I made Ruby a toy

By kate on July 25th, 2007

Lately, Ruby has been fascinated by plastic buckles, the kind you’d find on a backpack. She has spent a solid half hour intently futzing with the buckles on her booster seat. The problem is that she can eventually clip them, but can’t open them again, so she comes to me for help. After several repetitions of this, I began to design a solution: a toy with LOTS of buckles.

I started at the most excellent Seattle Fabrics, which is a great source for outdoor fabrics, including webbing and all kinds of fasteners. As I browsed, a plan took shape. I selected some buckles, webbing, and zippers. A helpful guy at Ace Hardware gave me a few suggestions, and I bought a couple of other supplies there. Then, I spent two naptimes constructing the project (I have yet to think of a good name for it).

The toy was designed to be flat, light, and therefore easily portable. It features five buckles, which can be buckled in any combination. There are also five zippers, because Ruby likes zippers too. (It is built on a thin piece of wood, so it’s firm enough to easily zip.) Inside each zipper is a hidden pattern or texture for her to discover.



buckled neatly

buckled randomly

Click to see inside each zipper…


Ruby will try it for the first time tomorrow!

UPDATE (Aug 2008): Since I posted this entry, some small family-owned companies have begun manufacturing buckle toys. Check out http://www.buckletoy.com, http://www.bucklepuzzle.com, and http://www.buckleyboo.com to see and buy their products.

Toy design, and all pictures, are copyright Kate Leroux, 2007.

Filed under: handiwork, parenting
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10 Responses to “I made Ruby a toy”

  1. Laura Says:

    That is awesome … also, your pictures of Ruby are most definitely too cute!

  2. benjamin Says:

    Wow! I want one! I promise I would share with my daughter. Imagine the possibilities with two of these toys….

  3. Hello, My Name Is Kate » Mexico trip recap Says:

    […] a while eating, too (which used up the time). She was engaged by most of the new toys, and the buckle toy was particularly reliable as a distraction. We had lots of new toys left over, some of which we […]

  4. Kerry Says:

    My niece loves buckles, and I am looking to get a toy or make one similar. What an amazing design! You aren’t selling them, are you?

  5. Jill Gomez Says:

    I have an 18 month old son and also noticed he loved buckles. For the past 6 months I have been manufacturing a toy called “The Buckle Toy” It will be ready to sell at the begining of June. http://www.buckletoy.com I hope you all love it as much as I do.

  6. Heidi Henderson Says:

    We came up with the same need for our first daughter 4 years ago. Since then, we have been working on refining our design and it is finally available. You’re right – every kid seems to love clipping buckles! Check out our toy at http://www.bucklepuzzle.com

  7. Jill Gomez Says:

    Buckletoy.com is now up and running. Check out this cool toy.

  8. Heidi Henderson Says:

    We have had such a great response to our first product launch that we added a second toy – Buckle Puzzle Jr.™! Geared for smaller ones, it is a great toy for keeping little paws busy! Check it out at http://www.bucklepuzzle.com

  9. Jamie Lee Says:

    We got a Buckle Toy for our son and he loves it. We have taken it on 2 road trips and it was a life saver. The toy is so cute and it really kept our son busy because you can clip the buckles so many different ways because there are 2 sides, and you can also teach shapes. We went to the website http://www.buckletoy.com

  10. Mom of Boys Says:

    We found an awesome buckle toy on the internet! We got the “combo kit” from bucklepuzzle.com … the two different buckle toys are GREAT for my two boys. It keeps them busy on our frequent airplane trips, and they’re nice and small / crushable / easy to transport in my carryon bag. When we’re in town, I keep them in my diaper bag; they’re a lifesaver when we’re out to eat or stuck waiting for an appointment. I have referred many of my friends to the same website, and they also bought them. We are all THRILLED to have such a versatile, compact, creative thing to keep their kids’ hands busy! Look at them here: http://www.bucklepuzzle.com