The Slip ‘N Slide was an iconic toy of the 1960s and 70s. It was invented by Robert Carrier as a toy for his son, and then developed and sold by Wham-O. A certain generation remembers the Slip ‘N Slide commercials that were a staple of Saturday morning ad breaks.
However, people quickly figured out that it was easy to make their own Slip and Slides themselves, and there was no need to buy the product. Today, families around the world enjoy quickly setting up a Slip and Slide on summer days and cooling off while having fun. But how do you make a slip and slide? And how do you make it slippery?
How Do You Make a Slip and Slide?
A commercial Slip ‘N Slide has water tubes down the length of each side of the slide, with holes along the way to release water all the way down the side. You can simulate the same thing by using one or two sprinkler hoses to make your own slip and slide. Sprinkler hoses also enhance the cooling effect of a Slip and Slide, and can make it more fun. To make your own Slip and Slide, you will need:
- A length of sturdy plastic sheeting.
- One or two sprinkler hoses
- Landscape anchor pins
To build a slip and slide, follow these steps:
- Identify a site for your slide. The perfect site has smooth ground, ideally over grass for some protection, and a slight downhill angle. Facing downhill makes it easier to “slide” on the slide, and also encourages the water to run down the slide rather than off to the sides. Make sure you have a generous landing area at the bottom of the slide for safety.
- Lay down your plastic sheeting. Consider folding it in half for more protection from the rough ground beneath.
- Run a sprinkler hose down one or both sides of the sheeting
- Use landscape pins to secure the edges of the plastic sheet and the sprinkler hoses in place. You may need to use a hammer to make sure the pins are as deep in the ground as possible, and on the very edges of the slide, to prevent accidental impact or injury.
- Turn on the water and enjoy!
If you don’t have a sprinkler hose, using a regular garden hose or lawn sprinkler to spray water down the slide can also work, depending on your slide angle and the water flow.
How Do You Make a Slip and Slide Slippery?
In most cases, water alone can make a Slip and Slide slippery. This is especially true if you use a sprinkler hose to ensure the flow of water all the way along the length of the side. However, if you are using a garden hose and the flow of water isn’t enough to make the slide slippery all the way down, or you just want more speed as you slide, here are some ways to make a Slip and Slide more slippery:
Add some liquid soap. Any liquid soap, like dish soap, baby soap, body wash, shampoo, or even bubble bath will make a slip and slide more slippery. You may even get some bubbles that make the slide more fun.
Add some oil. Normal household oils like baby oil, vegetable oil, or olive oil can be used to make a slip and slide more slippery.
Add some lubricant. Many households have jelly-based lubricants like petroleum jelly that can be used to make a slip and slide more slippery.
Use inflatables. Inflatable items like inner tubes will be more slippery on a Slip and Slide than just a person without an inflatable.
When adding extra slipperiness to your slip and slide, keep a few things in mind:
- Oils or jellies may feel greasy and be difficult to wash off after using the slide.
- You may need to use a lot of ingredients. Almost anything you add to a Slip and Slide will quickly wash away to the bottom of the slide. If you plan on using expensive olive oil, remember that you will need to use a lot of it.
- Be mindful of lawn care. Most soaps are damaging and drying for grass, and you may end up with quite a lot of soap at the end of your slide. If you want to protect your landscape, you may want to minimize soaps and detergents.
In other words, there are lots of ways to make a Slip and Slide more slippery, but you may need to experiment to find the solution that works best for you.