Have you heard of slacklining? Did you know it’s a great outdoor activity for kids? Well, if not, I’m here to tell you why you should set up a slackline in your backyard as soon as possible. Slacklining provides hours upon hours of beneficial entertainment to kids of all ages. My kids love it, I love it, and it’s an activity we can do together or one they can do while I do my yardwork! There are some basic things to know before you start your family slacklining, and I hope my information and tips get you excited to get outside and to give it a try!
What is a slackline?
A slackline is best described as a tightrope between trees. It is typically a two-inch-wide flat nylon rope with a ratchet tension system to make the line tight. You set up the top between two sturdy trees. Most lines come with tree protectors to wrap around the trees before tightening the line. Some slacklines even come with a top training line to help beginners.
Benefits of slacklining
There are a lot of reasons to start slacklining. First, it is an active outdoor activity! That alone is reason to do it! More than that, it helps with balance, coordination, overcoming fears, persistence and it builds confidence. Also, while kids are playing on the slackline, they are building muscle all over their bodies! It is a great full body workout and great cross training for any future sports they might enjoy!
Here are six tips on how to get started right-
1. Buy the right line –
You’ll want a line that includes a top training line for beginners/kids. This makes it much safer and more doable right off the bat. Without a top line, you will need to spot your child, which looks like you walking back and forth for hours on end. This can get old – I speak from experience! 😉
Below is my top recommendation! This beginner slackline kit by Hazli is the line my daughter is pictured on in photos. We like this kit a lot, easy set up and it works perfectly for the kids! I especially love that it has covers to contain the ratchets, this is a nice added safety benefit.
2. Set the line correctly –
For kids, I recommend setting the line low – only about as high as your knees. This allows a little space for the line to give but it is also a safer distance to fall. I also recommend making the line as tight as you can. This makes it a little more like a balance beam and not as bouncy. I have met some adults who like a looser line, so as you learn and get more comfortable on the line, you can try it different ways to find your favorite set up.
3. Know the rules-
There aren’t a lot of rules you need to enforce on the slackline because it’s about creativity and experimenting, so for the most part just let the kids play! The one rule I am strict about is that there should only be one person on the line at a time. Whoever is waiting in line should wait at a safe distance. When two people are on the line, someone can get double bounced when not expecting it. On a related note, you will get the best grip on a slackline if you do it barefoot. Here in Minnesota it’s often cold, so my kids do sometimes do it in active shoes, but it really is best done barefoot.
4. Practice a lot of getting up and falling/jumping off-
Getting on and off the line alone is one of the first things you want to focus on. The top line will help with getting on, but if you find they need a little more help, you can have them start seated on the line with their back to one of the trees. Then they can grab the top line and push off the tree into a standing position. Getting off is just learning to jump to the side and learning to let go of the top line. Kids usually think this is fun, but it may take some time for them to warm up to it! It’s also a good idea to have them practice jumping off both sides of the line so they are ready for anything!
5. Use a point of focus-
Like anytime you are trying to hold your balance, it is best to find something stationary to stare at. This helps more than you may think! I like to look at the very end of the line in front of me where the slackline meets the tree so that I am looking out over my line. It is tempting to look down at your feet, but don’t! It is better to look out in front of you.
6. Let the kids play-
There is so much you can do on a slackline! From balancing in place, to walking, jumping, sitting, and of course, doing yoga poses! The more you experiment the more you learn. Let it be fun and see what happens!
I hope this answers any questions you might have about starting your kids on a slackline. It really is a wonderful active activity that I highly recommend! Have you tried it yet? If so I’d love to hear your tips too! Let me know in the comments! If I haven’t made up your mind yet and you need a little more inspiration check out my post on 15 Quotes to Inspire Adventurous Children & Parenting
Much Love & Happy Slacklining,
*This post contains affiliate links, this means I receive a small commission for the sales made. I only recommend products I myself would buy. Thank you in advance.