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Rope spaghetti

Tackle a tangle in this rope coiling relay.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Lengths of rope

Before you begin

  • Find some lengths of rope that you might use on camp or for activities. If you’ve got some older, more worn out lengths of rope, include these.

Can you coil?

  1. Explain to everyone that when storing lengths of rope, we should always assume that the next person to need the rope will be in a hurry and won’t have time to untangle knots or binds. Making it easy for the next person to take and use the rope is important, as they’ll know the last person took care of it and that it’s safe for them to use. Checking for frayed ends, strands and any snags is also important.
  1. If rope is suitable to be used again, explain that it should be coiled when it’s stored, to stop it getting tangled. Demonstrate how to coil a rope properly. This should be done by hanking or coiling the rope.
  2. Everyone should take a length of rope and practise coiling it. When they’ve tried this a few times, they should place their rope uncoiled in the centre of the activity area.
  3. The person leading the activity should mix up the ropes where they’ve been left, so that they’re well tangled (like spaghetti). Ask if anyone could easily return and take back the rope they just left.

Shift the spaghetti

  1. Split into groups of four. Explain that on 'Go!' one person from each group should go to the tangled mess of ropes, take a length and return to their group.
  1. Once each group has a length of rope, they should coil it neatly and place it in a pile where they’re standing. If they notice any damaged or frayed rope, this should coil it and place it in a separate pile, so that it can be repaired before it’s used again.
  2. Continue until the tangled pile is gone and the ropes have all been neatly coiled with the groups.
  3. Each group should count up the coils of rope they recovered. See how many each group got. Have the groups compare coils to see if everyone used the same technique. Below are some recommended ways of coiling rope.
  1. Everyone should now take a look at the damaged lengths of rope. The ends of the rope could be spliced or whipped to prolong its use. Take a look at Whipping into shape to see how to do this.


Taking time to tidy up after using something can seem like the least fun part. But having to clean up or tidy something before you’re able to use it spoils the fun just as much. By making sure equipment is tidy and safe each time, we can help prevent accidents and keep everyone safe, and also make sure that all tools and materials are ready to go for whoever or whatever comes next.


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.