October 26, 2021
Believe it or not there are struggles in both the natural world and in nature class! I began the season with a gang of eight kids. It was a rocky start and we had some incidents, which I addressed, and it seems that now we on schedule to have woodland fun.
Some of the time I will carry ropes in my backpack during class. Why? You might ask. Because, they are a perfect tool for children to use creatively. There’s connecting things, using them to maneuver big logs, making swings, using as a tool to climb up a steep hill, zip line inventions, jump rope. I’ve seen so many brilliant ideas stem from the hands of kids.
Of course there is tug of war, an easy go to idea because most kids have had this tugging experience before. Kids are crafty and will create strategies to win. One such strategy is tying the rope around a body or wrapping the rope around their hands. And this brings me to my one big no, no in rope play. When this behavior occurs it can quickly turn into a safety issue which can turn into injury pretty quickly. So to avoid this, our number one tenet is “no tying around any part of your body or another person’s body. It’s plain and it’s simple. If the behavior continues the rope is lost.
So back to the group I began speaking about. The first rope play was a disaster. There was tying and wrapping and not in the way I hoped. I began to see the ropes turn into an object of danger. So no ropes. We took a break.
The great news is that on our second rope attempt the respect for the rope had been learned and the kids created so many fun things. I was so proud of the group and grateful that they figured out how to use the ropes creatively. It’s all part of teaching respect for tools and they did it!!!
Please remember, if you do give your children ropes to play with, institute a safety rule and observe them playing. Do not hand over the rope and walk away. We are the leaders and we can teach by observing and not interfering, as long as the play is safe.
Also, it’s great fun to work on knots with kids. I know I am still working on it!!
Knot tying video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5c5xI-3SnUU