If your Pinterest boards are anything like mine, they are full of amazing ideas that are collecting virtual cobwebs. While I have intentions of actually cooking quinoa in 35 different ways and making all my cleaning products from scratch (actual pins on my boards), I never seem to get around to it. So, one of my goals this summer is to bring some of my Pinterest finds to life (see this post for more on our summer plans: [How We Do Summer]).
I first saw the idea for constructing a Water Blob on the 20 Moms’ ebook: [Camp Mom]. Since then I’ve seen it floating around Pinterest twice more. I’m always on the hunt for activities I think will tickle the fancies of all three of my boys, 18-months and 8-year old twins, and the water blob looked like it fit the bill. I mean, what kid wouldn’t love to play on a super-sized water bed in the middle of his backyard?
2. 1 roll of [Scotch outdoor duct tape] (get the roll with the highest waterproof rating you can find)
3. water hose
Constructing the Blob
1. On a flat surface, preferably a driveway or garage floor, unroll the plastic sheeting and fold it in half.You’ll end up wrestling with grass blades when taping the plastic if you choose a grassy surface.
2. Starting on one end, tape the edges together, creating a water-tight seal. The best method is to work with 2-feet sections of tape at a time. Cut 2-feet of tape, then apply the top half of the edge of tape horizontally to the edge of the top plastic sheet, then wrap the lower half of the tape around the edge of the bottom plastic sheet. To ensure a tight seal, rub the tape back and forth with hand pressure, or use a soup can or similar item. Water will find any “bubbles” in the tape and leak through your seal.
3. Work your way around the blob, leaving a small hole at one corner into which you will insert the hose.
Filling the Blob
1. Put your blob on a very flat surface. Even the slighted slope will cause it to inch toward the bottom of your hill as it fills with water.
2. Insert the hose into the opening you left, and push it into the blob about 2 or more feet. This will ensure your hose stays in as it fills. Find a large rock, low bin or other object with which to prop up the corner of the blob with the water hole. This will prevent water from spilling out of the “bag” when it is nearly full. We used the cover to the [Little Tikes green turtle sandbox], which worked perfectly.
3. It took about an hour to fill, but we liked our blob really full. Toddlers would probably still have a blast with less water, so you could get away with 40 min. or so with younger kids.
4. When your blob is as full as you’d like it, cover the hole with a good amount of tape.
Fun Meter | 5 stars
All three of my boys and their friends had serious fun on this thing. Jax and his little friend loved rolling around on it. (No, I didn’t make him wear the bike helmet in the pictures, he simply insisted on wearing it ALL that day!) The little kids enjoyed trying to walk across it and giggled with joy when they lost their balance and fell.
My big boys (and two of their friends) had big-boy fun! Here are some of the ways they used it:
1. They let the hose run on the top of it and used the blob as a cushioned slip n’ slide.
2. They used it as a wavy trampoline and got some serious air.
3. They balanced on an inflatable body board we have, and had contests seeing who could balance the longest.
4. They played King of the Blob.
5. They made up several games I couldn’t figure out the rules to, but wanted to be a part of, because they were laughing so hard their bellies hurt.
6. They turned the sprinkler on so it hit the blob and ran, jumped, slipped and slid.
7. On days when the blob was dry and they wanted to relax, they laid on the blob’s cool surface to read.
Durability | 2 stars
None of the water blobs on the Pinterest posts I read involved 8-year old boys, so I was curious about how the contraption would hold up to the abuse of two 60+ lbs boys and their friends.
Day 1. With three fourth grade boys jumping, sliding and wrestling on it, the blob wore it’s first hole about 1.5 hrs. into play. I could tell pretty much right out of the gate that a hole was only a matter of time as you could see the plastic stretching beneath their feet when they jumped on it. They continued to have fun despite the hole as plenty of water remained within the bag, but it needed repair for round #2 the next day.
Day 2. I patched the hole with my Scotch outdoor duct tape, and reinforced other areas that looked like they’d open up soon for our second day of play. This patch job did the trick as it took the boys’ abuse for an entire afternoon without wearing another hole. Some of the seems, however, were beginning to give way. These were easy to patch by simply slapping another layer of tape over the leaky areas.
Day 3. The blob wore two more holes by the end of day three, after taking the abuse of my big boys and another one of their friends. I haven’t tried to repair these yet, but at first glance this may be the end of our blob as they appear irreparable.
While the blob would likely last the entire summer when used by toddlers or even preschoolers, kids who can jump with force will probably wear holes in the plastic after several uses. Because my big boys only got three days’ use out of it, I gave it 2 stars for durability.
How I Will Make it Differently Next Time
We will give this project another shot, but I will change my approach in a few key ways.
1. I will use stronger plastic sheeting. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a conveniently sized 10’x25′ roll of anything thicker than 6 mil. I have found 8 and 10 mil that comes in 100′ rolls and cost $150+. I have also found “reinforced poly sheeting” that doesn’t have a mil rating. Even after calling the manufacturer itself to inquire about how it stacks up to 8 and 10 mil non-reinforced sheeting, I still don’t know which product will be a better choice. Home Depot assures me that if I special order it, they will take it back if it doesn’t meet my standards. So, I’ve found a few moms whose big kids would love blobs in their backyards, and we are going to split the cost of the large roll. I’ll let you know the results of this second phase of the water blob when it we’ve put it to the test!
2. In another attempt to increase the strength of the top of the blob, I’m considering using the tape to create a grid pattern – think checkerboard. The places where I patched our original blob held up really well, so I’m thinking that the criss-cross pattern with the tape will significantly increase the durability of the plastic.
3. The other water blob posts I read suggested adding food coloring or glitter to the water for a fun effect. While I may add blue coloring, I don’t think I’d want the hassle of dealing with the glitter upon emptying the water.
All in all, the water blob was tons of fun, I just wished it would of lasted longer. It was enough of a hit, though, to motivate me to find ways to make the thing more durable. While I think the $30 I spent on the plastic and tape is a steel compared to the $65+ I would have paid for three days worth of passes to our community swimming pool, I’d like to get a bit more mileage out of the blob for my money.