One of the items on my son’s bucket list this summer is to learn to tie a bowline, a half-hitch, and a square knot…with his eyes closed. They are requirements for his scouting program, but have easily become at-home entertainment for the whole family. They’re sneakily addictive!
So, whether you’re trying to help your child finish up their Girl Scout or Boy Scout requirements, or you just want to pack a bag of paracord for an easy, unexpected, and really fun activity for your kids on a long road trip, here are 4 websites and YouTube videos that teach kids how to tie knots.
At top: Top 5 Useful Knots for Camping, Hiking, Survival and More | Nature Reliance
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In his 14 knots for camping video, Jason Eke shows you how to tie each knot a couple times, slowly, so you can follow along. They start off easily enough for your kids to feel like they’re really mastering the knots, and end up with enough of a challenge to keep them busy for a while. Also, as they get harder, he adds in some tips to make them easier to learn.
(Have kids listen with their headphones on though, because the repetitive music can get annoying.)
The knot-tying gifs at MeritBadge.org show the official way scouts should learn to tie knots — with a helpful gif that also shows what you might be doing wrong if your knot doesn’t hold. There are 10 knots here, from the basic square knot to ones knot-novices might not have heard of, like a clove hitch or sheet bend.
Move over, Bear Grylls. Survival Lilly’s YouTube videos are hardcore girl power. While I doubt I’ll ever find myself lost in the wilderness with a bow and arrow, needing to hunt for my dinner, the knots in her 3 useful survival knots video are still fun to learn.
Plus, her Hunger Games–style confidence, matched with her thick Austrian accent, make her very cool to watch.
I found Nature Reliance’s video on Top 5 Useful Knots for Camping, Hiking, Survival and More super helpful, because he doesn’t just show you how to tie the knot but tells you when and why to use each knot too. If you or your kids are actually planning to go outside and use these knots, not just learn them for party tricks, then this is a good one to watch.