Need some ideas for toys to make on the lathe

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Forum topic by Marcus posted 04-22-2014 01:25 PM 3165 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Marcus's profile


1165 posts in 2254 days

04-22-2014 01:25 PM

I need a bit of creative help from all of you other wood turners out there. My son is turning 3 here shortly and for his first 2 birthdays I’ve made him a nice present made out of wood. Well unfortunately all of my woodworking gear is buried in a storage unit while we’re waiting for our home to be built…everything except the lathe. I’m looking for some ideas of fun toys (or really anything else) you’ve created that your average 3 yr old might be entertained with.

Thanks in advance!

15 replies so far

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2688 posts in 3156 days

#1 posted 04-22-2014 01:46 PM

The only toy I have made using my lathe is a cement truck.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View MrFid's profile


888 posts in 2138 days

#2 posted 04-22-2014 01:54 PM

Tops are pretty easy to turn, and they are fun. There are lots of examples and articles on them, but I can’t seem to put my finger on the at the moment. Good luck!

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View CS3's profile


1 post in 1730 days

#3 posted 04-22-2014 02:28 PM

You can try these cup and ball toys:

-- --Charlie, Chicago, IL

View Woodknack's profile


12455 posts in 2614 days

#4 posted 04-22-2014 04:44 PM

When my kids were 3 they loved vehicles and building blocks. They have very limited attention spans so toys that require/encourage imagination will get more play. Spinning tops are the most common turned toy but a 3 year old will spin it a few times and then look for another way to use it, if he/she doesn’t find one they are done with it. Other ideas: large wood spheres or stacking cones

-- Rick M,

View Marcus's profile


1165 posts in 2254 days

#5 posted 04-22-2014 05:42 PM

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I have tons of ideas for toys…sadly, very few of them are done on the lathe. Still beating around ideas in my head…sadly I think the best thing i’ve come up with is just a stick. As Rick said, at this age, just something that he can screw around with is the best present.

View bondogaposis's profile


5148 posts in 2585 days

#6 posted 04-22-2014 06:22 PM

Tops are easy to make on the lathe, there are several different kinds and there are lot of you tube instructions on the web.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3819 days

#7 posted 04-22-2014 08:23 PM

Make a little wooden bench, with a top and bottom flat (like two tops if you like) one underneath and one up on top when it sits on the table, with about eight holes through the top piece and bottom of around one and a half to two inch size.Then make a number of different coloured round pieces to fit tightly though not too tightly and then make a wooden small mallet.The kids just simply love beating the round blocks through the recipricating holes. If you prefer just make only one top which does not need to be lined up with the lower as with the double option. Make the holes different sizes if you like and especially if the child is a tad older. and it will stimulate their little brains for hours. MY grandson loves things like this and I have made him quite a few tools claw hammers, screwdrivers, even a wooden hand plane, all of course smaller than adult sizes of course.I can say they really work well with children in our experience. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Marcus's profile


1165 posts in 2254 days

#8 posted 04-22-2014 08:24 PM

Scotsman -

Yup, those are the type of things I am thinking about making, but unfortunately I am limited to my lathe.

View DrDirt's profile


4526 posts in 3976 days

#9 posted 04-22-2014 08:31 PM


The Ball and Cup game with the ball on a string
A modification of the ball and cup called “Capirucho” although that is tough for a 3 year old

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Marcus's profile


1165 posts in 2254 days

#10 posted 04-22-2014 08:47 PM

Thanks DrDirt. He already has a Yo-Yo….one of the first things I made him on the lathe. It is used more like a mace than a yo-yo though!

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1257 posts in 1947 days

#11 posted 04-23-2014 02:06 PM

Something like this perhaps?

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3195 days

#12 posted 04-23-2014 02:09 PM

DrDirt, that would be difficult for some of us adults.

View 2leggedtermite's profile


12 posts in 2208 days

#13 posted 04-25-2014 04:59 AM

You could try one of these.
Our club comp stated that at least 80% must be turned.
A steam roller like this would last him years.!!


-- A bowl gouge is like a packet of can't have just one.

View Paul's profile


721 posts in 1799 days

#14 posted 04-25-2014 06:23 AM

“How to ask for advice” would be an interesting turned piece to me. But then again only you and I will probably get that reference.


View hairy's profile


2783 posts in 3766 days

#15 posted 04-25-2014 01:45 PM

It doesn’t have to be this guy. Maybe you could make it look kinda like someone familiar to him.

-- My reality check bounced...

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