There is no scientific explanation for why we love the motion of swinging — children in particular. Swinging helps children learn coordination, use their muscles, and develop a sense of balance. Whatever the scientific reason, people just love the feeling of movement. Look at the popularity of roller coasters, fast motorbikes, and running. It produces a sense of freedom and joy. In this article, we’ll help you bring even more joy to your yard by teaching you how to make a single rope tree swing!
The Benefits of Swings
It is essential for healthy childhood development that the child has plenty of experience in spinning, swinging, rolling, and tumbling. These activities help the growing brain learn to make sense of the environment. It helps the child develop an understanding of body awareness and learn to coordinate how to use both sides of the body. Physiotherapists use motion and swinging when caring for autistic children. And we can’t forget that rocking the baby will help it off to sleep. Scientists think the rocking motion mimics the motion and movement that occurs when the baby is in the womb.
There is nothing better than being in the backyard with your friends and family having some fun with swings on trees. Maybe a picnic; just warm summer fun. There is no one alive that doesn’t remember that feeling of flying through the air like a bird, higher and higher. Remember being scared at first by how high you could go? This simple fun is available for your children at much less trouble and expense than going out to the playground or the theme park. You can do it yourself. A strong, healthy tree limb is the only item you must have! You can make a tire swing, a one rope swing, or a two rope swing.
Risks of Swings and Safety
Swings cause the most injuries of any piece of moving playground equipment. In fact, according to the Safe Kids USA website, 22 percent of all playground injuries are caused by swings.
Injuries can occur if your child falls off the swing, which can lead to bone fractures or breaks, scrapes, bruises, and head injuries. Between 2001 and 2008, there were 40 deaths related to playground equipment, and 27 were because of hanging or asphyxiation.
With Those Scary Statistics In Mind, Safety First, And Always.
Make sure that the swing arc is a safe distance from the trunk and any other hard obstacles. Now is the time to consider putting something soft underneath the swing area to enable softer landings. And also to help correct the inevitable scuffing of the ground from many pairs of feet. Natural or rubber mulch, fine sand, or rubber matting will provide a safer surface. If you have used a wooden seat, then be aware that this poses a risk to the child if he falls from the swing and is underneath when it’s on its return arc.
Make sure other children in the play area are kept at a safe distance from the swingers and remind children to keep both hands on the rope. Parental supervision is advisable.
Tools and Equipment For Making A Swing For A Tree
- A big, healthy Oak or Elm with sturdy horizontal branches, and no branches too close to the ground. The branch itself should be thick and sturdy, around 10 inches diameter minimum. The branch ideally needs to be about 9 feet from the ground.
- Ladder or excellent climbing skills.
- 2 x 6 x 24 inches wooden board for the seat. Or a car tire. Or something prefabricated from the store.
- Enough rope, with some to spare. Around 50 feet will usually be ample.
Doing it yourself can be dangerous. Be confident you have the skills, experience, and knowledge to safely complete the task with no risk to yourself, your tools, or the tree. If you are not sure, get some help. Be aware of local laws and do everything to ensure the safety of future users of the rope swing.
Single Vs Double
A swing with one rope is by far the most simple and easiest to hang.
With double rope tree swings, the ropes must be the same length and level, or else the swing will twist and not arc through smoothly. A rope swing for the tree with only one rope does not have this requirement and will swing three-dimensionally rather than just back and forth. Any sturdy limb that is horizontal will do the job nicely. The simplest swing seat used by many, over many years, is a car tire with holes drilled through it.
There are also specialist retailers who sell swing seats, wood or plastic, and rope. But if you prefer you can make your own rope swing wooden seat.
How to Make a Single Rope Swing
You will need to ensure there are no sharp edges or corners to rub the children’s legs or scrape them before you begin. Then:
- Measure the board’s width and draw a line at the center point.
- Measure the length, find that center point and draw an X where the two points intersect.
- Use a drill bit that’s the same diameter as your rope to create the rope hole. You want it snug because the rope will stretch and shrink in diameter.
- Sand all sharp edges.
- Thread the end of the rope through a suitable length of poly pipe, hose, or flexipipe, and when the rope is placed over the tree branch, this pipe will protect the branch from abrasions. It will also help prevent the rope from wearing a path on the wood. The danger is that the rope will ringbark the limb, killing it. Another far more technical method of hanging swings in trees involves drilling through the branch and securing the rope with an eye hook. Gardeners recommend this method as it is the safest in terms of protecting the tree.
- You need a ladder or excellent tree climbing skills to put the rope over the branch in a reasonably level spot and far enough from the tree trunk to minimize the risk of collisions.
- Feed the end of the rope through the seat’s hole. Make a big stopper knot leaving a tail under the seat for grasping.