3 Easy Ways Make Your Own “Sleep Training” Clock

It’s a major accomplishment to get babies to sleep through the night, no doubt. You may think you have it made after that milestone, but after they become mobile toddlers, we desperately want to figure out how to get them to stay in bed until the crack of dawn (at least!).

There are probably a dozen “sleep training” clocks on the market ranging anywhere from about $25 to $100, but there’s really no reason to shell out the cash for one. Here are a few easy ideas for DIY-ing it:

Timer: Hook up a timer (the kind that you can use to turn your lights on and off when you go out of town) to a small table lamp that you can set up out of reach of your little one. Set it to turn on when it’s okay to get up and tell your child to stay put until the light comes on.

If you’re worried about waking her up if by some miracle she’s still asleep when it comes on, try a low wattage light bulb or use a 3-way lamp on the dimmest setting. [The lamp shown here is from IKEA ($10)]

Stickers on a  Wall Clock: If you think they can tell the big hand from the little hand, get a big office wall clock (like the one at right) and put green stickers over or beside the numbers that indicate when it’s okay to get up. Then tell your child that when the little hand points to a red number, it’s okay to rise and shine.

Those little round stickers they sell for yard sale pricing or file folder coding work well. If you like, you can put red stickers over the numbers that are too early.

If you’re in doubt about the big hand vs. little hand thing, try taking the plastic face off the clock and putting a dab of bright paint on the litte hand to distinguish them.

Digital Clock: When they learn their numbers, you can use a digital clock and teach them to stay in bed until the first number is a 7, 8, or whatever you can handle.

I’ll bet you can brainstorm even more ideas for making your own sleep training clock! Tell us about ‘em in the comments!

Make an Under-the-Bed Train Table [It's Easy!]

This is a repost of a popular DIY post from 2008. The train table, by the way, is still going strong and is now used as a Lego table.

Some of you are looking for train tables this holiday season. Here’s a thrifty, space-saving, multi-tasking, easy-to-make alternative:


My son’s Papa made this under-the-bed train table for my son’s third birthday. It slides right under his twin bed when he’s not playing with it. That means when it’s not in use all the train pieces are out of sight and it doesn’t take up any space in his bedroom. When he’s older, the train table can become a Lego table or a place to store puzzles in progress.



You’ll need:

  • One sheet of sturdy plywood (3/4 to 1″ thick). Double check measurements and height to be sure it will fit under the bed and that the train set will fit on it. We had a particular train set picked out already and based the size of the table on the advertised size of the train set. Have your hardware store cut the plywood to the proper size. Ours is 32″x48″.
  • Green Felt – you can use a staple gun and/or glue to affix it to the plywood underneath.
  • Six casters – the ones used here are pretty wide to allow for easy rolling on carpet. We could have used four, but six prevent sagging in the middle. They attach to the bottom of the plywood with screws (so you’ll want a screw gun or similar power tool on hand). Put one on each corner and the other two in the centers of each long side. All are about an inch from the edge of the plywood.
  • Wooden trim – we used “quarter round” trim moulding, which you can have cut to correct sizes at your hardware store. It’s put on with trim nails. You don’t need the moulding, but it keeps all the pieces on the table.

Total Cost: $50-$60
Time: around 2 hours if you get the wooden pieces cut at the store

It’s Fall! Fun Leaf Projects for Kids

It’s finally fall, and in celebration of the season I’ve put together a board with over a dozen fun leaf projects to do with your kids over at Pinterest. Enjoy!

See more DIY posts

Baker’s Dozen: Fab DIY Play Kitchens

Are you a little handy? Then there’s no need to buy a play kitchen. Why not make one of these instead? You’ve got plenty of time before the holidays.

Most of the fab DIY play kitchens on this Pinterest board are made from sidetables or old entertainment systems (click the Pinterest pic for more info and/or a tutorial). One’s even made from two cardboard boxes. Enjoy!

