An inflatable water slide provides an incredibly fun playground for kids to use in the garden. But they can be an expensive purchase. When making such an investment, you’ll want to ensure you’re choosing the right one, with good features and quality materials.
There are so many different designs, offering several possible features: water cannons, climbing walls, splash pools – the lot! Inflatable water slides can be very versatile too, used with water on hot summer days, or as dry bouncy castles when the weather is cooler.
There’s quite a lot to consider when buying a water slide, so I’ve put together the following pointers to help you make an informed decision.
How to Pick the Right Size Water Slide
The bigger the better, right? Well, not necessarily!
The size of inflatable water slide that you should buy will be dictated by the size of your garden. Specifically, the flat surface area of your garden – you certainly won’t be able to put these inflatable playgrounds on any slopes or uneven ground.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so you should physically mark out the available space in your garden, using a piece of string or skipping ropes to get an accurate measurement.
Remember that you want to leave a border, as you don’t want the inflatable pressing against your shrubs and flowerbeds. Also, allow for extra room around the edges that are OK to get wet – kids are capable of projectile splashing water for many metres, and you won’t want it anywhere near your washing line!
It goes without saying, but ensure you have enough space to keep the inflatable water slide well away from borders, pet enclosures and fence lines. The neighbours won’t be happy if they have unwanted peepers looking into their garden all day.
Keeping an Eye on Maximum Capacity
It’s great when all the kids can get onto the water slide at once, but this can come with some risks if the inflatable isn’t up to the job.
Too many kids on an inflatable water slide may either burst a seam or cause it to tip over. The manufacturer’s instructions will recommend a maximum weight limit, as well as maximum capacity. If it says three kids aged 3-10, then stick to it – or you might watch your investment deflate before your eyes.
Once everyone knows you have a water slide, they’ll all be angling for an invite, but don’t invite four kids if the waterslide will only hold three. The consequences could be serious.
High-Quality Materials to Look Out For
The best inflatable water slides are manufactured with strong PVC that’s puncture resistant. Inflatable water slides take a lot of beating from energetic kids, so they need to stand up to the task.
Look for good quality PVC or a heavy-gauge vinyl as well as double stitched seams. Chemical grade nylon is a suitably tough material for inflatable water slides too.
The tubing that connects the waterslide to your garden hose should be thick, and the connectors need to be of good quality. It isn’t a waterslide without water, and connections that keeping falling apart will quickly put a dampener on everyone’s fun.
Any material, no matter how tough, will perish if you leave it outside for months on end. Sunlight damages PVC, so once the kids are done playing with their inflatable slide, allow the material to dry and pack it away. Store it somewhere dark and cool.
Deciding if a Slide is Worthwhile Investment
Be honest and really think about how often you’ll use the inflatable water slide.
If it’s so much of a faff that it’s left packed away or makes an annual appearance at a birthday party, then you’re better off saving your money for days out.
However, if you have kids that are packed with energy, or you’re an outdoor kind of family, getting the inflatable water park out on a regular basis will give you lots of value for money.
You might end up spending a few hundred pounds on an inflatable water slide. So, you should compare that cost with how much you’d spend taking your kids out over the summer.
Days out with the family often cost at least £100 a day, if not more. So, an inflatable water slide can be pretty good value in comparison, especially if it’s used many times over the years.
Parents with work commitments over the holidays, like a work-from-home day, might find that a waterslide gives them the peace and time to accomplish their tasks whilst keeping the kids occupied.
Paying Attention to Age Range Limitations
Pay particular attention to age or weight limits on the manufacturer’s instructions.
Inflatable water slides are great fun for all ages, but too much weight makes them dangerous, toppling over or violently bursting a seam.
Most water slides will accommodate kids between the ages of 3 and 10, but bear in mind that a 10-year-old weighs much more than a 3-year-old! If you have three 10-year-olds on the inflatable, it’s likely going to be pushing the boundaries and there might be an accident.
Also, be aware that many inflatable slides require children to access the slide via a climbing wall. Although the climbing walls are usually relatively easy to scale, they will require children to use hand and foot holds. If young kids can’t use the climbing wall, they can still enjoy the rest of the water park. until they gain more strength.
How to Safely Store Your New Slide
Ah, the age-old problem of storage!
Many good quality inflatable water slides are sold with their own carry bag. However, it’s almost impossible to fit them back in unless you have the patience of a saint.
If like me, you tend to lose interest after 4 minutes, you’re going to need a big waterproof garden storage box or a shed to store it in.
Make sure the water slide is completely dry before packing it away or it’ll grow mould and become unusable.
Keep it stored away from extreme temperatures and bright lights, otherwise the material will perish, making it more likely to deflate in the future.
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