A ball of string, a penknife – if you have these with you when you camp there is a whole arsenal of things you can do with the kids.
One of our favourites is the mini-raft. Whenever we find a stream, river or lake at a campsite or on a walk my kids’ first question is ‘Did you bring the string?’.
Here is a short tutorial on how to make a mini-raft
- Collect 4 or 5 shortish sticks, about the length of an adult hand is good. Ideally, the thickness of a child’s finger but make do with what there is around. Choose the straightest sticks you can find.
- Collect 2 shorter sticks, they will brace across the raft at either end.
- Cut a longish piece of string, maybe an arm’s length.
- Now tie one end of the string securely on approx 2 finger widths from the end of one stick.
- Lay the sticks together in a line, now weave the string under and over the sticks right along the row of sticks and back again. Don’t worry too much about neatness, just go for security!
- Lay a shorter bracing stick across where you have woven the string across.
- Weave the string across again, this time, including the bracing stick in your under over. Again, we aren’t going for aesthetics here, just make sure it’s well attached.
- Now, do the same the other end.
- The first time we did this we quickly discovered the finishing touch is to attach another long piece of string as a lead, with a handle loop so they don’t accidentally let go as they throw it off on its next expedition. Otherwise be prepared to wade in to rescue your child cherished Mini-raft!
Depending on how old or dextrous your kids are they can help, do it themselves or just collect the sticks. No matter the age they will have fun playing with the finished article.
More string and pen knife activities in future posts!