Assignment: Pull Toy

Two week assignment  You can work in teams if you like.

Design a child’s pull toy.  2 to 6 wheels.  Develop the look of the toy.  The character must be animal, vegetable, or mineral.  Literally, an animal, or a vegetable, or a mineral.  The toy may have kinetic elements and make sounds.

Restrictions: the pull string must be 24″ in length or shorter.  Must be safe, robust, and light in weight.  The overall design must appeal to a child between the ages of 1 and 4.


Week 1: Develop prototype.  Create the character.  Have a color pallet. Have eventual material choices made/purchased.  You will obviously need wheels, axels, a chassis, and string.

Week 2: Finish toy.  Must be robust, safe, and fun to play with.



Push along/pull along toy safety

Pull strings

  • For children 18 months old or younger, ensure the pull string is shorter than 22cm (8.66″). Strings longer than this can tangle and form a loop or noose, and become a strangulation danger.
  • For children aged 18 to 36 months old, cords that are longer than 22cm (8.66″) should not have beads or other attachments that could tangle to form a loop or noose.
  • Any string or cord attached to a toy should be at least 1.5mm (.6″) thick to avoid the danger of cuts on children.

Solid handles

  • Push-along or pull-along toys with rigid handles should have protective covers firmly attached to the ends of the handle so that the exposed ends can’t cut or stab infants.
  • Ensure rigid handles on push along toys are solid, do not come off easily and have no sharp edges to prevent children being cut.
  • Removal or loss of a handle cover should not reveal a sharp point or edge, and the cover must not be small enough to choke children.
  • Crossbars on handles should be firmly attached to the bar leading from the toy. Nails should not be used to attach them, as an exposed nail could form a sharp cutting edge.


  • Axles should be properly attached to the toy and the wheels firmly attached to the axles. Removing a wheel or an axle should not produce a dangerous sharp point that could pierce the skin.



Possible Work Flow

Create or Obtain Design

I found a few designs I liked on (file 1, file 2, file 3).  Give credit to original designers: JB, Mariana Margheurita Fonseca, and Stephan Lerou.


Use Scrap Wood and Spray Mount Adhesive

Using spray mount adhesive, attach your paper design to some scrap wood.


Rough Cut Out Using Scroll Saw

Follow the lines of your drawing and cut out on the scroll saw.


Drill and Sand

Drill all necessary holes on the drill press and remove all of the paper.  Sand off any rough edges.


Prototype “Extras”

Add floppy parts, moveable parts, springy parts.  Consider how these elements will be attached safely.



Add Wheels

I used the drill press wheels design and steel axels.  Wheels can be made with an off center axel to create a wobble.


Experiment with Color

Use bright primary colors when painting your toy.  Think safe finishes, non-toxic.  Combine natural wood finishes with splashes of color.


Attach String

Pull strings can be no longer than 24″ and at least 7/64″  thick.  Avoid knots, loops, and beads.  Pull strings must be securely fastened to the toy.