Indoors or outdoors, this easy toy zip line is fun for kids to make and play with! All you need is a few supplies and your favorite super hero to try it out. Explore physics and engineering through outdoor play. Look for the free printable simple machines pack below too. Easy and fun STEM activities are the best!
Make A Homemade Zip Line For STEM
The easiest, quickest, fun-est, cheapest, homemade toy zip line ever! We have been experimenting with different types of pulleys lately. We even picked up a few different pulleys at the hardware store and have been testing them out with different items.
This simple toy zip line is an easy DIY project the kids will love. Our toy zip line cost under $5 from the local hardware store. Plus the rope and pulley are meant to be outdoors! Since this is going to be an outdoor toy, we decided to skip using LEGO this time and grab our superheroes instead!
Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman have all signed up to take a ride on this homemade toy zip line!
How Does A Zip Line Work?
Zip lines are a pulley suspended on a cable or rope, mounted on a slope. Zip lines work with gravity. The slope needs to descend and gravity will help you out. You can’t zip your toy zip line up!
Test out different angles. What happens if your slope is higher, lower, or the same.
Friction also comes into play because of the pulley. One surface moving over another is going to create friction which will help the zip line accelerate.
You can also talk about energy, potential energy at the top when you are holding the pulley and ready to release and kinetic energy when batman is in motion.
LOOK: Simple Machines For Kids 👆
What Is STEM For Kids?
So you might ask, what does STEM actually stand for? STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. The most important thing you can take away from this, is that STEM is for everyone!
Yes, kids of all ages can work on STEM projects and enjoy STEM lessons. STEM activities are great for group work, too!
STEM is everywhere! Just look around. The simple fact that STEM surrounds us is why it’s so important for kids to be a part of, to use and to understand STEM.
From the buildings you see in town, the bridges that connect places, the computers we use, the software programs that go with them, and to the air we breathe, STEM is what makes it all possible.
Interested in STEM plus ART? Check out all our STEAM Activities!
Engineering is an important part of STEM. What is engineering in kindergarten and elementary? Well, it’s putting together simple structures and other items, and in the process, learning about the science behind them. Essentially, it’s a whole lot of doing!
Helpful STEM Resources To Get You Started
Here are a few resources that will help you introduce STEM more effectively to your kiddos or students and feel confident yourself when presenting materials. You’ll find helpful free printables throughout.
How To Make A Zip Line
Toy Zip Line Supplies:
Clothesline: The hardware sells this and it is quite long. We could have made a super long zip line or another small zip line. Make each kid his own!
Small Pulley System: I believe this is mostly used for a bag of clothespins on an outdoor clothesline so that you can easily move it around and keep clothespins off the ground. It also makes a great homemade toy zip line for superheroes.
You will also need something to attach your toy to the pulley system. We have tons of zip ties, but you can also use string or a rubber band! The zip tie is a bit more permanent if your child is eager to change out superheroes each time.
Find two anchors to tie off your clothesline and get set for the simple science fun! My son was amazed!
What I Like About This Toy Zip Line
Easy To Use
One of things I like most about this simple toy zip line set up is that the pulley system does not have to be threaded onto the rope before you tie off the zip line. This way you can easily change out superhero without tying and untying the rope.
Cheap To Make
Plus, since these little pulley systems are around $2, you can get each kid his own! Once his super hero gets to the bottom he can take it off and the next kid can go while the other brings his back up to the top.
Science In Action
Our superhero zipped down our toy zip line fast and smooth. Next time I am going to have to tie it up to a higher elevation. There are so many great science concepts you can discuss with the zip line like friction, energy, gravity, slopes, and angles.
Like our LEGO zip line, we experimented a bit by simply holding the other end of the rope and using our arm to change the angles! What happens? Does the superhero go faster or slower? You could even do zip line races!
More Simple Machines You Can Build
- Catapult Simple Machine
- Leprechaun Trap
- Marble Run Wall
- Hand Crank Winch
- Simple Engineering Projects
- Archimedes Screw
- Mini Pulley System
Get started with STEM and engineering projects today with this fantastic resource that includes all the information you need to complete more than 50 activities that encourage STEM skills!