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Make an Old-Fashioned Tree Swing

Kids playing on a Tree Swing

Those last precious days of summer always make me feel nostalgic. Remember the feeling, from when you were a kid? The evenings are cooler; dusk comes on earlier; and when you run across the dew-wet lawn in bare feet, it feels almost like you’re flying!

Remember that?

The only other feeling that comes close is flying high on a swing — and those bottom-flattening playground swings just don’t have the right Huck Finn or Tarzan feel to them.

Not compared to a good old-fashioned tree swing!

“Kids don’t need a fancy jungle gym to have fun,” says Roger Cook of This Old House. “Just make them a simple seat, then hang it from a sturdy tree.”

boy on rope swing

The tree swing that’s the tutorial subject in TOH’s how-to video is inspired by the old-fashioned rope swings, but easier and safer for kids to use because it has a seat attached. Assuming you’ve got a tree handy, this is quite a quick family project. Download the templates for the seat here (PDF) and get creative! All the materials you need are available from a local hardware or building supplies store.


No time? You can always go with the classic tire swing — an old tire on a rope or a purchased Little Tikes variation, hung from a sturdy tree branch.

(And if that tree branch happens to hang over a swimming hole down at the cottage? All the better!)

But don’t forget — safety first! Melissa over at Le Top has some wise words to say about things to consider in hanging a tree swing, no matter what kind of swing you choose. A strong healthy tree branch is the most important factor, and bigger kids will need a much stronger tree for their swing than a tiny toddler, obviously.

Key? Have an adult do a weight-test on your tree swing before you turn the kids loose for some high-flying summertime fun, and use a good new rope!

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