The Allure of the Family Tree Swing
There has always been an allure to the tree swing. When I was five, I lived in Los Angeles CA and there were not a lot of trees. We had playgrounds and grassy areas between the project apartment buildings, but few mature trees. We did have a city park close to where we lived but they had swing sets and no tree swings.
Not to put them down or anything, they were fun too, I just like a tree swing. When I was a little younger than five, we had been living in several places, but Simi Valley stands out in memory because we had a tree swing. When I moved to Covina for the sixth grade we also had a very large Pirate Oak at the back of our apartment complex in a small green area. We put a on this tree on one side and a tire swing on the other. Disc swing
When I was older and moved to Fontana CA it was still very urban. We had orange groves and vineyards in many areas. We used to go to a place called Lytle Creek, near Fontana. We could drive there for an afternoon to splash in the creek and swing out over the water on an old rope with a disc attached to it.
Oh! the idyllic days of youth. It is really nice to write these hubs because it brings back fond memories of high school and the innocence of youth that we do not have these days. I always felt my children matured too rapidly with all the television, movies, internet and games available everywhere. We did not try to keep up with the Jones's so to speak so they sometimes felt like they were the only ones without some of the things their friends had, but I know that when I see my 23 year old daughter enjoy a walk or the chance to swing or play outside I am heartened. When I see my youngest son, 18yrs old, reach out to help his girlfriend's little sister (4yrs old) or play with her without someone asking him to, it makes me glad that the youth of today are not totally lost to the experience of human interaction and childlike wonder.
I think that we need to get a tree swing for our back yard this year. That would be the best idea in the world!
Items to use
Make your own swing
You can easily make your own swing. Many items are available to purchase and I am sure you even have some of them already! If you have left over clothes line or similar rope you can make a swing easily. Just find a place to hang your swing from or you will have to construct that too. If you are hanging it from a tree or porch you can make either a loop swing or a board swing. If you have weights that are not being used on freeweight bars, those can be made into disc swings.
Let's assume you have a tree. Make sure you go out far enough on your chosen limb to allow swinging without impacting with the tree, but make sure the limb will hold weight. A good measure is a six inch or greater diameter which will do fine for most children and youths. If older teens or parents are going to use the swing too then go for an eight inch diameter. Throw the rope or cording over your limb and knot it with equal amounts of rope dangling to the ground with a foot or two extra for good measure. Take a couple of large nails and hammer them into the limb about half way, one on each side of the rope on each side of the knot; four total. Then hammer them flat against the limb crossing over the rope so each one points in the opposite direction from its partner. This will help keep your rope where you want it if it starts to stretch. If you are using a board you can tie both of the ropes in the center of the board and straddle the board when swinging. If you are using a circle shape like an old weight, bring both ropes through the hole and tie them around a chunk of wood or metal pipe, this type of swing can be straddled as well. If you have no wood or item to use for a swing you can still swing! Just make a large loop and tie the ends several times with macrome type knots then put your foot in the loop and swing!
Lytle Creek CA (population 701 in 2010)
Even into adulthood we find the urge to play. The video here is an excellent example of the need to swing and feel the wind in our hair.