How to Teach Knot Tying To Kids

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Square Knot
Square Knot

Here are some fun ways to teach knot tying to kids.

Learn the knot basics first:

Knots are used for sailing, rock climbing, camping, trucking boating, fishing, surgery, decorating and many more different activities. Knots can be made from a variety of different materials such as rope, cord, twine, yarn, and thread.

The End - The part of rope that gets frayed if it is not whipped or secured by some means. The Standing Part - The inactive part of the rope you are using. The Bight - The U-shaped part of the rope you are working on.

A knot is any lump in a rope. A loop is a knot that joins a rope to itself. (Bowline) A bend is a knot that joins two ropes. (Sheet Bend) A hitch is a knot that joins rope to something else. (Clove Hitch)

Start at the beginning and make sure the kids can tie a simple overhand knot easily. An overhand knot is the first step in tying your shoe laces. It can look like a pretzel when loosened. It is a stopper knot and it's the simplest knot. The overhand knot can be used for a temporary whipping at the end of a rope.

Then practice tying shoe laces. Learn the better bow. It is just like tying your shoe laces, but you wrap an extra loop around before pulling the second loop through. The better bow doesn't untie itself as easily as the traditional way to tie a shoe does.

Learn how to tie the square knot, and know the difference between a square knot and a granny knot. A square knot is also known as a reef knot. Take two ends of the rope, one in each hand. Cross one end over and under, then cross the other end over and under, and pull four ends of the rope to see the tightened knot. It's a square knot if both ends match and are not crossed on each side. Click on the photo to see an example of the square knot and the granny knot. The square knot is used for tying bandages and bundles. It is not good for ropes under strain as the knot can easily be broken.

Square Knot and Granny Knot
Square Knot and Granny Knot

There are many different kinds of knots for many different purposes. Learn some more and practice them with the kids. There are many websites that show step by step videos on knot tying. Here are some popular knots to learn: Two Half Hitches, Taught Line Hitch, Timber Hitch, Clove Hitch, Bowline Knot, and the Sheet Bend.

Add some fun. Teach the kids some knot magic tricks such as the disappearing slip knot trick, the go go knots trick, and the tie a knot trick. The websites for these knot tricks are listed below.

Tips & Warnings

  • Practice tying the knots before you teach them to kids.
  • Make a game out of knot tying once the kids know how to tie a few knots. Write knots on pieces of paper or on popsicle sticks. Let each child one at a time pick a paper or stick to see which knot they need to tie. See if they can tie all the knots they know.
  • When they know some knots well, have the tie the knots while blindfolded.
  • Ropes can be used in dangerous ways. Adult supervision is required at all times.

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