VELCRO® fastener v. Cable Ties – An Alternative Attachment Theory

27 February 2017 · 5 comments

in Early Years Outdoors, Outdoor Play

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It took me about four years to persuade Cosy to stock a particular type of VELCRO® fastener to provide a re-usable alternative to plastic cable ties. The stuff comes in a roll and you cut the lengths you need. It’s not like ordinary Velcro and is particularly useful outside as it doesn’t pick up fluff and gunk. To help you understand its benefits I’ve produced a wee quiz to highlight my Alternative Attachment Theory which is quite simple: VELCRO® fastener works best.

You can easily attach canister of water up high with VELCRO® fastener for water walls, etc.

1.You want to quickly tie a tarp to a fence or trees. Do you:

  • A: Work out the length of VELCRO® fastener needed and slap it on in a couple of minutes
  • B: Fiddle about with cable ties
  • C: Use ball bungees which seem like a good idea but still need an attachment and you can’t help feeling they are simply bobbles for pony tails.


2. You have a child who loves exploring sounds, things that feel interesting and is still developing the fine motor skills needed prior to begin formal writing. Do you:

  • A: Provide the child with a short length of VELCRO® fastener and follow the child’s lead in what he or she wants to do. After all, it’s the perfect product for this child and their needs.
  • B: Offer cable ties – and paint! That’s a fabby fine motor activity. You sing a made up song to provide the auditory amusement.
  • C: Give them a rattle as it’s a nice familiar safe toy.


3.You have a group of children who love water play and so you think it would be an opportunity to introduce the concept of a water wall to them. Do you:

  • A: Quickly attach a few items to a fence with VELCRO® fastener and provide a range of open-ended resources and plenty of spare short lengths of VELCRO® fastener should children wish to adapt the water wall as they explore.
  • B: Spend a lot of time and effort creating a static water wall with cable ties to ensure that the children experience the same, unmoveable equipment time and time again. After all, repetition is a life skill for working on a production line.
  • C: Ignore their interest. They’ve spent far too long on water and it’s now time for their next project – the desert.


4.It’s a freezing cold day and you want to put up a pulley as you have children who love transporting things. Do you:

  • A: Set up a simply pulley system in a less than a minute, thanks to being able to use VELCRO® fastener to quickly attach the pulleys to features such as sturdy drainpipes and fixed play equipment.
  • B: Wonder what you will use as you only have cable ties which won’t work especially with your hands going numb with cold and no Velcro around.
  • C: A pulley? Is this a joke question? Why would this be relevant to my children who need toys to play with not dated technology resources that weren’t even in fashion in the Seventies.


5. Uh oh! You’ve been asked to consider your approach to learning for sustainability and you are consumed with eco-guilt and worry. Do you:

  • A: Bring along some super strong Velcro to your staff meeting to illustrate how VELCRO® fastener can be re-used countless times and extends the learning possibilities in many different ways. Whilst it’s not your approach to LfS, it’s a nice way of demonstrating how we can make little tweaks that transform our practice.
  • B: Hide the cable ties. After all it’s only a little bit of use-once-then-throw-away plastic in our lives.
  • C: Confess to having plastic surgery and botox injections. After all its done wonders for delaying the onset of forehead wrinkles. Is there a similar solution to climate change?

A mini moving water wall on a gate!


  • All A’s: I think you are a convert. Let’s compare lengths of VELCRO® fastener tucked up in our pockets. You understand Alternative Attachment Theory.
  • All B’s: Hmm, you seem to rather like your cable ties. You may need to rethink your commitment here and undertake some professional development on the benefits of VAT.
  • All C’s: Oh dear… aside from cable ties or hook and loop fasteners you seem to lack attachment and interest in your job. Cut the ties. Go and do a different job and don’t let you or your children suffer any longer.

Finally if you have any theories or proposals to counter the Alternative Attachment Theory then please do let me know. Please note I’ve been quite specific about the use of VELCRO® fastener – it’s not often I notice, but in this instance, it is this brand you need and this particular type that I’ve linked to.

VELCRO® fastener can be used to stabilise items- it stopped children pushing this canister of water over.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jan White February 28, 2017 at 14:44

Brilliant! I’ve been using Muddy Faces’ velcro for den building for many years, but will expand upon usage. Vive l’attachement!


Juliet Robertson February 28, 2017 at 16:36

Absolutely. Muddy Faces offer green velcro which is good for those who prefer not to use black


Tom Bedard March 2, 2017 at 03:24

Juliet, Thanks for the insight and especially for the humor. I was enlightened and had a good chuckle. Tom


Anna Blackwell March 17, 2017 at 13:12

This was really insightful, I never knew you could buy velcro in a roll!

Your pictures have given me quite a few good ideas as well, so thank you!


Juliet Robertson March 17, 2017 at 21:37

You’re welcome – it’s great stuff so enjoy the new found fun to be had 🙂


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