Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Flowing Water = Happy Kids

We have several buildings on our four acres including a barn, silo, machine shed, several three-ways (lean to's) and two closed buildings which were for livestock.  The largest of the closed buildings is being converted into Andy’s shop (I'm sure he will get on soon and bore excite you with his shop conversion).  When we first looked at the house, we decided  that the smaller of the closed buildings would be perfect for a kids’ playhouse.  (Dreaming of a tube slide coming out the top...)

Playhouse is on the left; Andy's shop on the right
 We are in the process of cleaning out the playhouse (our best find was an old outhouse toilet!) but meanwhile, we are creating some activities for the kids to play with around the exterior.  I'm thinking Children's Museum meets Green Acres.  So, our first project for the play area is a water wall.  I got the idea from this picture I found on Pinterest:

I have been collecting bottles for a week or so.  Andy brought home several wood pallets from work (7 of which we used for the compost bins) which I thought would make the perfect base.  The only purchase we had to make for the wall was tubing from the hardware store which came out to $5. 

The pallets are very splintery, so I used a trim router from Andy’s shop with a round-over bit  to smooth out the edges.

It’s not perfect, but it did take away the worst of the splintering on the edges.

These are the containers that I ended up having to work with:

Let's take a moment to notice how many water bottles and yogurt containers we have.  Go Petersons!

I tried to lay out my plan but the bottles kept moving and rolling, so I gave up and winged it.  I used screws to attach the bottles and clips to attach the hose.

I poked holes in some of the bottles for a strainer effect and cut holes in others to get the water to flow in different ways.  Getting the tubing to work was the hardest; I had to redo several of these.  I was most successful if I attached the bottle first, put water in it, then poked the hole for the tube where the water pooled most.  It’s not perfect, but I got the water to flow through all the tubes and bottles.

If my kids were older, I would have had them help with the project but right now, we would have been fishing screws out of Fs mouth the whole time and E would have insisted on “doing it herself” which would have resulted in a screwing disaster.  Also, I would have probably made the wall so the kids could change the bottles/tubes but right now, that is a bit out of their league.  Maybe in a few years… for now, they love it just as it is!
I realized it was too tall to pour from the top, so I grabbed a random stool from an outbuilding and a stump to make a natural-looking ladder.  The cans at the bottom were also left in outbuildings. 

While E was busy playing with her new wall, Andy cut up a large stump into steps and I placed them on the other side of the playhouse (after spreading mulch in that area).  E LOVES this!

Also notice the fence in the background which was another outbuilding find!
What ideas do you have for our Children's Garden?  I'm thinking pot and pan music wall and crawl-though vine-covered tube but what else have you seen at museums?  We are hoping to be the envy of our "neighborhood"!

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