Pretty much all children love going on summer trips to water parks. They are the best cure for a hot day, and the rides are just so much fun. However, the lines can be very long, and the ticket price to get in is often quite steep, so this year, consider challenging your kids to make their own water park in the yard and inviting all their friends over to enjoy it with them!
Backyard Water Park: Slip & Slide
One of the traditional water activities that children enjoy in the yard is a slip and slide. These can range in complexity, being anywhere from a long sheet of thin plastic to an air-inflated plastic tube with sprinklers along the way and a decent sized wading pool at the end. Whatever kind you have, your children are sure to enjoy it.
If you would like to make your own slip and slide at home, all you need is a long and skinny piece of plastic, which can be bought at a very low price at home improvement stores, and a hose or two. It should be run along a mostly flat surface, although if it has a small incline, that will make things a lot more fun. If the surface is flat, there should be a hose with a sprinkler attachment near the middle of the plastic strip, ideally keeping the whole thing wet. If it is an inclined surface, you can just put a hose at the starting point and let the water trickle down with the kids.
Backyard Water Park: Water Slide
Any backyard slide can be turned into a water slide by putting a hose at the top of it. Small slides can be positioned over wading pools to splash into at the bottom of the ride, and larger slides are great if you put them next to your backyard swimming pool and fly into the big pool for a big splash. Parent supervision is needed here to make sure it is a safe setup, and kids should be careful when climbing the stairs to get to the top of the slide because it can get very slippery when wet.
Backyard Water Park: Inner Tubes
Inner tubes or other inflatable things that float can make either of the two above activities a lot more fun. The rubber tends to slide really well on wet surfaces, and the ride isn’t nearly as bumpy. Think sledding, but on water.
Backyard Water Park: Wave Pool
If you have a smaller pool or a hot tub, your kids can easily make a wave pool of their own with a little bit of work. Put one child on an inner tube, and give the rest kickboards or other large plastic objects. They can then use these to “push” water toward the person in the inner tube, creating chaotic waves that will quickly turn the pool into a choppy mess. If the whirlpool or rushing river effect is desired, children can run in circles in a small pool and make a current that will continue moving for a little while after they stop running, carrying them along in the water.
For more fun summer activities for kids, see the index of all articles, with new activities being added daily!