DIY Buckle Toy (From an Old Car Seat)

posted in: Parenting | 12

I’m a big fan of repurposing things and finding ways to reduce our environmental footprint.  So, when one of our carseats was issued a new buckle under a recall, I was lamenting the fact that we would have to just throw out the old one.  Obviously it’s essential that the buckle not be used due to safety reasons (just like with those expired car seats) — but I still cringe when it comes time to toss “treasures” like these in the trash.

DIY  Buckle Toy From an Old Car Seat  - Betsy's Photography {}Perhaps by coincidence, I realized we could use this seat belt buckle from the car seat to make a DIY buckle toy.  Toby has been trying to learn to buckle himself into his carseat, and while he’s mastered the chest clip, the buckle itself has had him stymied.

I used two lengths of string to attach the clips to the buckle’s metal clip… and then we were in business.  This toy took me less time to make than it took to swap out buckles in the carseat by a long shot.  I spent maybe one minute making this DIY buckle toy… easiest toy ever!

And, you are probably wondering how it went over.

Well, when I told Toby my plan to make him a car seat buckle toy for him to practice with, he exclaimed: “that would be wonderful!” and squealed in delight.

The next ten minutes were spent devoted to mastering the car seat buckle — Toby is still working on the release button (which, since recalled, is a little sticky to depress), but he quickly figured out how to get the clips clicked in.

When Daddy got home, Toby was thrilled to show off his car seat buckle toy. He proceeded to demonstrate, saying “this is how you…”

Overall, I’m thrilled with this quick and easy DIY buckle toy.  It serves a practical purpose, helps keep junk out of the landfill, and was really simple to put together.

So, next time you have to get rid of an expired car seat, consider removing the buckle components from the carseat to make your own DIY buckle toy!  I won’t suggest hoping for a recall on your buckle, because really, who wants to stress out about having used an unsafe carseat?

Alternatively, you could buy an automotive seatbelt extender #afflink for practice with an adult seatbelt, like the one to the right.

I’m probably going to use this as a busy bag activity for Toby, as it travels well.  I haven’t decided whether to allow it in the car or not… as I could see myself getting thrown off by the seatbelt clicking sound while enroute.  We’d have to have a talk about not trying to click this buckle toy into the actual car seats.

Take a peek at the images below to see the DIY buckle toy in more detail, both clipped and unclipped, as well as my toddler practicing putting the buckle together.

Click on any image below to enter gallery mode.

12 Responses

  1. Natasha

    Oh my goodness! I would have never thought of this.I have an old car seat right now that I can use for this. Thank you!

  2. Betsy Finn

    You’re welcome!! I was so excited to come up with this idea… my brother-in-law just threw out 10 carseats or something crazy like that…. I was a little late to cannibalize those carseats, but oh well.

  3. Emma

    My daughter would have loved this! She was always fascinated by buckles of any kind. What a great idea!

  4. Kristin @MOMentous Moms

    This is a good idea. I would be worried about my daughter learning how to get her seat undone while we were driving! Very crafty.

  5. ChristyM

    Saving this to use later. I bet my kids will love it.

  6. Jessica

    What a great idea! I wish I’d seen this a few months ago before I threw out my expired carseat. My girls would have loved this!!

  7. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Emma! Isn’t it interesting how they love those fasteners!

  8. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Kristin. Yeah, I thought about that too — but the unbuckling part takes a lot more force to do. I figure by the time my son can handle that, I’ll be ok with him unbuckling himself and be confident he will use logic about the importance of staying buckled while en route. 🙂

  9. Betsy Finn

    I hope they do, Christy!

  10. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Jessica! I am so glad I thought of this *before* tossing mine. Sometimes I luck out.

  11. Tiffany

    What a great idea! My daughter would LOVE this! 😀 Now I need to find an old car seat

  12. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Tiffany! I might contemplate asking in some of the local parenting groups, it seems there are always people ready to get rid of old car seats that can’t be used any longer.