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Friday, August 3, 2012

Fun Jar Friday #15: PVC Sprinkler Playhouse +4 More Fun Jar Activities

Today's Fun Jar Friday
PVC Sprinkler House
+4 More Fun Jar Activities

As you can probably tell, I love PVC.  What's not to love?  
It's cheap, you can build just about anything with it, and it's like giant tinker toys 
for adults.  So I am bringing you yet another PVC activity.

The best part about this activity is that it can be used in any season.  On the outside, it appears to be an everyday playhouse.  Or clubhouse if that makes your kids feel better.  It can be used for reading.  It keep you dry on rainy days.  Shelter on windy day.  On cold, snowy days, you can bring it inside.  But on hot summer days, that's when the fun starts.  Because what appears to be just a playhouse (or club house) can be hooked up to a hose and made into a sprinkler.

On the inside, water sprays out of the wall structure filling 
the entire house with spray.  And that is non stop FUN.

So here's how you make it.  Now, I have a lot of PVC on hand.  So this was pretty cheap for me.  But if you are just starting your PVC collection, have no fear.  I use the same pieces to make a Kid car wash or I let the kids put the pieces together to make a whole new sprinkler system.  But regardless, 10 feet of PVC is less than $2.  And you can buy a 10 pack of joints for under $5.  So you are really not spending a lot for 
a whole lot of fun.

What you will need
12- 3/4 inch PVC lengths at 2 feet long
16 - 3/4 inch PVC lengths at 2.5 feet long
9 - 3/4 inch elbow joints
9 - 3/4 inch T joints
3 - 3/4 inch cross joints
1 - 3/4 inch PVC hose attachment
2 sheets of waterproof material at 5 feet x 5 feet
3 sheets of waterproof material at 5 feet x 6 feet
duct tape

So, we will begin with the inside structure of the house.  
This is made entirely of PVC.  You can have the hardware store 
cut your PVC for you, or you can cut it yourself with a mitre saw.

On 4 of your 2.5 foot lengths, you are going to drill some holes.   Mark the holes first.  You can do them in a straight line, or alternate them so your water squirts in different directions.  Drill your holes about 6 inches apart so that you have 4 holes drilled.  Your drill bit should be no bigger than 1/8 inch.  In this case, less is more.  You want to create a decent pressure chamber for the water so that it sprays out of the holes throughout the entire structure.  The smaller the hole, and the less holes, the more spray you are going to get.  So if you get it in your head that you want to put holes in the entire structure so that your kids can get the 
ultimate water blast, you are going to be disappointed.

Now we will put our PVC together.  First, put together the sides.  You will need to make 2.  Each side will require 3 - 2 foot lengths, 7 - 2.5 foot lengths, 3 - T joints, 4 - elbow joints, and 1 - cross joint.  Make sure to place the PVC with holes in the correct place.  On the remaining corner, you are going to add an elbow joint to one side.  On the other side you will put a T joint with the hose attachment.  
This is where the hose hooks up.

Now, the remaining PVC pieces are going to be used for the roof.  
Put this together as shown.

Now, attach the roof to the sides.  I'm not going to lie.  This is cumbersome 
and is easier with 2 people. But it can still be done with one.  It is helpful to 
use a rubber mallet to get the pieces together good and tight.  
When you are done, your structure will look like this.

Now, don't get me wrong.  This is not the only way to make this structure.   This is just how I did it.  You can make it anyway that works for you and looks like a box shape.  You can now hook the hose up to the attachment and start the water.  Check to see that your sprinkler pieces are spraying in the direction you want them to. I like to have two shooting a little up and two shooting a bit down.  If nothing is coming out of your holes, check to make sure there are no breaks in the structure.  
There should be no open ends other than where the hose goes.

Once your structure is working, you get to make the walls.  There are a number of ways you can make walls for this house.  Last year I just used dollar store plastic tablecloths and duck taped them to the sides.  This is probably the most frugal way to do it, but it actually took quite a long time to put together.  It did it's job though.

However, it is not reusable this way.  And I wanted something this year that I could use over and over again.  So I purchased some cheap vinyl tablecloths.  You will need 5 rectangular shaped tablecloths with the shortest side being at least 5 feet wide.  You can use any waterproof material though. Shower curtains work good too.  Or purchase you own vinyl.  Whatever you want or is cheapest for you.  

Once you have your fabric, cut it to size.  You need two pieces at 5 feet x 5 feet and 3 pieces at 5 feet x 6 feet.  With right sides together, sew each piece together along the 5 foot side, alternating sizes as illustrated.  
All seams are 3/4 inch.

This does not have to be a perfect science. I didn't even use pins.  Just start sewing at one end and sew down.  Leave the perfection sewing to clothes.  If they ends don't meet up at the bottom.  That's okay too.  just make sure you always start at the same side and the uneven ends are all at the bottom.  

