Giant Outdoor Waterbed

My son loves jumping on the air bubbles that are caught under the sheets on my bed when he pulls them in the air and brings them back down quickly.  I have also been trying to think of something different to do with the tarp from my BUBBLE BOY post.  This is what I came up with……our outdoor waterbed.  He had so much fun and it lasted for a good 45 minutes before it sprung a leak!  Who knew Duct Tape was so strong!!??  I would recommend reinforcing all the side with extra duct tape.  I was so excited about doing it that I didn’t take the time to reinforce the sides and make it really strong.  It probably would have lasted longer had I done that.
Basically all I did was use the tarp from the Bubble Boy ( <—– CLICK ON LINK FOR BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS) post and filled it with hose water and blue food coloring.  Its like a giant sensory mat/squishy bag/waterbed all in one.  I had intended on adding things to the water….like fish or balls, but we got so caught up in the fun that I totally forgot.
THIS WAS MADE WITH ONE TARP (10′ X 25′ – 3.5 mil)

watching the water pour in
touching the water as it splashes against the tarp
blue food coloring added….time to run
“Mommy, Im in water and I’m not getting wet.”
Daddy had to check it out.
“I can see underwater.”
See how full it is?  It got even bigger but he got naked, of course, so there are no more pics.
Here are some pictures from 2014.  My how they have all grown!!!DSC_0171_edited-1
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56 Responses to Giant Outdoor Waterbed

  1. How fun! Can I just say, although you may be tired of hearing it, thank you so much for the wonderful interactive ideas you post. My daughter and I had a great time painting the snow this morning in CO. I thought of you guys when she was having a hard time holding the bottle with her gloves…she wanted to take them off. My gut reaction was NO it is cold outside. Then I channeled my PAHM and said sure it will be easier to hold. She had cold hands for a little bit, but had SO much fun. I love you guys!

  2. Leyna619 says:

    haha–I have a chronically naked little guy, too, and was just about to comment that “Wow–looks like so much fun! AND he’s got clothes on!” But then I read the rest of the post, so I guess we’ll just stick with the first part–looks like fun! :) And perfect for pretty weather that’s just a tad too cool for full-on water play (although I think our boys would agree that it’s never too cold to get naked!)

    Thanks for keeping me inspired. Even when we don’t have the supplies on hand to try your ideas, I’m always encouraged to just shop my house and make something fun happen for my kiddos.

  3. Desert-Mama says:

    I got a free waterbed mattress off of a site called freecycle here… craigslist is all over the place too… and I filled it with air and they played on it for MONTHS before it popped… but after about a week, we put about 3 inches of water in the bottom so the wind in AZ wouldn’t take it away!

  4. How much food coloring did it take to make all the water that blue? I love it! You do such fun things with your son. I think it might be cool to add some flimsy plastic fishes so my niece can watch them “swim” as she moves on it.

  5. bs says:

    that’s great! after reading through your posts for a bit i had a question… how do you balance babyproofing with all this empowerment? do you babyproof? it’s something that seems to come up a lot in asides and comments and i think a post on the topic from one or two of you would be interesting. thanks again for all the great ideas!

  6. Vikki Lynch says:

    I just tried the Bubble Boy thing today!!! I was proud that it actually worked just like in your post!! But my son was kind of playing rough in it and now there are several rips in it! Have to get more plastic for the ‘Redneck waterbed’!!!!

  7. Mandee says:

    Gorilla tape works really really well! I used some to patch our slip and slide and it lasted all summer. It seems a little more sturdy than duck tape!

  8. salemama says:

    I wondered how you actually did it, besides folding the plastic in half and taping it on three sides? How did you get the water in, then seal off the hose hole? Looks like great fun, can’t wait to try it!!

    • eli says:

      I did this today with my preschool class. It really works, and I had up to 8 4-year olds on it at one time -not that I recommend that many but I was thrilled that the “water bed” held. I used the Gorilla tape liberally. I was worried about the space I left for the hose, but it was no problem. I kept the opening as small as possible, used the corner on the edge where I folded the plastic sheet in half. Once I had the water in (I used a whole bottle of blue food coloring for color, one of the bottles that comes in the multicolor pack)I took the hose out, lifted the corner so that the water was away from it, dried it with a towel and taped that sucker as thoroughly as I could. It never leaked. From there anyway. We did have pinprick leaks here and there but the water level never went down and the kids had a blast!

    • Thank you for sharing this! I love that people are actually doing our redneck waterbed – so cool! What an incredibly fun preschool teacher you must be. What did the parents/co-workers think? LOL AK

  9. We are doing this tomorrow. I am using the plastic sheeting bags you can get for covering your mattress during a move. Then I only have to worry about taping one side. I am so excited!

  10. Lenetta says:

    We made one today! I cut the tarp in half and half again and it’s still a good size for my 5yo. I put it at the base of her slide and also put some water on top for splashing. I’m not sure how well it’s holding, but I closed it up by folding strips of gorilla tape over the cut edges, then rolling that in twice and taping the roll down with more gorilla tape. I used the whole roll and had to seal the water hole with duct tape though! :) she’s been between that and hee Muskie kitchen all afternoon, so I’d say it’s a hit!! Thanks!

    • I have to tell you that this idea was literally something that just popped in my head one day and I just tried on a whim. I was thrilled that it worked, that it was so fun, and I LOVE reading about others who have tried and enjoyed it! Thank you for sharing. Its like having a job and creating something you think is so great and having other people think its great, too. (Im a dork). LOL

      THANK YOU for sharing your story.

  11. Meg says:

    I have tried this twice with no luck. The kids wanted it to work very badly but our yard is not level and even with it on the flattest spot, the weight of the water would cause it to roll down to the steep part of the hill. It was quite a sight actually. I would love for it to work for us if anyone has ideas.

    • Amy says:

      Hi Meg!

      Has it worked for you yet ?

      Try maybe making a platform for it I don’t know how small your child is , or even using a wooden pallet can help. Also instead of duck tape use a iron and parchment paper to iron the plastics to seal it longer than the duct tape. I used the flex seal spray as seen on tv and it helped with the leaks.
      Hope these ideas help you and your kids have some fun .
      Amy, N.Y

  12. Janelle says:

    There is something also called gorilla tape that is stronger than duct tape and waterproof. It worked great when I used it to patch a whole in the blow up kiddie pool. Just seems that if it sits in the sun the sticky part will melt a little. But that might be a good option for this! FUN!!

  13. Brenda says:

    We did this last summer and had a blast!! I didn’t find it on this site but I’m glad you posted! It’s a blast!!!

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  15. Tracy says:

    This looks awesome!! Could you please tell me a few things?
    1. After you finish, you drain each time, using it all summer?
    2. Do you make a new one ever summer
    3. How durable is it, like ages 1-5 are a good age?
    4. Will ages 6 – 10 destroy??

    Thank you in advance!

  16. Sherri says:

    We made your Bubble Boy and had a blast! Now I want to try your Redneck Watered. Did you just fold it over which means you have 3 sides to tape?

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  20. Kirsten says:

    Has anyone in australia tried this? I’m having trouble finding the sheeting :( how thick does it need to be ? The thickest I can find is 1mm

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  26. Trista says:

    LOVE this! What a seriously amazing idea! There was one at our church picnic yesterday and my daughter was so entertained. It was hard to tear her away. Can’t wait to make our own!

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