Main Content

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Review Leader Resource 1 so you will be able to teach the group how to tie a basic sailor knot. You may wish to print out a few copies for visual learners to refer to.
  • Cut the rope into 18" lengths. Provide several lengths of rope for each participant. This way, each child will be able to take home all the knots they succeeded in tying.
  • Optional: Select a few additional nautical knots you can demonstrate without confusing the directions or spending much time consulting instructions. Choose knots that vary in difficulty, so a variety of participants can be both successful and challenged. Make sure you choose knots that make sense to you! Some illustrated resources include: the U.K. Tollesbury Sailing Club website, and the Animated Knots website (click on "Boating").

Description of Activity

Participants tie a variety of sailor knots. This activity connects with Joseph Tuckerman's service to the sea-faring families of Boston while reinforcing the program's metaphor for ties that hold us in covenanted community. The success of the activity depends on leaders being comfortable demonstrating how to tie sailor knots.

Distribute lengths of rope. Lead participants through the process of tying several types of knots. Choose some which are relatively easy and will guarantee success, and some which are more difficult and provide a challenge.

To conclude, ask participants to reflect on how they felt about tying the different knots. Did they have favorites? Ones they found very frustrating? Remind them that knots are a metaphor for the ways we are all tied together. Ask them to reflect on the different ways they are tied in relationship with others. Are some connections easy to make and maintain? Are others more difficult? Are participants tied to people they do not necessarily like? How are they tied to people whom they do not even know?

Including All Participants

Participants with vision or hearing limitations or who have difficulty focusing may need a leader to sit next to them for this activity.

Share, Print, or Explore

For more information contact

Find everything tagged: