Do-It-Yourself: Parallel Bars for Kids

For children that need assistance pulling up, standing, stepping, etc…, homemade parallel bars can be a fun and useful toy/tool. And they’re super-fun for older brothers and sisters to play gymnastics on! There are many ways to build these bars depending on what you want and what your child’s needs are. Our set is fairly basic. I have seen others that have the full length across the top for the handle bars as well as running the full length on the floor. We didn’t want to use quite that much PVC so we just anchored ours together on the ends. These have been extremely stable for our son – and have survived multiple boys hanging on them, standing on them, flipping on them, and more! We ended up getting some spray paint to cover these up and make them black so they weren’t quite such an odd sight in our living room.

Please make note of the captions on the photos as they provide additional information. For example, our initial diagram photo shows measurements we did NOT end up using. I wanted a longer set of bars, but my husband convince me to go down to 6′ for stability and ease of moving them around the house. I’m glad we went down to 6′!!! This setup doesn’t cost much and you need hardly any supplies besides PVC…

Supply List (should cost less than $40 to build these)

  • PVC tubes/poles: we used 2″ diameter poles; your final amount depends on how long/high you need to make your set; I think in the end we used almost 3 poles (not 4)
  • PVC T joints (4): get the correct diameter for the tubes/poles you purchase
  • PVC L joints (4): again, correct diameter to fit your tubes/poles
  • PVC caps (4): make sure they’re the right size to fit your PVC tubes/poles
  • PVC cleaner (optional; removes stamped sizing, etc… from tubing)
  • something to cut PVC with
  • PVC glue or Gorilla Glue (or any super-strong glue that is good for plastics)
Diagram of PVC parallel bars

Diagram for PVC pieces needed. I believe our final version was not 10′ but rather 6′. This allowed us to stand them up when not in use and more easily transport them. Had they been 10′, we may have needed a center support leg. We did NOT screw any pieces; we glued them together with PVC glue. Also, according to the diagram, we planned on not glueing the middle connectors, however, we did glue that. We did NOT glue the outside 8″ support legs though in case we needed to remove them for moving the bars. We ended up not needing to ever remove them but they did slide off now and then and should be glued.

Parallel bars for kids

Finished product. The height of this was a little higher than halfway between our son’s hips and armpits. It gave him room to grow. Not sure it was 18″ as stated in original diagram but you can fit this to your child’s height. Talk to your child’s physical therapist if you need more recommendations about height and width of bars.

Colten in parallel bars

Our son walking in his parallel bars! Note the height of the bars and his hips/armpits. Note the width. Just measure out to give your child enough space to move and pull up and grow and you’ll be just fine! It’s not a perfect science. Your child’s physical therapist should be able to assist you in determining good height and width if you want more reassurance.

One thought on “Do-It-Yourself: Parallel Bars for Kids

  1. Great parallel bars! My son has spina bifida as well, needing braces and therapy too. I’m gonna use these plans to make him a set, Thank you for the inspiration!😁

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