NATURE HACK – good old fashioned tree swings

Last weekend we stayed at Grandma’s and hung some swings and climbing ropes in her trees and it all went down a treat.  So this week, on the last day of mid year school vacation, we put some up in the trees at our island home (see photo).  The hack being using rope and U-bolts to attach the swings and climbing ropes to the trees the old fashioned way, instead of a metal A-frame or cemented uprights, which is more expensive, time consuming, ultimately safer, but no fun.

We had gone to the mammoth hardware store Bunnings and their swing set frames were never going to fit in our car or budget, we could not be bothered with ordering home delivery or cementing the foundations.   So we just bought the swing /rope parts and some extra heavy duty U-bolts with screw-in fasteners.   Cheap as chips as they say.

They even had horizontal tyre swings, although that was not going to fit in the car either, as we had tons of luggage given we were staying on the mainland five days.   On the second day we took the boys to see the local showgrounds and went on some of the many rides, laughed at the prize winning poultry, watched the go kart races, fireworks and bought a couple of showbags.  The reason we were over for nearly a week was eldest Alpha was one of four Grade 2 students selected for a talented children writers workshop at James Cook University of North Queensland.   That was on the fourth day and then we had dim sum at our favorite yum cha place for the second time in four days!   

First, I cut equal lengths of heavy duty water-proof marine rope and knotted each end into a loop.   Dangerously climbing on the kids’ PVC climbing frame, threw one end of each length over a sturdy branch and threaded it through the loop on the other end of each length.   Pulled down tight until it was snugly settled around the respective branch.   To each of the dangling loops I attached the U-bolt and corresponding swing / climbing rope.   Each of which came packaged with plastic rope leading up to either a metal or plastic anchor.   These then just clipped into the U-bolts shared with the marine rope loops connected with the tree branches.

Within half a minute of finishing, Alpha and Bravo were testing everything, trying to push each other off balance and the TV has been off for a record four day light hours and counting.   Ironic as it is the last day of a two week school break, although I am heading back to South-east Asia this week and Stayathomemotheroffour needs the kids to have as many distractions as possible.    Hence why last year each of my month long overseas trips was preceded by the purchase of PVC climbing frame, badminton set, Totem tennis pole, 10 game table soccer /mini pool table/mini ping pong (nightmare to screw together from a flat pack), and of course a TV with built-in DVD player.

The TV really was the last purchase and I relented as last year we were living in a natureless cultural desert on the mainland, I was going to be away for five weeks and there was not a single tree in our backyard.  So since we moved to the island this January, we have been reducing TV time by going to one of the many beaches each Saturday, or after school.   Now we are in the middle of winter it is cool enough to ride the bikes, although nicer to walk.

Getting back to nature can be a shock for some, so we are just gently getting there.  The island way.


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