water slide

How to Make a Children’s Water Slide

My daughters are both three years old and love to be outside in my yard. The yard consists of several different levels and gardens. However, I did save a patch of grass about ten feet wide, which runs down a slope. This patch is where the winter sledding is done, and the summer water slide is set up.

The original Slip and Slide was made by the Wham-O Co. These are the same folks who brought you the Hula Hoop and the Frisbee. The idea behind the Slip and Slide was as simple as those two iconic toys. There is a strip of vinyl terminating at a small pool. You attach your garden hose to the strip of vinyl and water is fed through holes making the vinyl slippery. Eventually water collects at the end in the pool area. This is a very simple toy and one which brings hours of enjoyment to the kids. One problem it does have is that it simply does not hold up.

Even with my three year olds a Slip and Slide takes a beating. The kids run and jump on the slide taking it with them if there is not enough water. If the kids try and hold onto the sides as they slide down the vinyl will rip. The pool, which you have blown up at the end takes the most beating. Each time a child slides down they crash into the pool’s sides. Soon that vinyl is ripped. Then parents have a hard time ignoring the fun and often will join the kids sliding down the water. I have spent too much money on Slip and Slides which sometime did not hold up for even one play period. The solution was to make my own.

My homemade water slide is so simple, it even beats out the Frisbee for simplicity in design. First is to purchase a roll of 4 Mill plastic sheeting at your local hardware or home improvement center. You will find it in the paint department. I buy the 100′ by 20′ roll since my slope is long. Next is to check your scrap lumber pile for a piece of wood which is between 2′ to 4′ long, 10″ to 12″ wide and at least a half inch thick. I used a piece of offal plywood. If you do not have a scrap lumber pile go to your local home center and ask them. They often have a box of wood by their saw which they are willing to part with.

Next is to roll out the plastic where you want the water slide. Remember that the hose will be running for a long time in one area so choose your spot carefully. Cut the plastic to the length you want but make it at least 30″ long. Mine is the full 100′. Unfold the end ten feet of the slide to the full ten foot width and bunch up the bottom to make a lip which will hold water. Leave the rest of the roll doubled up or about two feet across.

The most important part comes next. Roll about five to ten feet of plastic onto your board at the starting end. Purchase a Y turn off for the end of your hose. Place this Y in the center of your slide under the board and rolled up plastic but on top of the slide. Turn on one side and allow the water to flow down the slide.

Your slide is now ready for hours of carefree use. The children will not trip on anything sticking out like a hose connection. There are no stakes or other means of holding the plastic. The water will do the job for you. Best of all you have spent less than ten dollars and have a water slide which will last for years.