Reflections on Ropes

11 December 2011 · 9 comments

in Play Resources

This has been a ropey session since August. There is something about rope that just makes it fun and appealing to children of all ages. The more I use it, the more I learn about its potential, particularly for group and cooperative work.

The boys in the photo below are experimenting with rope…

They started out making dens. Thanks to the use of rope, these can become quite complex structures…

I’m into the easy life. Even in Sweden, I liked the comfy side of rope work…

Many children simply like unravelling rope and making snake-like pattern movements with it. Others will just go for a walk with a rope…

Children quickly learn to make and use simple swings…

…and more complex ones. It took two sessions before the children had learned to chuck the rope over the high branch accurately…

Rope bridges require a lot of trial and error when creating as it’s easy to make the rope too slack…

And talking of slack, even the teachers enjoy a chance to walk on a slack line…

Fastening a rope to a tree is good for winding and binding…

But somehow Fred the Ted got bound up too! He hadn’t even been naughty so I think he just wanted to be rescued…

I’ve discovered that one class rather like holding the rope in a line. When we get to the top of the hill, making a circle with the rope is easier than without!

Older and younger children enjoy an impromptu game of Tug o’ War…

Fred the Ted really likes getting caught up in the rope! Here he is again! He climbed up and then got stuck! Fancy that!

Finally rope webs can be a simple or challenging activity depending on the ability of any child. For this girl, simply managing to step through the web from one side to another was an absorbing challenge.

I’ve blogged previously about ropes and sensory trails made of ropes. Enjoy browsing! Oh and tell me about the adventures your children have with ropes… there’s many more to come right here.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Beansprouts December 11, 2011 at 18:40

Well, we did pay homage to our Mulberry tree in one of our blog posts with particular emphasis on its rope donning ability : )

I still get this weird paranoia about children choking from ropes but the more I read about rope play (and the more I see how badly the children want to use ropes), the more willing I am to allow them to do so. I guess wrapping around the body can be one of the safety restrictions.

Thanks for the thought-provoking post.


Juliet Robertson December 11, 2011 at 19:02


Everyone should visit the Beansprouts Preschool blog post – it’s super.

I don’t think your paranoia is weird – it’s about having a healthy respect for rope.

We always supervise rope play and remove the ropes at the end of each session. The rule I have is no ropes around necks (obviously) and also I request that hands and arms are not tied up – simply to avoid a child running, tripping and not being able to catch themselves.

However using bright ropes actually helps children develop a spatial awareness as they learn to look out for themselves and others around the rope.

There’s a handy guide on the London Play website about tree swings which is worth downloading


Debbie Greene December 11, 2011 at 20:54

Great Job! I manage a Nature Center and have a preschool called Little Sprouts Early Learning Center. We also have an after-school program called Kids n Nature Adventure where 150 kids come out weekly. Visit us on facebook. Pilcher Park , Pilcher Park Nature Center AND my blog


Juliet Robertson December 11, 2011 at 21:20

Hi Debbie

Thanks for leaving information about your nature center and preschool – it all sounds really interesting. I’ve already checked out your Facebook page.

I really appreciate anyone telling me about their blog, website or organisation that’s about getting children outside. Together we are all stronger!

Best wishes


tomsensori December 11, 2011 at 23:00

Thanks Juliet for bringing up ropes again. They disappeared from my radar. I have made a mental note to try them—inside—either in my large muscle area or around the sensory table. They should work inside , too, right? Tom


Juliet Robertson December 11, 2011 at 23:06

Hi Tom

I think ropes would work fine inside too. A couple of things spring to mind

– Ropes up high for pulley systems (this will really dovetail with your trays and transporting pellets etc)
– Perhaps keep the ropes shorter. Outside I’m less fussed about length but in the confines of a classroom it might help
– Use a variety of ropes. Every material has a value because of their different thicknesses and properties. I actively seek different types of rope for the impact on the experience.
– Remember ropes work well as part of any big weaving project, e.g. through nets
– Washing lines are a form of rope work too.


tomsensori December 12, 2011 at 01:30

Wow, lots of great ideas. Thanks.


christopher October 15, 2013 at 13:26

relay good pictures and it helped my dad allot with the froset school that he dose


christopher October 15, 2013 at 13:27

it means he can make a slide show with the pictures of this website


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