Tot School 32mo Twins – Z is For Zipline

Have you ever ridden on a zipline before?  It’s great fun!  If I like them so much, I know that my boys will like it too.  I looked online yesterday to find out how to make a simple toy zipline.  Bingo, I found one that was super easy.  When I was talking to my husband about it, it surprised me to find out that he had never made a toy or real zipline before ,so the boys and I are doing something very special together.  This is not an elaborate zipline.  It’s very simple but with the way these boys are going, I wouldn’t be surprised if by high school they haven’t built a full-scale zipline in our backyard for their friends to ride.

I got a large sheet of cardstock, really any size will work.  I gave James the glue bottle and had him make a wave of glue down one side of the sheet.



 I rolled it up into a tube and to make sure it stayed closed, I had Lance help me staple the seam.


I took two paper plates and cut a triangle out of the plates and trimmed down the edges so I could staple them into cone shapes.  Then did a crazy job of taping them to the ends.


I took two paper clips and unwound them.  I slipped the clips through the middle and over the top of two sewing bobbins.  I made a J shape at the bottom of the clip and pushed those into the frame of my shuttle.  At least that’s what my boys said it looked like.  So a space shuttle it is.  If you wanted to make a nicer, more durable shuttle, then I would opt for something better than paper clips and sewing bobbins for this step.  Or even bending the clip with wire pliers instead of just using your fingers.



I blew up two colored balloons.  Well, I blew up three but I popped one in my face, to my boys’ amusement.  I gave each boy a balloon and tape and showed them where to put them.  This is not a necessary step, it’s just for wow factor with the kids.



We found some thin string in dad’s shop.  I tied one end to a hand weight that I sat up on the piano and I tied the other end to the arm of a rocking chair.  I just used a simple knot.  Any two points of differing heights will work.  Just make the string tight.  Look real close in the picture and you will see the string stretched across my living room.



Now the moment of truth, would our space shuttle fly when we set the bobbins on the string?  Yes it did!  Only one complete, flawless run though that mommy launched.



When the boys tried their hand at launching the shuttle, it didn’t go as smooth.  James quickly caught the concept of a gentle launch.



Lance never got the gentle concept and as a result, his shuttle runs usually crashed to the ground.



In fact, Lance was so aggressive on one launch that he bent the paper clips and mom couldn’t get them back to a good enough position to stay in the bobbins correctly.  So when that happened, I took off the bobbins and our shuttle still ran well on just the clips.  Made me feel a bit like Houston.  “Houston, we have a problem.”  I proudly rose to the occasion and found a way to make our shuttle work.  I’m sure NASA will be calling me for a job interview any day now!


Simple, basic, fun, silly, creative and engaging.  That was our Z activity for the day.  We all loved it.  Well done my little engineers.