I'm learning that the simpler the feature, the more the kids play. This feature took 15 mins to make and thus far is the most popular in our backyard play scape.
I used 3/4 thick PVC pipes, three 90• elbow fittings and one hose to PVC pipe fitting. I drilled holes through the top of the structure, spacing them out about 3" wide. The kids love running through the structure but also love trying to escape the water by going between the streams (the drill spacing). I used PVC cement (glue) to hold the pipes together.
Total cost is less than $10!
We have a tall deck but you can install these anywhere in the backyard. The tunnels are made with black PVC pipes! 10 minutes to make, hours of fun!
I chose a 10ft 4" wide pipe. I cut it in half to make two 5ft tunnels (any hardware store will cut them for you). I added 90• elbows to the ends of each and tied the pipes to our deck railing.
I scored a huge bag of bounce house balls for $3 at a yard sale. You can buy these anywhere for about $20 though.
I chose these because they're soft and perfect for sorting activities. We count the balls as they go down and have the kids drop them by color.
Add to the fun by having other kids hold buckets and catch the balls as they are dropped. Or, give them tennis rackets/bad mitten to hit the balls as they shoot out. The activities are endless!
As an extended feature, I added hoses nearby so the kids can shoot water down the pipes!
From below, we use funnels to catch the water.
This is a fun sand play area. The pirate ship is washed up on a beach. Kids can play with sand in and out of the ship. It's such a fun theme for dramatic and active play. I used PVC pipes to create the sling shot, filled the beach area with real beach sand, placed several pirate accessories around and built a fun hose powered water station.
Our season buckets. Here the kids learn about the items associated with each season.
Our kids just love experimenting with gravity and water. I made them these wall and deck activities with a quick stop at our local hardware store.
Here's a magnet ball and tunnel system. I picked up a sheet of metal and used base board frames to create the border. The tubes are made of clear ketchup dispensers and fastened together with electric tape. I fastened the magnets to the back and lined the tubes up in various ways to create a fun and interactive play.
I call this tunnel system tulips and tunnels. We combined the clear ketchup bottles with PVC pipes and connectors. The tunnels are attached with grey plastic electrical fasteners. The tulips are attached with velcro so the kids can pick flowers
I recently created this fun water station for the kids. The rectangular buckets are holding water balloons, water play toys, bubble solution and materials to make the bubbles. I hooked various bubble wands beside the bubble section so the kids can play with the bubbles on impulse. The square pieces are from home depot. They are rubber so the kids won't make a muddy mess. On the sides of the water structure are water spray guns for a water show down. Each part of the water structure has on/off valves so the kids can manipulate the various functions of the structure.
I placed large red buckets beneath the water structure for sensory play. Mr. Bubbles solution is a huge hit. The suds erupt all over the floor and the kids just love it! The structure itself is made of white PVC pipes and various water valves/sprinklers.