by Kate Spiller – You just want to kick back and relax while enjoying the outdoors, and your kids are either bored or running amok. Does that sound familiar at all? For me, the campground scenario comes to mind (but this also just applies to hanging out in the backyard or at a local park). You want to get to all the fun and adventuring that comes along with spending a few days in nature, but there’s also a lot of work! Setting up tents, cooking, and tending to the fire all requires focused attention. What’s a parent to do?
| Related: Gift Guide for the Adventurous Kid |
Parent tag-teaming is one answer. Another answer is teaching and encouraging your children to play independently! With practice and patience this will happen seamlessly, but in the meantime, I’m happy to introduce a fun outdoor gift for kids that will keep them engaged. They’ll be having so much fun that you might even ditch that chore or chair so that you can join them!
We’ve been testing out the Play Line Slackline for Kids for the past several months. We had the most fun after setting the slackline up toward the beginning of our summer camping trip with friends. However, we’ve also enjoyed playing around at local parks.
What is the Play Line Slackline?
The Play Line from Slackline Industries is a slackline made for beginning slackliners ages 5 years old and up. Unlike a traditional slackline, which has just one piece of webbing between 2 anchor points, the Play line has two: One for the feet, and the other as a helping guide for the hands.
The Play Line slackline kit includes:
- Customized slackline featuring webbing with rubber grip designed for beginners
- Ratchet tensioner
- Tree protection
- Help line including arm position trainer
- Carry bag
What’s to Love About This Slackline?
Instant Play Area. After set-up, the Play Line provides kids with their very own personal playground! I love that we can bring the slackline along, pending we have trees or the anchors necessary, from campgrounds to parks, backyards and picnics, and the kids have an fun and challenging activity to engage in.
Great for beginners, but adapts to varied abilities. I love that the Play Line can be used by a wide range of children (and adults). Using the overhead guide line, the Play Line teaches beginners the proper position to maintain balance. Then the guide can be taken away (or ignored) to increase difficulty. Once kids are even more comfortable, they can start to vary techniques and add tricks and other elements to their play.
The webbing (where the feet go) is also designed for beginners featuring rubber grip to make traveling across the surface easier and quicker to pick-up.
Portable. All of the components of the Play Line fit neatly into a handy travel bag. We love that we can simply grab the bag, and head out on a walk or easily throw it into the trunk when traveling somewhere by car.
Quick to Set-up* We’d never set-up a slackline before, but once we figured out how all the components worked, we found that installation is quick and easy. Make sure to read the owner’s manual, and watch the instructional videos on the Slackline Industries website to familiarize yourself.
Fun and Challenging The Play Line isn’t just something that the kids try once, and feel like they’ve completed it or developed mastery. The equipment provides our kids with a lot of joy and giggles, but it’s also challenging their bodies in so many ways. It helps develop important skills including balance, core strength, and coordination.
Where There’s Room For Improvement
Carrying Bag Despite my husband Slaed’s expert packing and organizational skills, it’s still a bit of a challenge and a little overwhelming to fit all of the components of the Play Line into the carrying bag. Everything will fit, but being careful and meticulous is necessary. Unfortunately just after the first time we used the Play Line, one of the zippers broke on the outside of the bag. We suggest a stronger zipper/bag system.
Notes on the Play Line Slackline:
While we’ve always had a good time using the Play Line Slackline with our kids, we wanted to pass along our preferred way to enjoy this piece of equipment. Rather than having the slackline be the central purpose of the outing (at least at first), it’s best to set it up, and have it be one of many things you and your family might be engaging in. That’s why it worked so well during our camping trip! The line was installed early on, and the kids could try it out at their leisure without any pressure to accomplish anything.
As I eluded to in our “What’s to Love” section, there is a learning curve to setting up (and taking down) the Play Line, especially if you’ve don’t have experience with slackline installation. I feel this is important to mention because our first time setting it up was not free of frustration! Reading the manual and watching the instructional videos will help, but it’s really hands-on practice that will make set-up seamless.
Check out more fun outdoor gift ideas for kids here.
Note: OFM contributor Kate Spiller received a Play Line slackline in return for her review.
Kate is a former elementary school teacher, turned stay-at-home mom, writer and blogger. Her blog, WildTalesof.com is all about outdoor adventure and travel with kids. She wants to pass along little tidbits that she’s gathered in her short life as a mom, wife, and adventurer. Inspiration, tips, helpful hints, how-to’s, are shared…all to make family life a touch easier, a touch wilder, and a touch more adventurous.