Monday, September 9, 2013

Ball Pit Fun!!!!

This weekend has been a blast, we made a ball pit for the boys and it helped Aiden calm down quite a bit.  Aiden for the past few weeks has been overly emotional about anything and everything.  We are pretty sure it was due to the stress of not having much of a routine over the summer, seeing family and then having to say goodbye to them, and then school starting back up.  It's been a crazy last month for him, so I do not really blame him for being emotional.  But he had been asking for a ball pit, we used to have one, but took it down a while ago.  I thought, maybe he's trying to tell us what he needs, so a ball pit might be just what the doctor ordered.
So we thought we would go ahead and make a decent size one for them. Our previous ball pit was made with their old pack-n-play, but we decided now that they needed a proper ball pit, after all they are big boys now and it only seemed right they had a ball pit to fit their needs (sensory that is).
All this past week we worked on drawing up plans, we had decided to use PVC pipe as an exoskeleton and netting for the containment of the balls.  We had several sizes that we went through before deciding upon 4ft X 4ft X 2ft for the frame.
Here are the plans we used.
We decided it would just be easier to have the pipe cut all to the same length, it made for much easier figuring on our part anyways.  We then tried to figure out how many balls we needed and decided that 2300 seemed like a good enough number.  
This past Saturday we decided was the day to go ahead and make it.  
Eric worked on cutting the PVC while I worked on sewing the netting to fit.  My first attempt worked out well in terms of going together and containing the balls, however we didn't use a high enough quality netting and Scott ripped it.  So I ended up having to go back to Joann's and get some high pressure cargo netting, which so far has not ripped (fingers crossed).  What I did for this was I cut a piece that was a 4ft square and then four pieces that were 2ft by 4 ft for the sides.  I then attached the sides to the bottom and then to each other to form the fabric box.  I then made eight tabs for each side out of some scrap denim I had, I made those 4in wide by 5.25in (so the PVC will fit through them).  Then once I had those all attached to the sides I slide it on the PVC and we dumped all the balls back into to.  We also decided to make a ladder for the boys to get in and out of the ball pit all by them selves.  
And viola, ball pit fun!




62 comments:

  1. Where did you order the balls from?

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    1. We actually bought the local Toys R Us out of balls. We used 9 bags of their 250 balls. We had researched a few places online that you can order in bulk for a little cheaper, but their shipping times were about 6-10 weeks, we did not want to wait that long, so we just went to Toys R Us.

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  2. where did you get the pvc pipe and how big is it? The prices I'm seeing seem to be higher.

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    1. The pipe is 1" PVC that we got at Home Depot. We found 10 foot sections for under $4 per section. Here is a link to the Home Depot site for those. http://m.homedepot.com/p/1-in-x-10-ft-PVC-Schedule-40-Plain-End-Pipe-531194/202280936/

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  3. Thanks! Did they cut it for you, or did you cut it yourself? Also, where did you get the 3 way corner (elbow) peices? Home depot said they don't carry them.

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    1. We cut everything ourselves, although I found that they can usually do that for you. Our home depot carried the 3 way elbows, so you might have to look at Lowes or another building supply store. You can also look online, and home depot ships, so that is another option.

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    2. 3-way elbows for PVC is a pretty standard piece, so I would question someone else at your HD before you write them off as not carrying those. Someone may just not know what they are talking about. (Sadly, I run into that sometimes with ours.)

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    3. Home depot does not carry 3 way elbows. I found mine at Lowes. They also allowed me to cut them myself in the store with hand pvc cutters. They don't usually cut them for you but if you get the right person you may get some help.

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  4. Do you know the website where you saw balls at a better price? Everything I've found is significantly more than $200 for 2000 balls.

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    1. Here is the website that we were looking at, it seems that some of the prices have went up since we had looked at it for our ball pit. http://www.dhgate.com/wholesale/ball+pit+balls.html

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  5. NEEEEEEEEEETO!!! Can you tell us how you made the ladder?!

