Grandfathers are for loving and fixing things.
— author unknown
I was only 3 years old, but I still remember the day my grandfather installed a tree swing for me on a branch of one of the big pecan trees in the front yard. And, I remember the events leading up to that day as well as the feeling of pure joy while swinging in a very special swing.
Guess I was having a little trouble adjusting to the new baby sister situation in our house because my mother had her hands full, and I was feeling somewhat ignored as do most children when first realizing they are no longer the center of their parents’ attention. The final straw for me was when I asked my mother to swing me in the baby swing she had set up in the kitchen. It looked like so much fun, and I wanted to try it out. But, my mother said “no”, I couldn’t sit in the baby’s swing because I was “too big and would break it”. Of course, she was right, but I was more than just a little upset, and wondered why this baby got all the fun and attention. Life was becoming a drag.
Then, my grandfather came to my rescue.
He appeared one day carrying a couple of tools, rope and a piece of wood, and said “come with me”. Then, I watched as he set up a simple, but amazing tree swing. A swing just for me. No babies allowed.
Over the years, that tree swing became my happy place, and a reminder of my good fortune to be so loved by an understanding, DIY grandfather who knew exactly what I needed.
Benefits of Swinging
Swinging is a lot of fun, but there are also big benefits, both physical and emotional, for children as well as adults.
Motor Skills. Swinging requires using legs, arms, and core in a way that helps a child’s development of gross motor skills (locomotion, balance and coordination) and fine motor skills (hand, arm and finger coordination; grip strength; and arms and legs circling motions).
Feels Like Flying. Finding a sense of balance and spatial orientation while the body moves about in different positions takes a bit of physical exploration, and swinging is a sensory experience like no other because flying through the air on a swing helps a child learn to respond to movement and gravity and develop balance, coordination and body awareness.
Inspires Imagination. A swing is the perfect activity for imaginative play— maybe you’re a bird, on a magic carpet, or flying high in the sky like a superhero.
Uplifts Spirits. There’s just something about the easy rhythmic movement under a tree, breathing fresh air and feeling a gentle breeze that seem to trigger feelings of pleasure, relaxation and calm, and there’s also a rush of excitement when swinging faster and higher. This magic works for people of all ages.
It’s a Good Workout. Keeping a swing in motion burns off a few calories (200/hr) and helps condition ligaments, tendons, muscles and joints. The swinger controls speed and height of swinging, so you can do as much as you like at your own pace. For more challenging adult workouts, try kneeling or standing on a swing.
In memory of Ben F. Kneupper “Opa” (1903-94), small business owner, barber, florist, volunteer fireman, gardener, baker of pies and cookies, fixer-upper handyman, cancer survivor, devoted family man, and much loved grandfather. He inspired all who knew him with his ability to overcome adversity and find joy in the everyday. ❤️
Want to build a tree swing?
Below are links to helpful ‘how-to’ information and DIY instruction, plus shop for tree swing assembly kits.
Children’s Tree Swings – A Guide To Good Practice, written by Monkey-Do, produced by London Play (downloadable pdf) — Expert advice on the safe sitting, installation and use of children’s rope swings in trees.
How to Make a Rope Swing, WikiHow
How To Make A Tree Swing, step-by-step DIY instruction on building and installing a backyard tree swing
SHOP Check out variety of tree swing assembly kits that can make construction easier here → TREE SWING KITS and SUPPLIES *Zeester Media LLC may receive a small commission for a purchase you make via this Amazon link. This in no way affects the price you pay for the purchase.
A bicycle is so much more than a toy — The Power of a Bike
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Feature photo of swing is courtesy of Pixaby, CC0
Zandy R says
Opa always came to the rescue. What a wonderful treat to have Nana and him next-door. I remember the monkey swing more and how high it got when the wind from a hurricane skirted our hometown. It would be so nice to have a swing in my backyard again….and would be good for all the things mentioned above.