Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Todder Tools Quicky: Build a cheap faucet extender

My 2-year-old needs to get used to washing his hands in the sink. The problem is, he's *short!* An adult can hold him up, but usually at the expense of squishing his belly, and getting water everywhere at the same time. Yesterday we picked up a couple of fairly tall plastic step stools at Ikea ($8, not available online.) They get him most of the way, but he can still just barely get his fingertips into the water.
Google quickly reveals that I am not the first person to have this problem: a neat little product called the "Aqueduck" is on the market. It's simply a duckbill-shaped piece of plastic that attaches via a shnazzy silicone sleeve to your faucet, channeling the stream of water out another 6 inches or so. Simple, elegant - and expensive! (About $13 plus shipping - and I needed two!) Certainly I ought to be able to jury-rig something for a fraction of the cost. While one part of my brain was planning a trip to the hardware store, the other part noticed that he was playing with his "glow sword" - just a glow-stick with a dagger-shaped handle we got at the Dollar Tree for use while trick-or-treating. (Ironically, the stupid glow stick didn't even work!) He'd managed to fling it across the room, snapping the handle into two halves on impact. He demanded that I fix it... while I noticed that it was roughly the right length and width to serve as a faucet extender. A piece of electrical tape later we had our solution.
Not elegant, not permanent (I don't expect the tape to last long - it'll probably have to be changed at least as often as the sink is cleaned), but it does the job. Total cost: $.50 per faucet, plus the kid gets to play with a glowing sword before you make it! (OK, $.51 if you count the tape, which is also available at the Dollar Tree, of course!)
If you don't happen to have a glowing sword lying about, I expect there are dozens of objects in your house - probably many in your recycle bin - that could accomplish the same goal. I considered a plastic water bottle or yogurt container. But any of these ideas seemed to need careful scissors work and had the further risk of sharp edges. This does it in one step.

*Update: 6 months later, we're still using the same piece of electrical tape.  Amazingly hardy stuff!  :) 

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