When we bought our home four years ago, we fell in love with our backyard. It was quite large, so our boys would have an awesome place to play and run around in, but it also had a pretty decent sized hill. With the Minnesota winters, it would definitely be a great sledding hill. With Minnesota summers usually being quite warm, we wanted to find a way to cool off as well. We had this crazy, fun idea… A giant slip ‘n slide!
Unfortunately, the slip ‘n slides they sell at Target just wouldn’t cut it. We needed something way bigger, not even marketed as a slip ‘n slide. My husband being the handy man that he is, generated a plan (and also fixed some initial kinks), and we now are on our third year of hosting our annual summer slip ‘n slide party at our house for kids and adults alike! Here is how we are able to make our giant slip ‘n slide and make it successful.
- We get a very large plastic sheet from the hardware store (Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards). For our yard size, we need one of the the largest sizes they sell in the store. The sheets also come in thicknesses. They are more expensive, but they are more resistant to tears. For our yard, the cost of the plastic sheet is about $75. There are cheaper options if you do not need a huge size.
- The next step is rolling it out. Once you get it fitted to your yard, you will need to anchor it down at the top. After trial and error, we found that staking it into the ground with metal or plastic posts was not the best. The plastic pulled and the stakes came out often and were becoming a hazard to our guests. We even stuck the stakes into pool noodles first but they still came out. Our solution was water softener salt bags! We set them on the top of the plastic at the top of the hill, folded it over and tucked under. They never moved or tore with all the activity on the slip ‘n slide, and most importantly, no one got hurt. We even use the bags of water softener salt in our home, so they are never wasted.
- We use sprinklers as the water supply: one at the top and one in the middle. They are positioned to only go onto the plastic to maximize wetness and some water pooling. We had one year with rain, which was totally welcomed! A little muddy, but oh so fun!
- The secret to the slip is baby soap. It gives speed and prevents people from getting stuck. We throw down buckets of soapy warm water with baby soap often. Baby soap should be the only thing used because it keeps skin and eyes safe. Hey… kids can even get clean going down; bath night outside!?
- We usually use accessories on our slip ‘n slide for fun and comfort. We have a bunch of donut tubes blown up for people to go down in. Younger kids will sit in their parents laps going down. Yards are bumpy, so you don’t even notice the bumps. Plus, I think the tubes go a little faster! We even have a raft that goes down. We do some fun catching games and have races going down. Everyone has a really good time and we have had zero injuries on the slip ‘n slide. It’s generally a safe activity with a few set rules on when people can start going down the slip ‘n slide.
- In the event of a hot, sunny day, the slip ‘n slide can kill your grass depending on how long you leave it out. Our grass did grow back and it was worth the yellow outline of where the slip ‘n slide was for a few weeks.
In Minnesota, we need to maximize our fun in the summers to make up for all those cold and snowy months. If you or someone you know has any degree of a hill on the property that’s in a good/safe location and has access to a water source, this could be an awesome and fun idea for your summer. My boys look forward to this every year. We pick a weekend in the summer for our slip ‘n slide party and also try to put it out again for my youngest son’s birthday in August. We enjoy making fun memories with our family and friends that also look forward to it. When I ask my kids in 20 years what was one of the best childhood memories they can remember, I’m sure they will say the giant slip ‘n slide!