After showing a picture of this at a couple of conferences this week I have had a few emails and Facebook messages asking me how you do it, so here is a very quick tutorial. Rest assured it is REALLY easy. After all I managed to make this one and my DIY skills are zero!
The frame can be used indoors or out. You can make it as tall or as long as you would like it to be. Initially adults would construct the frame until the children get the hang of it and then they become very good at making it up themselves. It is a good way of getting construction skills into your water area.
So, what do you need…
I made this one using 22mm waste pipe and 22mm pipe joints. You can pick these up at any DIY store and they are really cheap.
Waste pipe comes is various thicknesses, so you can make your frame ‘chunkier’ by using a fatter pipe!
Pipe joints come in various forms. I chose ‘elbow‘ and ‘tee‘.
Elbow joints are great for corners and tee joints for pouring in and running out.
Speaking of running out. I also needed to buy some 22mm pipe caps to put at the feet of your frame. You need these unless you want a flood! I ended up buying mine from Ebay. They were 7p each.
The only other thing I invested in was a junior hacksaw to cut my pipe with.
Once I had my pipe, joints, caps, hacksaw and a tape measure…I was ready for action!
What to do
- Before you go to the shops draw a rough design of your frame. This way you will be able to work out how many of each joint you need.
- Next, measure the height you would like your frame to be and then treble that number. This should give you a rough estimate for the amount of pipe you will need for a frame like mine. If you are making a bigger/longer one then you will need to add more pipe.
- Go to the shops and buy your goodies (making sure you can fit the pipe in your car! Otherwise you will be sawing waste pipe in the car park…)
- When you are constructing your frame, start with the legs and cut them to equal length.
As most of your ends are going into a joint, then you don’t need to be too neat! I would advise that you use a clamp to steady your pipe as you cut it. If you haven’t got one you will just have to manage by kneeling on your pipe or employing the services of a family member or friend!
- After legs, comes feet. You will need 4 pieces of pipe cut to equal length, one tee joint for each foot and 4 pipe caps.
The pipe should push easily into the joints. If it doesn’t then either you have bought the wrong size or you need a bit of lubrication. You can try putting a bit of Vaseline (or similar) around the joint!
- Once you have got your legs and your feet sorted out then you are woking on the main bar that will run across the top of your frame. For this you need 2 elbow joints and then a number of pieces of pipe and tees. I used 4 tee joints on mine.
- You can use the tee joints for pouring into or running out of. They move quite easily once in place, so the children tend to do their own thing anyway.
- Use the pipe and joints that you have got left to create your ‘down spouts’. Once again I find that the children have very definite ideas about how they want these to work.
It really is very simple but effective thing to make and will help you to add some engagement and challenge to your water play.
Add in a couple of flat bottomed plastic flasks, a bit of liquid water colour and you have got your very own science lab!
If you have a go – send me a picture.
In other ABC news… Granny’s Teeth are coming back!
To be honest, I had never intended for them to go away, but they were requested by The Department of Education and Skills in Wales where they ended up staying for a very long time! I haven’t had any information about what they got up to on their Welsh adventure yet, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will be something to share! But, now they are back on their travels again. If you would like Granny’s Teeth at your setting/house then drop me an email with your address. All you have to do is commit to an activity using the teeth, taking some photos of what you do with them and sending me a brief bit of text to explain what they got up to (Oh, and send them back after about a week)!