kid fun for the winter

My goal a few weeks ago was to improve the kids treehouse which I never got to (probably still will but likely this spring/summer). I did however construct something that I hope will “tide” them over for a few weeks – a rip/zip cord of sorts off the ladder entry of the treehouse.

pb270712I initially tried to use a new rope I had bought a few years ago to take down a tree or two, but it was too elastic/nylon for this purpose. Instead, I just used some existing rope (I believe was polyethylene-based since it didn’t stretch much at all) and tied it out to a tree about 15 feet out. My first piece for the kids to use to “zip” along the line was a C piece of metal that I attached to some sort of plastic handle with some duct tape… it sort-of worked but you really never “zipped” at all.

My neighbor’s daughter was the one who noticed that my son had an old bike wheel that we could use… which worked like a charm. I took apart the wheel (and took off the tube and tire), front fork and handlebar and reattached them without the tube and tire so that the handlebar is below the wheel and the wheel hugs the top of the rope. It isn’t 100% on staying on the rope, but once you get going, it seems to stick to the rope with any amount of weight pretty well.


I still might revise the design with the following likely improvements:

  • steel cable (and probably some equipment that would let me properly tightened it as well)
  • trolley (if I can find a good local deal… something like this) or possibly a pulley (described in this howto) – anything that isn’t such a distance between the line and the handle as it currently is!
  • build a separate launch pad/area off the treehouse … kids currently jump off the ladder opening which isn’t the greatest idea
  • probably as well build a landing area which is another treehouse… but that probably will get delayed for another year

Has anyone built one of these before? Any ideas/recommendations?


One response to “kid fun for the winter

  1. yeah… the bike contraption broke with our neighbor’s daughter falling… NOT GOOD. I destroyed it and now realize how I shouldn’t *ever* build something partially…..

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