Because I’m super safety conscious (ish), I then ran across it with my own weight to make sure it was cool for Cormac and Teddy.

It is a HUGE hit! Cormac’s favorite thing at gymnastics class is the balance beam so he is thrilled with his very own tire beam. And Teddy is too small for the dome climber so I think he’s just happy this is more his size.

Summer Bucket List

It’s finally summer! I have been looking forward to it for months! And not just because of our record-setting rain this winter. The schedule we have is fairly exhausting. School, speech therapy, school, occupational therapy, more school. You get the idea. We still have therapies during the summer, but planning around 3 hours a week is a lot easier than planning around 20 hours a week.

I feel like we have so much freedom these next 2.5 months! There’s so much I want to do, I made a list to see how much fun we can squeeze in. Some things we’ve already started, some are already planned, and some might not happen, but that’s okay.

  • Grow some of our own food – Cormac and I planted our garden in April and for our first attempt, I think it’s going pretty well! We’ve already harvested some of our spring stuff, and things are growing!

Cormac and Teddy are certainly most excited about the strawberries. We’ve got a whole 4×2′ bed of them and they’ve started producing like crazy over the past week. We grew some, ahem, very baby carrots that I will pretend are artisanal.

And plenty of lettuces for salads!

Hopefully we get a decent tomato harvest this summer, and Cormac specifically requested we grow watermelons and pumpkins. I’m not so sure about those but they’ve sprouted at least, so we’ll see.

  • Hike: we’ve got a visit to Rainier scheduled and I’d like to do a couple shorter hikes with the boys, like Twin Falls in Snoqualmie and maybe Franklin Falls again.
  • Ride the Issaquah Trolley
  • Go to (at least one) Mariners game
  • Outdoor concert. This one is easy because they happen every tuesday across the street from my house – I’m weirdly excited about that Creedence cover band.
  • $1 movies with the boys at the theater by our house
  • Backyard makeover – in progress! I built a music station thing for Teddy since he loves banging on things and making noise.

I picked up most of the items at Value Village and found a piece of wood in our front yard (yes it looks like a junkyard on our lot). It’s a hit with both boys.

And Cormac’s “construction site” behind the shed is almost complete, but he couldn’t wait to dig in.

We also got a new jungle gym dome climber that is a hits with boys of all ages. (Garden in background)

I have a few other ideas in the works for the yard too.

  • Go back to Lummi Island for a weekend.
  • Take the clipper up to Victoria, BC for a weekend
  • Pedalheads Bike Camp for Cormac!

  • Picnic at a new park
  • Daytrip to Bainbridge to check out the Bloedel Reserve
  • We’re pros at making popsicles, but this summer I want to master making ice cream with my new ice cream attachment.

Hopefully we’ll strike a good balance between lots of fun planned activities and spontaneous free play. What are you doing this summer?