Rainy Day Activity – Build Your Own Zip Line!

July 30, 2015

Rainy Day Activity: Build Your Own Zip Line!

School’s not in session, but the sun isn’t always shining, either. As a proactive parent, how do you fill the hours without driving yourself crazy or making your kids lazy? Whether it’s a stormy summer day or a cold and dreary weekend, cooped-up kids still need constant stimulation, and an indoor zip line is a great way to provide it. After all, a little creativity is a great antidote to restlessness, boredom, and the parental headaches that often follow. Zip lines turn physics lessons into a fun and time-consuming game. Just follow these steps to plan a zip line challenge in your own home.

1. Gather Your Supplies

You’ll need the following materials to construct a viable zip line inside your home.

  • Ping-pong ball (“the rider”)
  • 4 plastic straws
  • 4 steel washers, one inch or larger
  • Sturdy tape (duct or masking)
  • 4 feet of fishing line or unwaxed floss (“the zip line”)
  • 4 wooden skewers
  • 4 small paper cups
  • Hole punch
  • Pair of scissors
  • Piece of cardboard
  • Piece of paper
  • Markers

Make it a competition by challenging each child to build their own zip line. You’ll need to repeat the quantities above for each individual child.

2. Sketch Your Ideas

Lay out the materials and let the brainstorming begin. Give your kids markers and paper, and ask them to design a zip line that will carry the Ping-Pong ball from one end of the line to the other. How will they secure the ball to the line? Where will they tie each end to keep the line sturdy and taut? Encourage them to get creative.

3. Build Your Carrier and Install Your Zip Line

Now put their plans into action. Tie the line to two heavy objects of different heights, so there’s a noticeable angle of descent. For example, tie one end to a chair and another around a heavy textbook on the floor. Next they’ll build the ball carriers they designed.

Build Your Own Zip Line: Sketch Your Ideas

4. Test Your Zip Line

Now comes the fun part. Put the ball on the line and see if it soars. If it stops before reaching the lower end, they should look for obstacles and excess friction. If it doesn’t balance on the line, they might change the center of gravity by adjusting the weights on either end of the ball. The goal is to find the perfect balance of weight and friction, so that it takes four seconds or less to reach the books. After they’ve mastered that, take it up a notch! See if they can build a functioning zip line that takes ten seconds to reach the destination, or if they can support the weight of multiple balls. If each kid is working on their own zip line, finish the game with a race.

5. Plan an Outdoor Adventure

Indoor zip lines are fun, but nothing beats the physical thrills of a real-life outdoor zip line tour. When the skies are finally clear, treat your kids to a soar through the trees with ZipZone Canopy Tours. Mom Crystal N. celebrated her son’s special day at our facility, and like many parents who hold parties here, she had nothing but praise for our Columbus canopies. Our tours are designed to keep participants comfortable, with gradual height increases and optional challenges, so even her son’s fearful friend felt secure enough to let loose and enjoy the heights. Of course, the birthday boy himself proclaimed it the “best birthday party ever“.

Our zip lines will immerse your kids in 20 acres of Ohio’s natural beauty, and while they enjoy an unforgettable adrenaline rush, you’ll enjoy peace of mind. Our trained and certified guides follow the industry’s highest standards, and our co-owner Lori Pingle leads the Ohio Zip Line Association (OZLA) board while serving on the zip line tour committee for the Association of Challenge Course Technology (ACCT). We put safety first every step of the way, with daily inspections and accommodating staff members who will treat your kids like their own. After they master the ping pong version, reserve a ZipZone Canopy Tour for your aspiring physicists, budding daredevils, and tree-hugging nature lovers.

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