Fine Motor Development Activities For 4 And 5 Year Olds How to Build a Rope Swing at the Lake Without a Tree

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How to Build a Rope Swing at the Lake Without a Tree

A day at the lake

Entertaining the kids can be as simple as entertaining yourself and letting them stick with you. Children don’t have our resources or skills, but they have great imaginations. If you just combine everyone’s ideas, skills and money, who knows what you can come up with. One day camping at Timothy Lake, my son said let’s make a rope swing for him to swing out on the water. I thought, all we need is a long rope and a tree leaning over deep water and you got it. (Travel itineraries, tips, discounts, articles, you can read on TripTalkusa ) The rope was not a problem, as I was in the habit of bringing everything, including the kitchen sink with us on the campsite. The leaning tree created a problem since the lake has no closed trees. We took our little 12 foot aluminum boat across the lake to find a tree we could bring back. On this discreet cloak-and-dagger mission was an adult (questionable) 8-year-old and 5-year-old, a proper Sears and Roebucks rowing boat with a 2hp outboard, a small but sharp survival saw, and a bunch or rope and twine.

We crossed the lake into an area that I thought would be unpopulated, (because I wasn’t sure what I had in mind was approved) we went ashore in the forest and found a stand of trees that were very tall and thin. I picked a tree about 3-4 inches in diameter and proceeded to cut it down, only it wouldn’t fall because all the trees around it were preventing gravity from doing its job. Finally, after much pushing and shoving, my accomplices and I managed to get three nice clear limbless posts to the water’s edge. We rigged the skiff to be a tow and slid our log raft into the lake only to discover we had cut down Hemlock trees and they wouldn’t float. There we were with three slender twenty foot poles all tied to a raft sitting on the bottom of the lake.

While that seemed like the end of the caper, it wasn’t. Our little 2 horse was able to pull the raft and as we continued to move the raft stayed close to the surface. When we slowed it would sink and hang from our tow rope. This actually worked to our advantage because no one could see what we were doing, and if they got caught or questioned I would just let our contraband sink to its watery grave. Driving across the lake dragging submerged trees with a 2hp engine seemed to take forever and I was sure we were being watched. When we approached our beach campsite, we ran the boat right into shore and our illegal payload dropped to the bottom in 18 inches of water. So far so good, no one knows anything, we just found logs along the shore. This is my story. Just don’t talk to my kids, they have wild imaginations and tell crazy stories. After letting the dust settle, the boys and I arranged our three poles (still in the water) in the shape of a large letter A. Then, using lots of twine, we securely taped the three points where the poles crossed. This means that a third grader with the help of a younger brother tied it using knots that had never been discovered before. We then maneuvered the non-floating wooden A-frame into deeper water, where it was happy to remain submerged. The final step was to tie a rope to the top of the A-frame and bring it ashore to a secure anchor tree. We then lifted the top of the A-frame out of the water and tied it down leaving the A-frame standing upright at an angle with a short piece of rope hanging from the top. The kids could now stand on the A bar and swing out. The rope swing proved a huge hit and the children played all week. The poles were not strong enough for an adult’s weight and bent when I hung on the rope. When we broke camp to go home later in the week, we towed the poles to a spot ten feet deep and sunk them to the bottom, planning to retrieve them and resurrect the A-frame next summer. The author has more articles on triptalkusa

John 2010

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