I think my father took me to a waterpark once or twice when I was a child. And I absolutely hated the experience. I just never understood the appeal of mass bathing with strangers in public places. (Maybe I never got over my stranger danger impulses ingrained into me in the early 1980s?) And maybe such experiences could be more appealing when they are closer to home. I grew up in the South Bronx and it was common in the summers for someone to open a fire hydrant so the neighborhood kids could cool off in the heat. However, there is an easier, and cheaper, alternative to visiting a waterpark or risking a fine by opening fire hydrants to cool off. Learning how to make DIY waterslides is a cheaper and hassle-free way to cool off.
Water parks are big business now, but they are also a hassle to patronize. You will end up standing in a long line to get in and then stand in another long line to get on your favorites rides and waterslides.
And water parks are not free. Depending on the water park you visit, you will have to pay anywhere between $35 to $95, or more, on admission per person. And those costs don’t include travel costs, food, and potential lodging costs if you visit a faraway corporate-owned water park.
You could pay anywhere between $30 to $600 on store-bought waterslides and waterslide contraptions.
DIY Waterslides – The Basics
If you and or your neighbors have a large enough backyard or common grassy area, industrial-grade plastic sheeting or tarp, a hose, and a few other items, then making DIY waterslides should be a no-hassle project. And it will probably take an hour or two to set up.
The first thing you must do to set up DIY waterslides is to scout the perfect area to set one up.
Scout the Layout
According to a 2016 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report, over 2 million Americans injure themselves while frolicking every summer. And over 65,000 Americans injure themselves while engaging in watersports activities or at amusement parks.
Safety must always be a priority when you are installing DIY waterslides in your backyard, front yard, or nearby area. So, before you start any work, you need to find a soft, grassy, and relatively flat stretch of grass that extends for 100 to 150 feet.
Walk along the area. Are there rocks protruding from the ground? Is the ground soft and grassy enough? If you lay plastic sheeting or a tarp on hard ground, the contact friction of people jumping and sliding on it will wear it out quickly. And someone is bound to injure themselves jumping on plastic laid on hard ground.
DIY waterslides should be laid down on soft, grassy hills with an incline. There should be enough space to run and jump before jumping on the waterslide. And there should be enough space at the end of the waterslide to slow down and stop.
Try to construct the waterslide so it ends at a soft, flat portion at the end of a hilly incline.
There should be no obstructions at the end of the waterslide, like parked cars or trees. Also, you need to be near a water hose or source of water to keep the slide wet.
Mentally map out the area and scout it so everyone has fun safely. It may even be a better idea to draw a simple schematic.
DIY Waterslides Material
Buy a long tarp or plastic sheeting at a hardware store with a thickness of at least 6 millimeters, or 1/5th of an inch. And it should be at least 5 feet to 6 feet wide.
You may need to buy it in sections to reach a full waterslide length of 100 feet at least.
Additionally, make sure you buy light-colored plastic sheeting. Black-colored plastic sheeting will absorb sunlight and potentially become very hot in the midday sun.
Try to get two or three people to help you with assembly. Roll out the plastic sheeting on the hill. Use garden staples as stakes to hold the plastic sheeting in place. Then, cover the tops of the staples with thick duct tape.
You may want to roll the ends of the slide around pool noodles and then use garden staples to stake them to the ground. You will create a soft boundary barrier on both sides so people don’t slide off the waterslide midway. It will take extra effort, but it will be worth it for safety’s sake.
Take a walk along the length of the waterslide. Safe DIY waterslides don’t build themselves, so make sure it looks safe before you let children, teens, or adults run and jump on it.
Squirt cheap dishwashing or shampoo soap along the length of the waterslide. Affix a sprinkler attachment to a water hose at the top of the waterslide so that water flows along the length of the waterslide. You may need 2 to 3 water hoses to get the water slide appropriately wet.
Test it out a few times before letting others use it.
And that is it. You can find many DIY waterslides tutorials online to fit your own personal circumstances.
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