You may have noticed that the Inland Northwest is experiencing a heat wave this week. With pools and splash pads still closed, it may take some innovations to have as much fun staying cool at home. Luckily, there are tons of DIY options available and with a bit of time and a few supplies, you could have your own backyard water park. Here are a few ideas to get started.
Pool noodle sprinkler
Use a screwdriver or sharp tool to make a line of holes in the pool noodle. Put a hose through one end and plug the other end of the pool noodle. A bottle cap often makes for a great plug.
Kiddie car wash
This one takes a bit of engineering but has potential for loads of fun. The foundation of this idea is a PVC sprinkler – a rectangle frame built from PVC with a hose and sprinkler attachments and lots of drill holes.
With seven equal lengths of PVC, create two sides and three pieces of PVC on top to connect the walls. The walls should be twice as long as they are tall with an extra piece of PVC in the middle for stability, basically dividing your rectangle wall into two squares. To assemble this, you need four elbow joints, four three-way joints and two four-way joints. You can change this up however you like to customize your design.
Make a hose attachment somewhere at the bottom of the PVC frame. Add a sprinkler head if you like, but if not, drill holes are enough for lots of water fun. You could have drill holes exclusively on the top of the frame for more of a rain effect, or you could have drill holes on the side to make a water obstacle for running through.
To make this sprinkler a car wash, get ready to be creative. The key is hanging obstacles, like lines of pool noodles, sponges or fabric strips.
You can even use pool noodles to add some padding to the PVC pipe here and there.
Tarp splash pad
This is an especially fun alternative to backyard pools. Not only is it budget friendly, but there’s no waiting for a pool to fill. Simply lay out a tarp that is clean and free of holes or debris. Set a sprinkler on top and you have an instant splash pad. Add some extra elements like a toy slide, balls, squirt guns and other water toys. To help the water pool up a bit more, use pool noodles underneath the edges of the tarp, although this will require the tarp be staked in place.
Use a tarp or any heavy-duty plastic sheeting as the base of your slide. For optimum slip, you’ll want a constant water source like a hung up spray nozzle on a light spray setting, or a ground sprinkler near the slide. The essential ingredient for the slide is soap – you may not get far without it. You’ll use a lot of it, so a cheap soap will do, but you may want one that is gentle on the eyes. Watch out for where you place your slide. Make sure the ground is soft and free of sticks or rocks.
Make a giant water blob using plastic sheeting. Find sheeting at least 4 millimeters thick. Unroll the sheeting and measure out the width and height of your blob. They can be full-body length for the kids, or smaller as a toy size. A 2-foot width for a full-body length blob works well for most heights. Fold the sheeting in half and line up your seams. Use a hot iron with parchment paper below the iron to heat the seams and fuse them together. Leave a small hole at one end so you can fill the blob with a hose. To make the water appear blue in the bag, use a few drops of blue food coloring.
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