I made a simple High Jump Bar out of PVC pipe for my girls a couple of summers ago. They still pull it out of the garage, re-assemble it, and use it all the time. To enhance their front-yard jumping experience, they put an inexpensive mini-tramp in front of the bar, and a motley collection of mats and mattresses on the other side to serve as a crash pad.
Our neighborhood record is 4’5″ by Jake, age 10. When you add the 9 inches of the mini-tramp, the height of the bar he cleared is 5’2″ off the ground. Check the video clip. He misses on this particular attempt, but you get a good idea of how the whole thing works, and the excitement it generates among the kids.
Materials (estimated cost for the PVC and fittings is about $12):
*4 ten-foot lengths of 3/4 inch schedule 40 pvc pipe, cut to the following quantities and lengths: 1 x 7 ft, 2 x 6 ft, 2 x 5 ft, 4 x 2ft, 4 x 0.5ft. (Use the left over foot-long piece as a relay baton)
*Several 3 inch lengths of 1/4 inch wood dowel
Assembly (estimated time: 30 min)
1) The four 2-footers are the base pieces. Insert 2 base pieces into a T fitting, so that the two pieces create a 180 degree angle. You’ve just made a “foot”. Make another foot by joining the remaining 2 base pieces with another T fitting.
2) Insert a 0.5 footer into the remaining slot of each foot.
4) Now using the 2 remaining 0.5 footers and the 2 “I” assembles, create a long thin rectangle.
5) Use the rectangle to connect the 2 foot assemblies.
7) The 7 footer is your cross bar. Spiral Wrap the bar with duct tape, giving it a Barber Pole effect.
8.) Place dowels into holes on each side, and secure the dowels with the rubber bands. It might be a good idea to start low. Hang the cross-bar on the dowels, and start jumping. Using the sharpie, mark each kid’s (or dog’s) best jump.
Is a kid in your household the next Stefka Kostadinova, Blanca Vlasic, Louise Ritter, Chaunté Howard or Amy Acuff? You never know. True, it’s probably a tad late for Johnny or Sarah to get a spot on Team USA for this year, but don’t let that discourage you. 2012 is only a few workouts from now. 2016 is just around the corner. And 2020 will be here before you know it! Or, you can just have fun in the front yard.
Perhaps you like to make things too. If PVC is your medium, check out your local Ace or True Value. If your creative pursuits are slightly more traditional, be sure to check out the Kyle Design website. She has supplies available for sale that will allow you to make wonderful personalized gifts for yourself and your friends, such as bookmarks, key chains and metal card cases. Of if you don’t have time, Kyle has thousands of unique personalized items that are “pre-made”.