The best outdoor play activities are the easiest ones! Kids love pulleys and our homemade pulley system is sure to be a permanent fixture in your backyard this season. No matter what the weather, I bet kids will have fun with this DIY pulley all year long. Make a simple machine, learn a little science, and find new ways to play. Awesome science experiments and STEM activities are our thing!

HOMEMADE PULLEY SYSTEM FOR OUTDOOR SIMPLE MACHINES!

Homemade Outdoor pulley for kids Summer Science Activity

SIMPLE PULLEY SYSTEM

The weather is finally perfect for getting outside and trying out new science ideas like our outdoor pulley for kids. We have made some simple pulleys before with a cardboard box project for our stairs and also  this simple pulley system for kids. This time I wanted to take our science learning up a notch by adding a real pulley system to our outdoor play. You can find everything you need for this project at your local hardware store! 

Looking for easy to print activities, and inexpensive science experiments? 

We have you covered…

Click below to get your quick and easy science printables. 

It is quick and easy to make a pulley simple machine!

Rope Bucket Pulley Machine Supplies for Outdoor pulley

HOW TO MAKE A PULLEY

You will need just 4 things for this simple pulley system. We went to the local Lowes {Home Depot or equivalent} for our materials. 

Want to make a smaller pulley system for indoors? See this one.

  • clothesline
  • 2 pulleys {made for clothesline}
  • a bucket  (These buckets are awesome for so many other things too!)

Rope bucket pulley machine fastening pulley

To make your pulley machine, tie one end of the rope to the bucket handle and thread the other end through the pulley.

You will need another small piece of rope to attach the pulley system to a solid fixture. We do not have any trees so we used the deck railing.

Then only thing left to do is try out your new outdoor pulley! 

PULLEY EXPERIMENT

Turn your homemade pulley into a simple physics experiment.  We used rocks, a few at time to fill the bucket. Have your child try to pick up the bucket without the pulley and then with the pulley. Does it make it harder or easier? Keep going with a few rocks at a time.

our simple pulley experiment with rocks

Now try a two-wheel pulley if possible. We used a plant hanger for our set up. You need to put one pulley wheel at the bottom and one at the top.

Test out the 2 wheel pulley with the same experiment as the one wheel pulley. A 2 wheel pulley will reduce the weight of the load when lifting the load. This time we aren’t pulling down, we are pulling up. 

Two Pulley Machine for Kids Outdoor pulley play

Outdoor kids pulley rope and bucket two pulley simple machine

HOW DOES A PULLEY WORK

Pulleys are simple machines that have one or more wheels over which a rope is looped.  Pulleys can help us lift heavy things more easily.  Our outdoor homemade pulley doesn’t necessarily reduce the weight of what we are lifting, but it does help us move it with less effort!

If you want to lift a really heavy weight, there’s only so much force your muscles can supply, even if you are the world’s strongest person. But use a simple machine like this homemade pulley and you can multiply the force your body produces.  Learn more about how pulleys work.

MORE SIMPLE MACHINES YOU CAN MAKE

Catapult Simple Machines

Leprechaun Trap Ideas

LEGO Simple Machines

Hand Crank Winch

Simple Engineering Projects

HOMEMADE PULLEY SYSTEMS MAKE FOR AWESOME PHYSICS!

Click on the image below or on the link for more fun physics experiments for kids.

simple physics activities for kids

Looking for easy to print activities, and inexpensive science experiments? 

We have you covered…

Click below to get your quick and easy science printables. 

6 Comments

  1. Love the simplicity of this and the amazing lessons it can teach. It will be a fun science lesson next year.

  2. We were looking for a good toutorial on how to build a pully system for my kid’s playground as the others won’t be open for awhile still & they need a new element to theirs. This was simple & to the point (& no dumb long winded story to go with it as so many blogs have). THANK YOU!!
    Kate

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