Best Outdoor Toys For 3 4 Year Olds latest 2023

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

A day at the lake

Keeping the kids entertained can be as simple as entertaining yourself and letting them hang out with you. Children don’t have our resources or abilities, but they do have great imaginations. If you just combine everyone’s ideas, skills and money, who knows what you may come up with. One day while camping at Timothy Lake, my son said, let’s build a rope swing to swing over the water. I thought, great, all we need is a long rope and a leaning tree above deep water and you have it. (Travel directions, tips, discounts, articles, can be read on TripTalkusa) The rope was no problem as I used to take everything, including the kitchen sink, with us when camping. The leaning tree posed a problem since the lake has no leaning trees. We took our little 12ft aluminum boat across the lake to find a tree we could bring back. On this low-key swashbuckling mission there was a (questionable) adult, 8-year-old and 5-year-old, a tippy Sears and Roebucks rowboat with a 2hp outboard, a saw small but sharp survival bag and a bouquet or rope and string.

We walked across the lake to an area where I thought no one would be (because I wasn’t sure what I had in mind was approved). We went ashore in the woods and found a stand of very tall, thin trees. I picked a tree about 3-4 inches in diameter and cut it down, except it wouldn’t fall because all the trees around it were preventing gravity from doing its job. Finally, after a lot of jostling, my accomplices and I managed to bring three beautiful, clean, limbless poles to the water’s edge. We prepared the skiff to be a tugboat and slid our log raft into the lake to find we had cut hemlocks and they weren’t floating. We were there with three nice twenty foot poles all tied to a log raft sitting on the bottom of the lake.

Even though that seemed like the end of the caper, it wasn’t. Our little 2CV was able to pull the raft, and as long as we kept going, the raft stayed close to the surface. When we slowed down it would sink and hang from our tow line. This actually worked to our advantage as no one could see what we were doing, and if caught or interrogated I would simply release the line letting our contraband sink into his watery grave. Driving across the lake dragging through submerged trees with a 2hp motor seemed to take forever, and I was sure we were being watched. When we approached our waterfront campsite, we raced the boat to shore and our illicit payload settled to the bottom in 18 inches of water. So far so good, nobody knows anything, we just found logs along the shore. This is my story. Don’t talk to my kids, they have wild imaginations and tell crazy stories. After letting the dust settle, so to speak, the boys and I arranged our three poles (still in the water) in the shape of a large letter A. Then, using lots of string, we tied the three points where the poles crossed. This means that a third grader with the help of a younger brother tied it using knots never before discovered. Then we maneuvered our non-buoyant wooden A-frame into deeper water where it was happy to stay submerged. The final step was to attach a rope to the top of the A-frame and lead it ashore to a secure anchor tree. We then hoisted the top of the A-frame out of the water and tied it down leaving the A-frame standing at an angle with a small piece of rope hanging from the top. Children could now stand on crossbar A and swing. The rope swing proved to be a huge hit and the kids played all week. The poles weren’t strong enough for an adult’s weight and bent when I held on to the rope. When we broke camp to return home later in the week, we towed the poles to a spot ten feet deep and sank them to the bottom with plans to retrieve them and resurrect the A-frame. ‘next summer. The author has more articles on triptalkusa

John 2010

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