DIY: How to make the perfect backyard waterslide.

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Summer is here and with it comes the post-Christmas maxed out credit card, hot weather and the never-ending desperation that comes with keeping the kids cool and entertained while sticking to your New Year’s resolution to be a bit more frugal.

The answer? Get your DIY on with a backyard waterslide. And trust me, if a serial Pinterest-failer like myself can do it, anyone can.

Every self-respecting Aussie kid (and ahem, adult) knows that there is no greater feeling than using gravity and Morning Fresh to propel yourself down a slippery slope of goodness. Giant slip-n-slide events have cropped up in cities and towns across Australia where business-folk, hipsters and rev-heads alike come together in budgie-smugglers and bikinis to fly down 300m of vinyl on a blow-up donut while squirting each other with water pistols.

While significantly shorter and far less high tech, my boys favourite summer activity is flinging themselves down a homemade waterslide. Be it head first, feet first or clinging onto each other’s flailing limbs, they launch themselves down a bit of plastic with wild abandon before racing back to the top shrieking with laughter.  Pools? Waterparks? Pfft, who needs ‘em.

What you will need:

  • Heavy duty plastic sheeting or camping tarp (available at any good hardware store).
  • Tent pegs or anything else you can find in the shed that can secure tarp to grass.
  • A hammer.
  • Garden hose with sprinkler head.
  • Jumbo bottle of cheap dishwashing liquid or shampoo.
  • Towel and pool noodle (optional).
  • Bored children lathered in sunscreen.
entertaining kids in summer
“Pools? Waterparks? Pfft, who needs ‘em.” Image via iStock.


  1. Roll out the sheeting, preferably down a slope but it will still work if your backyard is flat.
    Fold over the sheeting at the top of the slide and anchor it down with the tent pegs using a hammer.
  2. Attach the sprinkler head to the hose and position it at the top of the slide then anchor it down with a tent peg.
  3. Keep the hose running and rationalise the water use by telling yourself you are watering the grass and cleaning the kids at the same time.
  4. Squeeze the dishwashing liquid or shampoo down the length of the slide (you will need to do this whenever you notice your kids slowing down or getting stuck).
  5. If you have a particularly steep slope (or an overly buoyant child) you might want to create a barrier at the end of the slide by wrapping a towel around a pool noodle and securing it to the ground with tent pegs. This will prevent your kids from launching themselves into a wall/shrub/unsuspecting pet.
  6. Unleash your children and return to sitting under the cooling vent in your nanna undies while ensuring an(other) adult supervises the arguments over whose turn it is next.
  7. If your kids get bored of the slide (highly unlikely), whip up some homemade bubbles by combining water, the leftover dishwashing liquid and a bit of glycerine and use some wire to make a wand.

Enjoy an awesome slippery sliding, bubble-blowing, imagination building summer in the glorious Australian sun. And once the bin-lids pass out from exhaustion, get back to Netflix and a glass of sauv, you’ve earned it.

How do you keep the kids cool and entertained?