Rope/string is an essential tool at any forest school. Knots can be incorporated into a variety of different activities; shelter building, forest craft, team work games, etc.
There is a whole variety of knots that can be used for different purposes. When teaching knots at forest school it’s important to teach the knots and provide numerous opportunities for the learner to practice them. As with many skills repetition is key to remembering knots. It is important to contextualise knots as you teach them to ensure learners know why they are learning each knot (e.g. you’d use a sheet bend to join ropes of different materials together).
Below you will find a number of beginners guides to tying knots, click on the names to see how to tie the knot. Keep an eye on this area as our variety of knots continues to grow.
When teaching knots there are a number of different approaches that may be considered to help improve pupils retention:
- Repetition of knots. This involves repeatedly tying the knots during the session and also returning to practice the same knots a day, a week, a month later.
- Contextualising the knots. It often makes things easier to learn if you can understand why you have to learn it. For example learning to tie the knots so that you can put up a shelter.
- It helps to have larger pieces of string/rope and large sticks when modelling the knots, this makes it easier to see for the learners.
- When teaching knots with multiple strings it can help if they are different colours.
- Use visual prompts; cards (like those shown above), videos and step by steps (can be found at www.animatedknots.com).
- Working with peers can help when learning the knots. Knowledgeable pupils can also be used to teach others the knot. You could also consider group projects/challenges where they have to use certain knots.
- A number of knots come with specific stories to help tie the knot. Click on the knots below to see some example stories: