Last year, I made a hammock under our kitchen table for my then-five-year old, and it was a hit. So on this drizzly day, when he requested to build a hammock, we got right to work. Truthfully, I wished I had a hammock to cuddle up in and read too.
I have no idea where I first saw the idea for an under-the-table hammock. It could have been in one of the great parenting magazines I subscribe to, or more likely, a blog that I linked to off of Facebook. There are plenty of blogs that describe hammock-building, including this one, from Emily at Joyful Abode. Last year, we used a king-sized jersey top bed sheet, tying the ends together on top of our small, round table. We soon found out that a stretch sheet probably wasn’t the best choice for my eight-year-old sized five-year old. His bottom nearly touched the ground when he rolled in, but he loved it nonetheless. He brought in his blankie, books and some cars and had a great time while I cared for his baby brother.
This time around, I only had a twin-sized cotton sheet available, which wouldn’t fit around the table. So I got a little creative. We have large log posts at the four corners of the railing that rings our stairs to the basement, so on the short side, I tied two corners of the sheet together around one post, and the other two corners around the other post, forming a baby sling-like pouch. The result was a cozy spot that either boy could get comfortable in. I should have made two hammocks, because one of my boys (or both) occupied it all day long. The first-grader didn’t spend much time in it because he took up every inch of the space inside (he’s taller than 4 ft!), but my toddler got comfy. He wanted his blankie and said he was going to go nigh-nigh, and probably actually would have, if it were the right time of day. He later said ‘pay!’, wanting me to find him something little to play in while he lay there.
The only two drawbacks of hammock 2.0 that I found were that it wasn’t long enough for my older boy to really get comfortable, and it wasn’t low enough for my toddler to get in and out of himself. I’m sure the hammock under the table would work better for that. But for now, I’m leaving it up, because I intend to get the most out of this fun idea as possible. Maybe my toddler can lie in there while I sweep, instead of “sweeping” with his broom, spreading around my piles of dirt!
*Note: Please use common sense and caution when setting up your hammock in a sturdy area. Keep a close eye on toddlers, especially, as they may not have enough strength to get themselves out of a tight spot, or may not have enough balance to stay in a wobbly place.