Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fun with PVC Pipe

Thanks for letting me be a guest blogger for a minute!!

Having 5 boys, 4 of whom are video, wii, DS game age, is hard on the bank account so when Christmas came around I struggled with what the 8 year olds in particular would love to play with, that would last for a long time and NOT keep them glued to an electronic device.   I finally figured it out!!
MerRy ChRisTMaS guys!!!

This is the ultimate in erector set, bionicle, lego, fort building capacity!!
PVC PIPE and well…PVC PIPE I'll admit there was some confusion Christmas morning when they opened the BIG AWAITED GIFT to find this.  But a mere 20 minutes later and we had THIS...

I cut the pipe into 6 different lengths, 3 ft, 2 ft, 1 ft, 8 inch, 6 inch and 4 inch, about 7 or 8 of each length.  Then purchased connectors; T’s, 45 degree angles, 90 degree angles etc. to go with them.  You can get these in large bags or separately in the plumbing dept of any home improvement store.  The PVC all told was about $35.  The most expensive part of the gift was the bin (gift wrapping size) to put it all in.  You can cut any size lengths we just have a large area to build and therefore made the cuts larger.  Don’t underestimate the value of the smaller sizes in building.  In fact, I’ve been “ordered” to cut some more 4 inches, they can be helpful in creating the right size length when in a pinch.

I color coded my sets (twins like to have their own) with duct tape by labeling each size with stripes, to help in finding the right pieces when building.  It made them look more like a game and also serves as a grip when pulling the pieces apart and inserting them in. 
Note: DO NOT USE THE JUNK PVC CUTTERS (the orange ones on the right)  It is well worth the extra $10. for the metal cutters.  They cut a smoother line leaving no ridges in the plastic and therefore slide more easily in and out of the connectors.  The cheapie plastic cutters leave ridges that make the PVC difficult to remove once connected
This is the Giant that all 4 older boys slept under over their 4 day weekend. I recommend hitting the good will store in your area to purchase some cotton King Size sheets for covers once the awesomeness is complete!  The larger the creation the less sturdy it is for holding up large quilts.  But as you can see here it’s totally possible.
We've also have had our share of guns, swords and other weaponry made from PVC this month!  This summer I’m planning on getting caps for the ends of the pipe and a hose connector.  I’ll drill holes along a few of the longer pieces of pipe and let them create their own water works for the yard.  Every age can re-arrange the PVC to spout water in every which direction.  Wouldn't it be fun to run under THIS shooting out water?

...but even as a plain old Fort it's pretty dang cool!!!

(ALL of the forts pictured in this blog post were made by actual 6-10 year old boys with no parental help.)


JONESIES said...

LOVE this idea. My husband are totally doing something like this for our kids this year. Thanks for sharing your idea!!!

Carla Belyea said...

Saw the picture on pinterest but I had to search your blog for it since the link only went to your main page. Great recommendation about the metal cutters. I have twin boys and this looks like a great building activity.

Pam said...

Glad you liked the idea. It was from my friend Diane who has a bundle of boys! It is hard on Pinterest because if people "pin" a picture from a blog, they really need to make sure they have clicked on the exact post first instead of the general blog or the link won't direct you to the exact spot. Glad you navigated your way there :)

Tammy Cover said...

Hi, I love this idea. I would like to use it for my Parks and Rec program but I would need to submit an itemized list. Do you happen to know how many lengths of PVC you purchased, what diameter, etc?

abbartski said...

This is just awesome! They got the coolest gift ever. Thank you for sharing your creativity with us!
Stay well,

Pam said...

Hi Tammy - My friend actually did this and posted it on my blog. I will check with her to see if she knows measurements. ~Pam