Summer is right around the corner. The school will end, and your kids will have glorious freedom for two whole months. Freedom for them means you’ll have to entertain them. There’s nothing better for a kid on a hot summer day than a waterpark. Of course, you still have to work, but why not build your own waterpark right in your backyard? It’s easier to beat the heat this summer without all the lineups, admission fees, traffic, and overpriced hot dogs. With this easy guide, you can build your own DIY home waterpark right away.
To start any backyard waterpark, you need inflatables. There are more inflatables now than ever, and some get pretty elaborate. You can start with a good old-fashioned pool. You can upgrade on that idea with pools that have fountains or will even rain water down through a specialized tunnel. There’s also the classic waterslide option. Some even come with a miniature rock wall (inflated, of course) for the kids to climb. You don’t have to break the bank, either. Consider a small pool filled with water balloons. If your yard is built on an incline, you can’t go wrong with a blow-up slip n’ slide. If you have many inflatables, consider setting up a watercourse for your youngster to navigate. You’ll find a combination that works best for everyone by mixing and matching.
You can get pretty crafty with some do-it-yourself projects. A pinata is always a fun choice and can be made pretty simply with water balloons. You can also go the papier-mache route — it’s only five simple steps.
- First, mix one-part flour with one part of water to create a paste.
- Take your pinata body (blow up a large balloon for this), and cut a lot of newspaper into strips.
- Dip the newspaper into the paste, remove any excess paste, and attach it to your balloon. Leave an opening in your shape so you can fill it with candy.
- Cover the rest of the shape evenly with three or four layers of newspaper.
- Let this dry for 24 hours, and then go inside and pop the balloon. The pinata will retain its shape and is ready to be smashed open. For decoration ideas, consider bright strips of paper to create a lemon or a strawberry.
If you’re really up for some customization, you can build your own sprinkler system. This is pretty cool and can be used to create everything from obstacle courses to run-through kid washes (car washes, water activities, water games for kids!) To do this, you’ll need some PVC piping, some pipe connectors, and a design in mind.
- Measure the pipe to your design, and cut it, then attach it together with the pipe connectors. This could be as simple as a tunnel or more elaborate, depending on how creative you want to be.
- Once you connect the pipe together, drill sprinkler holes in it with a simple drill. Don’t put too many too close together.
- After that, stand it up, and consider decorating it with pool noodles, sponges, and water balloons.
- Don’t forget to anchor it to the ground with u-straps. Then, use a hose connector and run the water through. You’ve officially created your very own water attraction.
You can create your own dunk tank using similar PVC. A simplified version would have someone sitting in a PVC cage with a bucket attached to a target. When something hits the target, the pipe rotates the bucket, soaking whoever sits below. If you want to get fancy, hook up the hose to it. If you use a blocked toilet flusher float valve, the dunk bucket should fill up but not pour its water on its own.
You can even create your own water blob.
- Fold heavy plastic sheeting over itself and duct tape it, or use an iron to seal it closed. Leave a hole so you can fill it with water.
- Use some glitter and coloring, or even small soft toy fish for some added pizzazz.
You can build the classic slip n slide with a sheet of plastic held down by tent pegs. Ensure those pegs are well hammered into the ground so nobody rides into them. This allows you to make as giant a slide as you wish, so teenagers and adults can enjoy it as well.
If you run into issues with water pressure or leaks, know where to find a good handyman.
To cool off, there are many kid’s summer activities you can do and swimming pool games. Take some classic games, like Duck Duck Goose, and add a sponge. Whoever is ‘it’ taps everyone with the sponge until they pick their target (victim) and squeeze the sponge over them.
There’s the cup of chance, where you take a table full of plastic cups. Blindfold the children, and fill only certain cups with water. Lead them to the table, and have them pick a cup. They have to dump it over their heads. If the cup is empty, they survive to the next round.
There’s also the wet potato, where kids pass a water balloon until you stop the music. Whoever’s left holding the balloon must pop it over their own head.
You can play a sponge relay, where you split everyone into two teams, and they must use a large sponge to fill an empty bucket. The bucket is on the other side of the lawn, so they must wet the sponge and empty it into the bucket.
Another variation of a relay is to have each team run a water balloon to a chair and sit on the balloon to pop it before they can return.
There’s always the classic water fight option as well. For a fun or strategic twist, consider a capture-the-flag version. This can be another fun place to add some creative PVC creations to hold the different flags or even to be a watery fortress. Add some fun prizes to really bring out your children’s competitive spirit.
If you have time beforehand, try freezing small toys in a block of ice. You can give the kids safety goggles and have them (safely) excavate the toys with dull tools by breaking up the ice under the hot summer sun. There’s nothing more satisfying for a young one than earning their rewards.
The frozen T-shirt race is another way to cool off. Soak some T-shirts (enough for everyone), and fold them with wax paper between the folds. Take them out on the day, and have everyone race to see who can put theirs on first.
Toys are a great way to foster your kid’s summer fun. You can use water guns for more than simply soaking each other. You can use them for target practice. Try taking a string (or multiple strings, for multiple teams), and have them taut over sections of the yard. Hanging from the strings are plastic buckets or cups. The goal per team is to use their soaker to push the bucket to the end of the string!
There are lots of great water toys out there. Consider a sand and water table for a taste of the beach or the multitude of wading pool options to relax in. Play volleyball with a large, colorful inflatable beach ball. As well, the extremely popular unicorn or rocketship sprinklers are always a fun way to cool off.
Activities for Teens and Adults
There are some great ways to modify these water games for teens or adults. Instead of the classic water balloon fight, consider water balloon dodgeball. With the goal of staying dry, each team tosses water balloons at each other. For a challenge bonus, if you catch the balloon and it doesn’t explode, the thrower is out. A fun variation of dodgeball is doctor dodgeball, where someone on each team is the doctor. They can revive their team, but once out, the team is in trouble.
Another spin on a classic is baseball. There are a couple of ways to vary this. The first is the simple method of replacing the baseball with a water balloon. The second, for added craziness, is to create a baseball diamond out of, you guessed it, slip n’ slides! Each time you make a hit, you slide to the next base. You can buy small versions of this for the young ones, but you’ll have to make it yourself for teens or adults.
Another classic requires a wading pool, a watermelon, and a lot of greases. Cover the watermelon, and toss it into the pool. Whoever emerges and can hold the melon for longer than ten seconds wins the prize.
There’s no shortage of awesome ways to enjoy waterpark-style shenanigans from the comfort of your own home. You will gain the satisfaction of a job well done, and you’ll create excellent bonding moments for your friends and family alike. Bring on the sunshine!