Children work together to transform everyday materials into creations that can carry weight safely across a zip line.
- Pipe cleaners
- Pre-made hooks and pulleys
- Large paper clips
- Pre-cut cardboard pieces
- Recycled materials (e.g. produce baskets, plastic containers)
- Binder clips
- Set up a zip line using string and tape to attach each end high off the ground (e.g. to a chair or table).
- Sort materials into separate bins.
- Explain to children what zip lines are. For example, “Zip lines can be found in playgrounds, but are also used to access remote areas high in the air, like the rainforest canopy. Zip lines use gravity to propel an object from one end of a sturdy cable to the other. Today you are going to use your creative problem solving skills to build something that will safely carry weights across a zip line and deliver and drop a package.“
- Give children time to plan and design their objects using the materials provided and sorted neatly into bins.
- Attach each child’s or group’s object to the zip line using the premade hooks and pulleys.
- Invite children to add weight (pennies) to their objects, and then test how they work on the zip line, and if they make it all the way across.
Try these add-on activities:
- Show children images of real life zip lines for inspiration.
- Give older children the added challenge of trying to safely deliver and drop something fragile (e.g. an egg, medical supplies).
- When setting up the zip line for young children, place one end (the starting point) higher than the other. For older children, allow them to experiment to find an effective angle.