Make your own slip and slide for cheap summer fun in Chicago

Every year right around the start of summer, I head to my favorite big box store and scoop up a couple of new Slip ‘n Slides. I have two boys who like to test the limits of those hose-powered plastic runways with their tricks and speed, so the slides never, ever live to see another summer. Sometimes I have to buy three.

Last year we decided to make our own sturdier, more customized version using inexpensive supplies from our local hardware store. It lasted all summer and is ready to be rinsed off and used again this year. Here’s how we made our awesome water slide:

Start by clearing any debris from the ground beneath your water slide path. This might be your most important step. Nothing kills the fun like sliding over a rock. Our boys helped us collect all rocks, sticks and other dangerous bits from the grass beforehand. It’s a MUST DO.

Next, simply unroll the thick plastic sheeting and determine how long and wide you want your slide to be. Cut off extra length if necessary.

About an inch from the top of the slide, secure the slide to the ground by pounding in garden staples along the edge so that they are completely flush to the ground.

Cover the top of the staples with a length of duct tape and wrap ends under plastic sheeting.

Finally, power up the garden hose and wet down the slide before you begin. Adding a squirt of sudsy dish soap every now and then makes it extra-crazy fun.

We like to use inexpensive pool doughnuts or rafts underneath us as we fling ourselves down, for added speed and cushion. This is especially nice for us parental units who just aren’t as limber and agile as we once were.

NOTE: It’s good to keep a grown-up nearby to check on the action and make sure everyone is safe as they have some of summer’s best kind of fun.


  • Clear plastic tarp or plastic sheeting with a thick “gauge.”  We chose the thickest gauge we could find. Plastic sheeting can be folded over so that you can customize the width.
  • One package of garden or lawn staples
  • Duct tape
  • Inexpensive pool “doughnuts” or very small rafts
  • Basic garden hose
  • Cheap dish soap

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