I’m always looking for fun things to do with my kids to keep them more interested in active outdoor play.
We’ve seen many slacklines set up at festivals, but it was always cool, fit, skater/surfer/free runner/base jumper type dudes doing it… I definitely do not fall into that group of people at all. Having said that, we bought a slackline for our daughters (but mainly so that I could try it out).
Well, what can we say? Yes, yes and more yes! No reservations at all!
They opened the box and weren’t too sure what it was. A bit like a tightrope only bouncy like a trampoline, I told them. Yup, that did it – they were excited. A few YouTube videos later and they were begging to try it out themselves.
Setting it up
All you need is a couple of strong trees at the right sort of distance apart, or some other very sturdy anchor points. The slackline is tightened by a ratchet mechanism and the forces involved are strong. If you think the tree/post wouldn’t pull over if you tied it to a car and drove away then it’s probably OK.
We have a couple of very strong thick oak gate posts sunk about a metre down so we slung it up between them. It wasn’t really long enough – great for the first balancing practice, but too short and rigid. Out on the pavement there is a telegraph pole about 8 metres from the gate post. This was more like it!
Suddenly it all got a whole heap more tricky… the longer the line the more bounce and wobble! They make it look so easy in the videos but make no mistake, this is going to take a LOT of practice. But persevere and the feeling of achievement when you take your first steps unaided is exhilarating. And the next day all my abdominals were aching – so it’s true that it builds your core strength and gives you a great workout 🙂 and the kids loved it too!
The slackline kit is small enough to take it with us when we go for a walk to the woods – where there’s always a suitable spot to use it. We take it to the local swing park and have improved our social standing no end. All the kids, and parents, start queuing up for a go. It takes just a few minutes to set up and take down.
One of the best toys we’ve bought in a long time.
- Buy tree protector pads, or use an old piece of carpet/cardboard or towels to protect tree bark.
- Keep the line shorter and tighter until they get more competent
- Watch the great range of ‘How to’ videos on YouTube
- Read the instructions to use the ratchet – it’s so much easier when you know how!
Don’t forget to take lots of photos and videos and we’ll make a gallery 🙂