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).
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.
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.
The second is an all-wood design that I saw on the Galapagos Islands.
And this one is installed in a high-end playground 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.
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.
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.
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.
Something similar was observed in a backyard in northern Utah County.
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.
A more complex (and modern) version of the teeter totter was observed in Kildare, Ireland.
Also note, in the upper left-hand corner of the above photograph, another design for a teeter totter.