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.
- 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.
- Attach the sprinkler head to the hose and position it at the top of the slide then anchor it down with a tent peg.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?