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    1. The ladder is 1/2" PVC pipe. We cut six of them into 8" pieces, nine into 12" sections, and two 2" pieces. We used eight "L" connectors and six "T" connectors. The 2" pieces are used at the top for two of the "L" connectors, they are the part that "hooks" over the side of the ball pit. We didn't really have a pattern for the ladder, it was one where we just kind of winged it.

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  6. Where did yo find the netting for your ball pit at......I love the idea

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    1. Sorry for taking so long to respond! We found the netting at JoAnn Fabrics. Sadly we got it on closeout, so I don't know the price. You may still be able to get it at your local store though. It is sold as cargo netting.

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  7. Awesome!! Where did toy find the netting and how mich did it cost?

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    1. I'm going to copy and paste a reply since we had a few people ask the same question within a few days of each other. We found the netting at JoAnn Fabrics. Sadly we got it on closeout, so I don't know the price. You may still be able to get it at your local store though. It is sold as cargo netting.

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  8. What did you use for the net

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    1. I'm going to copy and paste a reply since we had a few people ask the same question within a few days of each other. We found the netting at JoAnn Fabrics. Sadly we got it on closeout, so I don't know the price. You may still be able to get it at your local store though. It is sold as cargo netting.

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  9. How did you make the netting to fit (sizes, length) and what are the loops id like to make the netting like yours

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    1. My wife cut the netting to where the bottom is a 4' X 4' square, the exact same size as the ball pit. The sides she cut into 4' X 2' rectangles and then sewed them all to the bottom square and sewed up the corners. The loops are made out of some old jeans that we had laying around. She just cut 4" X 6" rectangles out of the jean, some of them are a little smaller, but that was the average size. Then she just sewed the ends to the top of the netting spacing them about 2"-4" apart. She kind of eyeballed everything. Oh she also said that when she was sewing the netting she would put a thin piece of random fabric scraps in-between the two pieces of netting, that way the sewing machine had something solid to attach the netting to, it made for a stronger hold.

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  10. Did u get crush proof or just regular ones

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    1. I believe that all ball pit balls are crush proof, at least thats all we could find when we did our search.

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  11. Did you have to sew the mesh netting at all or did it come all together like that?

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    1. No my wife had to sew it, Joanns only sells fabric from the bolt, none that have been sewn together.

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  12. I think I'm going to give this a try. I saw netting at HD that is an all plastic Chicken Netting (From the Chicken Wire section). I think it will do well for this project. Thanks for the great Idea.

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    1. I think this is a viable solution. With this one being 2 feet tall, you wouldn't need to cut as much and that decreases the total number of sharp edge that may need to be addressed.
      http://www.homedepot.com/p/Tenax-2-ft-x-25-ft-Green-Poultry-Hex-Fence-060789/100384026

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  13. We have 2 very rowdy kids. Lol. How has this held up as your kids play in it? I'm excited to make one, but I'm worried it might be wasted money if they tear it up fast.

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    1. The past 6 months that we have had this ball pit, it has held up really well. The boys don't normally use the ladder they just kind of flip themselves over the top rail lol. But we have had a total of two adults and four kids in it at once and it didn't break or anything. This past week we had our two incredibly rambunctious boys and two friends' rowdy boys in it, it has not had a problem, still looks pretty brand new even.

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  14. Do you think this would work by leaving the bottom exposed to the floor under neath and just sew sides on with tabs at the top and bottom?

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    1. I thought about that and it probably would work that way as well. We put the netting like it is because then if we needed to pack it up all we had to do was remove the PVC and string a rope through the tabs to make a bag with the balls.

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  15. How much did total project cost?

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    1. I'm going to have to let my wife know you were asking. She handles all the finances for the house, so she would have a better idea.

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    2. It was right around $300 total for everything, with the balls being $250 of that price.

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  16. You are both a wonderful couple to have given up so much time and energy to help such an awful lot of people looking to copy your idea. Thank you very much.

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    1. Rule #1 in our house... have fun! We aren't so much letting others copy our idea as we are letting people have the resources to help their children. We realized early on that there are a lot of people who don't want to help out, so we figured we might as well let others see our slice of the world, and maybe it would encourage someone else.

