Ride A Really Wild Water Slide

Turn any open, grassy space in your backyard into a DIY water adventure park. With only your garden hose, a super-slippery tarp or plastic sheet, and a few other items, you can make a wild backyard waterslide that will keep kids splashing and sliding all afternoon long!

What You'll Need

  • A grassy, open area that's completely free of obstacles such as trees, rocks, walls, and fences
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • A large, heavy-duty, clean, smooth vinyl tarp or a wide roll of heavy-duty plastic sheeting that measures at least 6 feet wide
  • Pool noodles—enough to line both long sides of your slide
  • Duct tape—outdoor or waterproof works best, but ordinary duct tape usually has some water resistance
  • Tent stakes or landscape pins
  • A garden hose that's long enough to reach your slide's starting point
  • A sprinkler hose or soaker hose that's as long as your slide
  • A large squeeze bottle of environmentally friendly, natural dish soap, baby soap, or baby shampoo

Get Ready…

1. Determine where to place your slide—choose a soft, grassy area. Both flat and gently sloped areas will work. If your yard is flat, allow space around the slide's starting area for kids to get a running start. Always position the slide so it ends in a large, open space with a safe landing.

2. Carefully scan the ground for any sharp, rough, or otherwise dangerous objects, like rocks, sticks, and thorns. Also check for tripping hazards, including ruts or sunken areas: If you find any, pack them with dirt or sand.

3. Use the measuring tape and scissors to cut the tarp or plastic sheeting to the length you want.

4. Lay the tarp or plastic flat on the ground to create your slide.

5. Lay the pool noodles end-to-end atop the long edges of the slide, just inside the perimeter of the tarp or plastic. (These noodles will become soft side bumpers that help keep the water—and the sliders—on your slide.) If the noodles are longer than the slide, cut the excess foam away with scissors.

6. Wrap the edge of the tarp or plastic over and around each pool noodle to enclose it, then secure it with a length of duct tape. Work your way all the way down the length of the slide, then repeat on the other side.

7. Anchor the corners and top edge of the tarp or plastic to the ground securely using the tent stakes or landscape pins. Push each one through the tarp or plastic until it's flush with the ground. Add more stakes or pins to the sides if needed.

8. Attach your garden hose to your outdoor faucet.

Get Set…

1. Right before it's time to slide, saturate the entire surface of the slide using the garden hose.

2. Attach the end of the garden hose to the sprinkler hose, then lay the sprinkler hose along the top or inside one long edge of the slide. Position it so the maximum amount of water lands on the slide's surface. If it won't stay put, secure it with more duct tape.

3. Apply a thick stream of dish soap, baby soap, or baby shampoo from the squeeze bottle to the slide's surface. Use a zig-zag pattern to stream about 1 cup of soap all over the slide, leaving some space uncovered. The soap will mix with the water to make the slide super-slippery!

4. Make sure the slide is completely wet before and during use.


Note: Always supervise young children during water play.

1. Get kids into their bathing suits and teach them the rules for safe sliding:

  • Only one person may slide at a time.
  • Do not stand or walk on the slide.
  • Keep your arms and legs away from the hose.
  • Slide on your backside, back, or tummy, but never on your feet.
  • When you're done sliding, crawl or roll off the edge of the slide, then walk on the lawn to get back to the start.

2. Line everyone up in the starting area, make room for the first slider to take a running start, then begin sliding!

Add more water or reapply soap as needed to keep your slide completely wet and super-slippery. After the play, rinse both sides of the slide clean, then allow the slide to dry completely. Loosely fold or roll it for storage. As long as it stays free of tears or holes, you can continue to enjoy your slide throughout the summer!