Easy to Construct (DIY) Teeter Totters (Seesaws)

Teeter totters are easy to construct and can be an important feature in primary school playgrounds.  Below are five designs that might prove useful depending on the resources available:

The first is an all-metal design currently available from a Salt Lake City manufacturer/vendor (Component Playgrounds).

Commercially Available Teeter Totter

Commercially Available Teeter Totter

Pivot Point on the Metal Teeter Totter

Pivot Point on the Metal Teeter Totter

Installation of a Metal Teeter Totter near Calca, Peru

Installation of a Metal Teeter Totter near Calca, Peru

Important for metal teeter totters is to attach the handles firmly.  If you don’t, they can break off.

Also important is to partially bury tires under each seat.  This makes it easier to get on the teeter totter and helps prevent hard landings.  I have also observed another metal design.

Metal Teeter Totter Located at a School in Cuzco

Metal Teeter Totter Located at a School in Cuzco

The above teeter totter could be improved by installing partially buried tires under the seats.

This metal design attached to a tire was observed in northern Uganda, south of Gulu.

This Metal Ugandan Seesaw is Mounted on a Tire

This Metal Ugandan Seesaw is Mounted on a Tire

The second is an all-wood design that I saw on the Galapagos Islands.

Wooden Teeter Totter in a Playground on a Galapagos Island.

Wooden Teeter Totter in a Playground on a Galapagos Island.

And this one is installed in a high-end playground in Sacred Valley, Peru.

Wooden Teeter Totter Located in Sacred Valley, Peru

Wooden Teeter Totter Located in Sacred Valley, Peru

The third is a wood-and-pipe design that my friends and I have installed at various locations in the Navajo Nation.

Installing a Wood-and-Pipe Teeter Totter in the Navajo Nation

Installing a Wood-and-Pipe Teeter Totter in the Navajo Nation

Teeter Totter with Old Tires Under the Seats (Tires Usually Face the Other Direction)

Teeter Totter with Old Tires Under the Seats (Tires Can Face the Other Direction)

A fourth design involves hanging the wooden teeter totter using swing hangers for wood and pipe.   The two hanger pairs on the wood and pipe are connected with a spring clip.  A first prototype of this design is in place in southern Utah.  In addition to up-and-down movement, it has some lateral swaying.

Prototype of a Hanging Teeter Tooter

Prototype of a Hanging Teeter Tooter

We tried a larger version of the above design and placed old tires under each end.  But the lateral movement in the horizontal member makes the tires nuisances.

Larger Version of the Hanging Teeter Totter Installed at a Facility for Street Children near Kampala, Uganda

The fifth is a wood-and-wheel design (in this case, irrigation sprinkler wheel) that we are currently prototyping.  While the previous three are realistic for developing country applications, this one is a bit more problematic because of the possible difficulties of locating appropriate wheels.  Besides sprinkler wheels, maybe large cable reels or something similar might work.

Teeter Totter from 2004 "Burning Man"

Teeter Totter at 2004’s “Burning Man”

Our prototype is currently being tested at a Mission on the northern edge of the Navajo Nation.

Teeter Totter on Wheels at a Site in Southern Utah

Teeter Totter on Wheels at a Site in Southern Utah

Something similar was observed in a backyard in northern Utah County.

Wheeled Teeter Totter (Seesaw)

Wheeled Teeter Totter (Seesaw)

Another version of the wheeled teeter totter was recently advertised on a Salt Lake City online classified.  It involves antique metal wheels and a double teeter tooter.

Teeter Totter Recently (Apr 2016) Advertised on a SLC Online Classified

Teeter Totter Recently (Apr 2016) Advertised on a SLC Online Classified

A more complex (and modern) version of the teeter totter was observed in Kildare, Ireland.

Spring-Based Teeter Totter (Seesaw) Observed in Kildare, Ireland

Also note, in the upper left-hand corner of the above photograph, another design for a teeter totter.

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