For Rainbow Baby’s first birthday we wanted to get her something fun. I came across this intriguing DIY on Instructables. It showed a simple toddler play splash fountain to frolic in, made of a storage box, a fountain pump, and some pipes with elbows and caps. It looked perfect for refreshing summer play and it would be a great activity for baby’s 1st birthday party with its poolside mermaid theme.
After I convinced my husband to help me and ordered a small submersible pump on-line, the kind designed for a backyard pond or aquarium. The instructions called for sprinkler pipes that I could not easily find. I was sure it could work with 1/2 inch pvc pipe, which we had plenty of in the shed (I consulted my very handy dad and he agreed). I bought a sturdy storage box at Costco and drilled holes for drainage in the top, and another notch in the side to pull the fountain cord through. Using it in a GFI outlet was a given. If you are plugging into a regular outlet, you will need a GFI extension cord for safety. Electricity near water needs the GFI function.
After having to pay for several feet of plastic tubing (to connect the pump to the PVC) when we only needed a few inches (grrrr), we started cutting the PVC pipe to form the base that comes out of the clear tube and branches off into four pipes that pop out of the top and on which we created the cool squirting features (see the Instructables detailed photos).
The most difficult part was drilling holes in the storage box lid in the right places, so that the pipes pop out straight. After widening the holes several times we were through the lid. Now came the fun part. I created four different configurations with elbows and caps (with holes drilled in the end of the caps for water to squirt through). My favorite might be the longer pipe that I drilled a series of holes in, so that it looks like a tiny wall of water spraying down.
Before gluing the pipes together with PVC glue, I tested the water pressure in my configurations. My first attempt was too tall for the little pump I had purchased. I had to cut down my squirting tower because my pump did not have enough power to push water all the way to the top of it with any real force. It sort of dribbled sadly until I trimmed it down.
I tried to avoid the gluing part, but a tiny gentlemen in my test group, at the party, unbuilt it pretty quickly. The glue is necessary, I assure you. It is now the highlight of our hot afternoons for both baby and her cousin, and enjoyed by all of our little friends and relatives. Two year old cousin, in fact, jumps, squeals, and strips off his clothes at the mention of it – presumably to get into his swim trunks. Auntie may have allowed skinny dipping in the fountain when his trunks were not readily available. Maybe. There is no proof, though.
We have to be creative to stay cool in south Florida! This has been a winner. What do you do to stay cool? You can find more summer fun here!
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