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    2. You said it Eric! Sadly ALOT of people do not want to help... at all. You and your wife are two of the most selfless,
      kind, and fun people I have "encountered". Thank you for being such generous people. But more importantly, thank you both for taking time with your children and showing them love. They will grow up to be appreciative and generous as well because of you two.

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  17. How much did it cost you all up approx to do it all? Pvc, netting and balls?
    Its such a great idea!

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    1. Thank you! It cost us approximately right around $300 total. About $250 of it was just the balls though.

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  18. Hi! I recently wrote a Summer Activity bucket list on my blog and I gave you a shout out! You can check it out here if you would like!

    (all photos and page mentions were sourced and linked back to your original post.)

    http://amomsrambels.blogspot.com/2014/05/summer-activities-for-entire-family.html

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  19. I'm thinking about doing this at my clinic ... much cheaper than I can find commercially and I can build it into a triangle to fit in a corner (kinda limited on space). Do you think I could cover it the PVC in pool noodles for a softer top? There would only be 1-2 kiddos in it at a time - but I would love any ideas you guys may have about the bottom ... I want to put in a mat or cushion, but with a triangle base, I will likely have to make something ... any ideas?!! Thanks so much!!!

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    1. Hey Shannon, sorry we were away for a little while. Did you end up making it? If so, how has it turned out? I think the pool noodles to cover up the PVC would be a great idea to add a little softness to those edges. As for the cushion, you can get 2" foam at Joann's for decently priced and then cut it to the size you would need. You could then sew a pillow cushion type cover for it as well.

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  20. did you use PVC glue or cement to fit the pipes together or did you just fit them together?

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    1. Hello Phillip, sorry, again we were away. We actually did not use glue. We just used a rubber mallet to pound the fittings together, that way, in the event of having to take it down, we could disassemble it rather easily.

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  21. This is AMAZING!!!!

    Thank you for sharing!

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  22. Found this project via Pinterest and I just adore it! Love how it can be adapted to any space. Thanks for sharing!

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  23. This looks amazing! I can't wait to approach the hubby with this! I know our son would love it! I was considering using the old pack'n'play too, but this looks much more fun!
    Thanks for sharing this amazing project with the world!!

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  24. How much fun is this?!? I would love to try something like this!

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  25. Very cool! loved every bit of it, reminds me of my Bällebad!

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  26. Replies
    1. The net I made out of cargo netting found at our local Joann Fabric's store. I hope this helps.

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  27. I just wanted to say thank you so much for the detailed instructions and list of materials used. We put one together today and it took us less than an hour from start to finish. We actually made it a little bigger, 6 x 4 and it was still very sturdy. We bought a baseball net off of Amazon for our netting and we used zip ties to secure it to the top rail. Then we used a noodle or pipe insulation as padding along the top rail. We also put two cut outs in the end of the ball pit where we inserted a slide, and another portion where the kids can jump into the pit off of their mini tramp. Thanks again! They already love it!

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    1. That's awesome!!! I love the slide and allowing them to jump in from the mini trampoline!!! We are looking at making a new one for our new house, and I might borrow those ideas, if you don't mind?

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    2. I know I'm a year late but any chance you could share your photos also Nate. My boys would love this so we are thinking of making one including a slide.

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  28. Did you just any glue with the connectors? I'd love to make one of these for my kids but I'd also like to be able to store it away when they are done.

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    1. Hello, No we did not use glue on the connectors. We wanted to be able to disconnect them as needed, so we just used a mallet to get the pieces as snug as possible.

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  29. Can you clarify what size PVC you used? The plans in the picture above say 2" but it says 1" in one of the comments on here. Want to be sure I get the right size. :-) Thanks!

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    1. Kristy,

      Sorry about that... it actually was 2". The 2" was a little thicker. It could possibly be made with 1" as well. You would just need to look at what is available near you, and judge based on the activity level of your kids. Ours loved to jump over the pipes all the time, so we had to go with the 2" for the strength.

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