zip 1

This fun, creative toy came about when my daughter, Emme, started spending a lot of time in a backyard tree. She didn’t want to come up our deck stairs for a snack, and I didn’t want to keep walking down to the yard.

“Hey, let’s build one of those zip … thingies,” she said.

“A zip line?”

“Yeah. For snacks!”

Fine by me.

Over the course of an afternoon, we rigged a zip line of butcher’s twine from our back patio to a tree branch, hooking on an Easter basket as the delivery vehicle.

Snacks, toys, animals — we had so much fun sending everything back and forth to each other that I wanted to share this fun, zany little idea with you. Just a little creative building and you, too, can have the perfect animal conveyance system for forts or hideouts or you name it.

Here’s what you need

zip 2

Butcher’s twine or some strong string

Tape

Scissors

A clothes hanger

Some type of container — we’ve used everything from plastic containers to Easter baskets. Anything that will ride along the string and carry what you want is fine.

Here’s what you do

zip 3

Run the butcher’s twine where you want it to go and tie or tape it off really well at each end. It should be taut.

Now make your container. Again, it can be anything you want. Just make sure it can hold what you want. In the photo above, we used the bottom of a plastic toy container.

Now, take the hook of your clothes hanger and cut it off or twist it off and tape it to your container in a way so that the hook is on top and you have two little legs from the hanger. There’s no right way to attach it, so have a good supply of tape on hand. For the plastic container, we inserted the legs through holes on the sides of the container and then taped them in place for stability.

Now hook the hanger over your zip line and voila, you’re almost done! Your little container should zip along the twine now.

But how do you get the container back up for endless rounds of zip lining? Good question. We attach a long piece of twine to the box itself so that once it makes its downward journey, my daughter can simply pull up the box to the starting line again.

I love that this tiny, makeshift, zany game teaches creativity in coming up with the perfect container and in figuring out any problems along the way — such as where to run the zip line for maximum ease of ride or just how many stuffies you can stuff into the container. Once a zip line is up in our house, it’s game over: She’s obsessed for hours.

About Mike Adamick

Mike Adamick

Mike Adamick is a stay-at-home dad, writer, inveterate tinkerer, and author of the best selling family craft book, "Dad's Book of Awesome Projects." He writes for the San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, NPR and many other outlets when he's not sewing his daughter's clothes, woodworking, or training for crazy mud runs. His science book, "The Family Lab," is due in early 2014 and will feature scores of kitchen sink science experiments for the whole family.

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