After you've sewn your sides together, sew together the end sides. Right sides together.  So that your material makes a large circle.    Now, the last piece of fabric is your roof.  With right sides together, match the five foot sides and six foot sides of the roof piece to the matching side pieces.  Sew all the way around with a 3/4 inch seam.  And your walls are done. 

Now place the walls on the PVC structure, matching the sides.  Remember, the sides of your structure are longer than the front and back. Don't feel bad if you put it on crooked.  I won't laugh because I did it too.  You can decide if you want the pattern on the inside or outside.  I chose inside because I wanted it to look like a jungle inside and I figured my kids would be in it more than out of it.  

If you live in the mountains like me where it is windy ALL. THE. TIME.  Then tuck the bottoms under the sides of the structures.  This will keep it from blowing off.  And now you get to cut windows and doors.  And, yes, I realize it is slightly big.  I just guesstimated because I was short on time.  I'm okay with that because It's easier to get on.  But feel free to measure the appropriate measurements.  

Again, the art of cutting windows and doors does not have to be perfect. I just eye balled it.  Years from now, your children are going to remember that awesome sprinkler playhouse you made, not that crazy thing with crooked windows.  
Believe me, they.  don't.  care.

To add detail, I lined the windows and doors with duct tape.  

And now it is time to have some fun!  Turn on the sprinkler, find your kids' swim suits, chase down the kids, put the swim suits on, take them off to go potty, put them on again, hunt down some towels, realize they are wet in the washer, grab old towels and an hour later your kids will be just as happy as my kids!

Now For Some Bonus Fun Jar Activities!

#1 Frozen Banana Bites

I love frozen bananas in the summer.  They are healthy, yummy and refreshing!  
For these, melt chocolate in a deep bowl or candy melter.  You can use 
whatever melting chocolate you want.  I used white chocolate because it was what I had.

Cut a bamboo skewer in half and cut off the pointy end because you know they will end up as weapons.  Cut up bananas and spear them with the bamboo skewer.  Don't go all the way through the banana or it will slip right down the skewer.  Dip the banana in chocolate and position upright to dry.  The bottom of an egg carton, styrofoam, or a cardboard box with holes punched in work great for this.  

Provide the kids with several different toppings to sprinkle on the bananas.  Kids like choices.  Let them top it with what ever they want and then place the bananas in the freezer for about an hour.  Yum!

#2 Water Balloon Pinata

I originally saw this idea on Scrap Happy Heather.  Basically, you hang full water balloons from a high place.  I used kite string to hang them and our monkey bars.   And then you whack away at them with a stick, getting soaked as they break.  I decided to use fun noodles as our whacking stick because the kids were hitting at the same time and I didn't want anyone hurt.  I actually thought these would break right away considering how many burst while I filled them.  But it took some considerable power to get these to break.  They might have broken better 
with a stick or something harder.  So use your best judgment.

#3  Make Lemonade

We used a very basic lemonade recipe:
1 3/4 sugar
8 cups water
juice from 8 lemons
yellow food coloring (optional)

I let the kids juice the lemons with our juicer.  Lots of fun for them.  In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil and dissolve sugar.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  Add lemon juice and and remaining water.  Mix well.

Now you have lemonade.  This is yummy just as it is and the kids will feel great that they helped make it.  But here's a tip:  Add a popsicle to a glass of lemonade to make an easy flavored lemonade.  Use the popsicle to stir it together.  
The one pictures is a pomegranate lemonade! 
This works best with popsicles made from real fruit.

#4  Blanket Bubble
There are many different ways to do this activity.  I first saw it last year using plastic at Play At Home Mom.  This is probably the way the get the biggest bubble. Although I absolutely loved this idea, the idea of surrounding my child in plastic made me nervous.  So, I got the idea to use blankets.  

Unfortunately, someone beat me to it, because the idea of using a duvet cover which is already put together for you.  I liked the idea, but the only duvet covers I have a twin sized and I didn't like the idea of the doorway being where the fan was.  

So I decided to use two King sized sheets.  You can find these for cheep at a thrift store or Walmart sells them in packs with only the flat sheet instead of the flat/fitted sheet combo.  These are a little more spendy at just under $15 a sheet, but it comes in many different colors and patterns to choose from.  

All you have to do is place the two sheets right sides together and sew around the edges of the sheets with a 3/4 inch seam.  On one side, you are going to leave two holes.  Near one corner you will leave a hole big enough for your fan and near the other corner, leave a hole big enough to crawl through.  These should be on the same side of the blanket or else your bubble will be quite literally a flop.

Attach your fan in the fan hole and turn it on full blast. You can either tape it,  or place the fan a little inside the blanket.  If you have a box fan, this would be best.  I had a little rotating fan and felt like it needed more power.  But once the fan turns on, the bubble will start filling and the kids can crawl in.  If you have squirmy kids, I suggest doing what you can to weight the fan in place.  I had to pick the fan up several times because of my wiggly, wrestly kids!

Until next time, Tiffany

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