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the pull up bar

May 13, 2012

Jason made Lilly a Montessori-style pull up bar, and watching her use it is amazing.


I’ve been reading a bit about Montessori teaching lately, and one feature of Montessori nurseries is the pull up bar.  Many people mount this to the wall, but, not wanting to put holes in the wall for something that is sure to be a temporary fixture, we opted for a free-standing version.


It’s just two upside-down Ts made of 4x4s with a 1″ dowel and additional 4×4 connecting them (the additional 4×4 was screwed to the top of the Ts, and hooks behind the bottom part of the couch so that the bar doesn’t fall over when Lil pulls up on it.  The dowel was attached at a height of 14″ above the floor.  It was a $6 project… which is so awesome compared to the $175 Michael Olaf version.


The first day or two, Lil seemed a little weary.  I’ve noticed that she sometimes needs encouragement or time to really warm up to people and situations, and the bar was no exception.  For the first few days, we’d stand behind her in case she’d lean too far one way or the other and begin to fall.  We’d show her how to grasp the bar, and we’d put her hands on the bar.  9 days later, I witnessed her pull herself to a standing position all by herself.  That was last week, and she’s getting much steadier on her feet, she’s starting to shuffle her feet back and forth!

I quickly grabbed my camera the first time she stood by herself to take these pictures.  I’m noticing that the mess in the background is sort of the standard backdrop for our lives, even though I typically try to clean it up or shoot around it.  Here we’ve got papers that need to be graded and my workbook, blankets, blankets, wipes, dirty socks from playing outside, an empty basket of toys due to a very curious little girl’s desire to pull out its contents one by one until they’re strewn across the floor.  In the office, I spy fabric & a ladder – pieces of a to-be-completed-soon home improvement project.  And on the other side of the room, there’s undoubtedly a basket of clean laundry (or three) waiting to be folded and put away.  Ahh, real life.  You are a bit messy for now, but who wants to take a break in the playing-with-baby fun to clean?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Deborah Ross permalink
    May 14, 2012 4:49 pm

    Every time I spoke with Jason I meant to ask if he made that but always forgot. It certainly looks like Lilly enjoys using it. It’s a great idea; easier than pulling up on the table, I suppose.

  2. Danielle permalink
    July 16, 2012 8:34 pm

    I hear you on the mess! We look like the cat in the hat came to play without his cool picking up machine.

  3. Jeanine permalink
    July 26, 2013 10:59 am

    Hello! I came across this post while googling “free-standing Montessori pull-up bars. Your bar looks great! My husband is going to try to make one this weekend. He was wondering – did you just screw in the dowel from the other side of the wood or did you drill holes in the wood for the dowel to fit in?


    • July 26, 2013 9:52 pm

      We just screwed the bar to the 2x4s – we didn’t drill any hole in the 2x4s first. I suppose drilling pockets for the bar to fit into would probably be the most sturdy way to construct the bar, but I don’t think we had the right drill bit! Our bar survived both our toddler and our friends’ toddler and will still be sturdy enough for our second baby, so it seems like our approach worked! Good luck! Will you share pics/a blog link when you’re done?

      • Jeanine permalink
        August 19, 2013 10:16 am

        Hi Jen – We made the pull up bar and it turned out great! It’s smaller than yours b/c of where we had to put it but my son loves it! Thank you so much for your help! I don’t have a blog but maybe I can email you a pic?

      • August 24, 2013 10:00 pm

        Oh! I’d love to see a pic! jeninthecountry at gmail dot com

        So glad to hear it turned out well and that your son loves it!

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