Monday, May 14, 2012

Tubes and Pipes.

We have this game we play every year that started about three or four years ago.  Alex loves to do in the summer, every summer without fail.  It's called Tubes and Pipes.  I have no idea where the idea originated from but my guess it was out of sheer desperation.

Anyway, here's what you'll have to have your husband do.  Go to one of those big home improvement stores and hit the plumbing section.  Get the longest section of 1/2 inch pipe that will fit into your car.  Don't do what we did and get the longest section that's available.  You will have to cut the damn thing down in the parking lot but first cuss like a sailor because the pipe cutter is, ironically, in one of those packages that's hermetically sealed and takes a miracle and about a thousand cuss words to open.

Get valves, spigots, three way connectors, four way connectors, T-connectors and anything you think your kids would like.  Better yet, have your kid go with your husband so they can pick them out together.  Just make sure all your connectors are for the same size pipe/tubing.  Again, you can benefit from our mistakes.....

Pick up that pipe cutter and some sandpaper as well.

Also, don't forget to ask Bevis at the store for a connector to hook this whole mess up to your hose.  This is very important.  You will have one pissed off kid if you make it this far and can't get the damn thing hooked up to the hose.  Please don't ask me how I know this one small, yet very important, fact.

See those gold metal things in the upper left?  That's
what connects the whole mess to your hose.  

When you get everything home, cut the 1/2 inch tubing down to smaller sections with your pipe cutter.  Use sandpaper to soften the edges of the pipes---they will be sharp!  Throw them all into a big bucket or some other storage bin so you can drag them out and into the yard.

This is what it will look like, a big mess of tubing, valves and connectors:


But this is what you kid will be doing all summer:


We've been doing this for the past three or four summers now.  As soon as it gets remotely warm, Alex asks to play Tubes and Pipes.  I've never really figured out what the appeal is to this project, all I know is he enjoys it immensely.

He goes out and builds things and makes the water travel through the pipes.  He makes structures and tests its stability so it will hold water when it's applied.  He changes the water pressure and alters the direction of water flow by plugging sections of tubing and using his shut-off valves.


I know Alex is not so interested in standard toys so when he gets excited, and I mean really excited, about something, I figure there's a high possibility that someone else may find this helpful, or at least that's my hope.  

If you have any questions or if I missed out a vital part, which I'm sure I did, please ask me in the comments and I'll see what I can do to help.



As an aside, I'm not trying to take credit for this project/game as I know its been done before.  Seriously, I'm not that creative.   I honestly have no idea where we got the idea from so if you're out there looking for a Copyright infringement let me know who you are so I can link accordingly. 

31 comments:

  1. I'd write a comment, but I'm busy making another shopping list for my husband for home depot.
    Thank you for this!

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  2. I know a certain little girl who would think this is the best summer activity ever. Thanks!

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  3. What a cool idea! I'd love to have it as an SPD DIY for the SPDBN! (hint, hint)

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  4. Oh heck yes! Casey would love this! We're totally doing this. Thanks, Lizbeth

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  5. Yeah, that's one of the best ideas I've seen in a while. We totally have to make that Home Depot trip for that stuff. You know I'll pay good money for anything that keeps my kid occupied for five minutes.

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    1. I know, 5 minutes! Totally worth it.

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  6. That's awesome! I think we'll drill holes along one side of the tubes so the water will spray out..... I think I saw something along those lines on Pinterest, and they called it a "kids' carwash...." Way better than running through the sprinklers.
    Thanks for this amazing idea!

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    1. Now that's a good idea! I never saw the car wash thing till now, it's pretty cool!

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  7. This is brilliant and I SO get it! Alex is just like my boy. He loves to watch the flow of water too. On our local stoney beach he re-arranges the stones, where the river flows into the sea and watches the water flow through his new pathways! He can do this for hours! While I read my book.

    My boy would love this...connecting things would go down well here too. But first we need a summer...it's bloody cold here!

    xx Jazzy

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    1. Cold, ugggh. You need summer for this!!! And that's what I do, its one of the few times I can sit!

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  8. Oh my god. Lizbeth, sometimes I nearly fall over because of the crazy/wondrous things you and I live. Seriously: I had to show this to The Man, and we were both snickering, because Jack would LOVE THIS. We've been doing our own version of "tubes and pipes" for a while now, but with MARBLES instead of water. Oh the elaborate marble runs the kid was building...

    ...and then destroying when the marble wouldn't go through the right way.

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    1. YAY!! We have marble mazes over here we use in the winter...he tries to make roller coasters out of them. I bet Jack does the same? Either way, I love it!

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  9. Well, I just figured out what Tate is doing this summer. Oh. Muh. Gawsh. He'll be in heaven. I will be trying to figure out a way to afford our water bill! :)

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    1. They have a shut-off valve you can add to your hose so you can limit the water flow..... :)

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  10. OMG...where were you 10 years ago!!! Ha!

    What an ingenious idea (whoever thought of it)! I will of course give YOU credit since I read it here first.

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  11. That looks like lots of fun! Sadly, though, Toots would simply assume foreman duty and sit back in a lounge chair drinking juice while instructing me which parts to put together. This is not my idea of a good summer activity though, so I'm gonna pass on this one... unless you'll send Alex to my house! Then, I will totally go to Home Depot myself and buy every last 1/2 inch pipe, valve, connector and bit of sandpaper they have! C'mon, you want to come to California, right? ;)

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    1. I so do want a trip to California!!!

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  12. Sooooooo, this is why Home Depot didn't have that plumbing part I was looking for!!!

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  13. This looks like fun! I will have to get my dad to do all the cutting and sanding, since I am not allowed to play with power tools any more. But Zane will love it!

    Also, I think that I know a couple of the kids that I see at work who would adore this as a project, and I'm going to talk to their parents!

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  14. oh bugger! You had to post this just as we are coming into winter didn't you?! LOL

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  15. Wow I am so doing this cut and paste (in few weeks though)This is awesome.

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  16. Oh, yeah, this is gonna be great! Danny is on a huge inventions and concoctions kick and this could keep him busy for a while. Better yet, I think we actually have some of that PVC pipe stuff left over from a previous project.

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  17. I so need to do this! My kids would love it.

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  18. This looks like something the boys would really like. Although we'll have to have 2 sets and one in the front yard and one in the back yard, because God forbid anyone work together. That is if I can get them to stay at home and not have me at the pool all summer. I hate public pools. All I can think of is everyone swimming in a vat of pee heated by the sun.

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