How to Make a Slip and Slide Slippery the Safe Way
A slip and slide is an easy way to keep children amused for hours. The entertainment can be
made at home with tarps or heavy plastic. The biggest problem will be ensuring that the surface
is slippery enough – water alone seldom works efficiently.
The key to any entertainment is ensuring safety. Be sure to set it up away from utility lines,
fences, structures, sprinkler heads and other items that can cause an injury if children slide into
A successful slip and slide begins with choosing the best plastic for the task. Visqueen is a good
choice as it’s highly durable. Select plastic that’s at least 6 mil.
Water is a critical element in a slip and slide and must flow from the top to the bottom. The
device must have a steady stream of liquid available at all times to avoid dry areas that can
result in friction burns. It can be helpful to place holes in an old hose and place it at points along
the way to ensure saturation of the plastic. There should be good drainage to avoid turning a
pristine lawn into a mud pit.
A bottle of tearless baby shampoo will work wonders for ensuring a lubricated surface. Many
people use dishwashing liquid, but it’s never a good idea. The soap will get in youngsters’ eyes,
resulting in irritation and pain.
Some have found that rubbing household wax paper over the plastic makes for a slippery
surface. Other alternatives include olive oil, baby oil or vegetable oil. Just remember that oils
are difficult to remove from the skin without a shower. Try to locate an environmentally-
A responsible adult should always be available to ensure the safety of users. Don’t let another
slider take their turn until the person before them has cleared the plastic. Unsupervised slip and
slides can result in serious injuries if basic, common sense safety precautions aren’t observed.