Water parks are a great way to cool off in the summer, but taking the entire family can break the bank. Try some of these DIY ideas for water fun at home all summer long at a fraction of the price.
PVC mini-car wash
Drill holes in some PVC, attach the water hose and allow the kids to ride their bikes, tricycles, scooters and miniature cars through it like a car wash. Use old towels and pieces of pool noodle as the car wash brushes. The kids don’t care if there’s soap or not. They just want to get wet! For more detailed instructions on building a kid-sized car wash, click here.
Slip and slide
Does your yard have a slight incline? Perfect! Buy a roll of industrial strength plastic, unroll it in your yard and use tent stakes to keep it securely flat against the ground. Use a small amount of bubble bath or dish soap and lots of water to transform the plastic into a gloriously slippery slide. Kids love to approach the slide in a run and slide to the end on their bellies. For this reason, soft grass is a must. To make an even bigger splash, put an inflatable kiddy pool at the end of the slide. For more detailed instructions on building your own slip and slide, click here.
Other helpful hints:
- Black plastic gets too hot in the summer sun. Opt for something white or translucent.
- To keep from killing the grass underneath the slide, roll the plastic up after each use.
- A sprinkler aimed at the plastic keeps it slick without anybody having to hold a hose.
- Running on the slide itself can be dangerous and is not recommended.
- Use pool noodles to line the sides of the slide as bumpers.
Water balloon piñata
Water balloons are fun. Piñatas are fun. Why not combine the two for twice the fun? Simply fill some balloons with water, hang them from a sturdy tree branch and let kids take turns taking swings.
For a gathering of cousins, neighbors or friends, introduce the idea of a bucket relay. Here’s how it works. You’ll need the following:
- 4 large trashcans of equal size
- 2 buckets with holes drilled into the bottom
- Lots of water
Each team lines up behind one trashcan filled with water. The person at the front of the line takes the hole-y bucket, dips it into the trashcan to fill it and then lifts it overhead before running across the yard to the empty trashcan for his/her team. Inevitably competitors get soaked en route because of the holes in the buckets, but the goal is to transport the water from one trashcan to the other faster than the other team. That means trying their best to lose as little water as possible while they run.
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Cut up a bunch of sponges so that your kids can easily grab them with one hand. Place all the pieces into a pool or bucket of water. Have kids throw the wet sponges at each other. The goal is to be the driest at the end of a specified amount of time. Unlike water balloons, sponges can be used over and over again.