See more DIY posts at Baby Cheapskate

Faded Plastic Playhouses Get Curb Appeal

Photo via Ohdeedoh

Looking for a plastic playhouse for the yard? Save big by picking one up second hand from Freecycle, Craigslist, or even from your neighbor’s back yard. And don’t worry if it’s faded, either. Around $20 worth of spray paint (the kind specially formulated for plastic) and your petite maison will look better than ever. Check out the re-dos and how-tos at Apartment Therapy Ohdeedoh if you dont’ believe me.

Readers: Have you ever tried this? How did it go?

 

Easy DIY Nursery and Kids’ Room Decor: 20+ Projects You’ll Love

Yep. I’ve been playing around over at Pinterest again. This time I’ve put together a board full of irresistible ideas for making your own nursery and kids’ room decor. More than 20 projects, in fact! Check it out and let me know your faves!

Tip: Planning a nursery? Search for “nursery” at Pinterest and pull up dozens of photos for inspiration.

DIY Sand Boxes and Tables

Think your child would enjoy a sandbox or sand and water table? Before you order, check out these ideas for making one yourself:

No Tools Required

Prudent Baby made a portable (albeit heavy) sand box from a wreath box for just $10.

Other ideas for DIY sand boxes include plastic under-the-bed boxes, kiddie pools, and dish pans. I do recommend covering your sand when not in use. The lid will keep out rain, leaves and debris, as well as your neighbor’s cat.

Add a dish pan or small plastic bin to one side of an under-the-bed box. Fill the small bin with water and add sand to the under the bed box for easy DIY sand and water play.

Get Fancy

Got tools? DIY Network has plans for a sand box with a canopy(shown) that looks a lot like the ones from Kid Kraft.

They’ve also got plans for a non-canopied version.

Prefer a table? Eric’s Projects has plans for one made from a few boards and a utility tub.

Have you made a sand box or table? Tell us about it in the comments!

Don’t Buy, Just DIY: Easy Bake Oven Mixes

Shhhh. My son doesn’t know it, but he’s getting an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas. I’m so glad I found these DIY (trans fat-free!) mixes before I shelled out major dough for them at the store. You can make them ahead and store them in labeled ZipLocs in the freezer. Sweet!

  • At FamilyCorner.com, you’ll find the how tos for white frosting, brownies, chocolate cake and quick cake.
  • Want more? There are 32 different recipes at Budget101.com. Peanut Butter Fudge, anyone? ThriftyFun.com has a bunch, too.
  • Commercial cake mixes can also be used in the Easy Bake Oven. You’ll find tips at Baby Toolkit and Food.com.

BC Essentials: DIY Baby Stuff

Browse the DIY articles featured on Baby Cheapskate:

Diapering:

Sew Your Own (Wipes and Covers, too!)

Nursery:

Make Your Own Crib Mobile: Idea Roundup

DIY Dresser Ideas for the Nursery

Decoupage a Dresser: A Tutorial

More DIY: Changing Table, Bedding, More

Creating Inexpensive Custom Wall Art for the Nursery

DIY Nursery Storage: Curtained Shelving

DIY: Easy and Cheap Swaddling Blankets

Toys:

Make an Under-the-Bed Train Table

Misc:

Save Money with At-Home Kiddie Hair Cuts

DIY Halloween Costumes

Make Your Own Crib Mobile: Idea Roundup

Wowie, crib mobiles can be expensive! These handmade mobiles cost much less. They may not spin or play music, but I think you’ll agree that they’re so cute they don’t need to. You’ll find tutorials for making these mobiles, along with more pics, at the links below.


Top row, left to right:
IKEA hanging lamp turned bird mobile at Gather and Nest.
Felt butterflies at Bugs and Fishes by Lupin.
Mobile made from painted wooden pieces at The Artful Abode

Bottom row, left to right:
Butterfly mobile made from gift wrap at One Crafty Place.
“Birds” mobile at Spool Sewing.
Flower mobile at Offbeat Mama.

This post is part of BC’s Nursery on a Budget Series. See more posts in the series.