Okay, so here it is! Well, it's not technically ready yet. But here is the "prototype" of E's beach walker!
What I wanted was a walker-type contraption that Elena might be able to push on sand. MIGHT. Sand is THE MOST DIFFICULT solid surface to navigate, so this little experiment might very well end up in a big pile of FAIL.
Ideally I wanted a wheel like the Wheeleez wheel; but those run $40 dollars apiece, for the smallest size, not counting the axle or other fixtures. And since we only visit the beach for a few days of the year, I can't spend a lot of money. I consulted one engineer, two specialists who deal with special needs rehab equipment/beach wheelchairs, our orthotist, my dad, and called or visited every store in town, and several online, that sold wheels. I considered wheels, skis, runners, balls, and plates; I needed something that would maneuver in sand (wheel or something that would glide) and be wide enough not to sink, and ideally be able to turn or be dragged to change direction. And be lightweight enough so a ~30lb girl could push/turn it.
This wheel might be too thin...but it's the best I could find for the price. It's a $20 wheelbarrow wheel (4" wide, 16" high--it's also heavy, but it has inner ball bearings for a smooth roll). The frame is made of 1 1/2" PVC pipe; total cost of the pipe and fittings were ~20 dollars. The axle was $8, I think.
Our orthotist helped me with the design and measurements, and cut the pieces. The PVC cement and primer together was another $8.
I am still considering sliders--large plastic bowls, actually, for the rear of the walker. Or maybe a different type of "runner". I'm also going to add a hook or two on the top of the frame (I haven't decided exactly where yet) so E can hang her sand pail.
Vids trying this contraption in action should be posted before Saturday--that's when we leave for the Beach! Hopefully, we'll find a place to watch the US-Ghana game on the way down (as if the girls will let us sit there for 2 hours...one can dream, n'est-ce pas?)!