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Pulley System for Children's Playground

  1. Jan 17, 2016 #1

    I am a teacher in Kuwait and we're looking to add some more engaging activity to the construction areas of our Reception/KG playground. We want to build a pulley system to raise and lower buckets of sand or bricks. We have some basic designs and we can find some pre made components here (we have to build it ourselves due to no budget available) but our concern is rope burn due to the rope slipping through little hands.

    Anyone with any low tech ideas for how to pull up and then control descent speed?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 17, 2016 #2
    Perhaps a reel with a handle to wind the rope on? If the reel is more massive than the weight on the rope it won't have enough force to spin the reel very fast as it descends.
  4. Jan 17, 2016 #3
    If handles come loose they can spin and hurt...Maybe a 'steering type' circular wheel??...but that would have the same limitation.

    My initial thought is to keep the buckets small and the contents light. Have you other materials beside sand or brick that are lighter??

    The next best step is to use a larger diameter rope to enable getting a better grip. Gloves might be an option, but getting kids to use them without supervision in your native heat might not fare so well.

    No matter what arrangement, sooner or later, someone will get pinched between rope and pulley...

    PS: Make sure they can't easily pull each other up and down...you know kids!!!
  5. Jan 26, 2016 #4


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    Please consider that if at all possible, kids will be under the bucket when someone lets go of the rope.

    The least complex technical fix I can think of at the moment is a flyball governor on a rotating element. (out of reach of the kids.)

    (edit: added second line.)
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
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