Water race track or lazy river
Here are two ways to let kids play with the magic of a self-created stream. For a race track, purchase a short length of a gutter (the kind on roofs) from your local home improvement store. Set the gutter up against the seat of a lawn chair in the backyard so that the gutter slopes down to the ground. See this Squashed Tomatoes post for an impressive use of trellis, tree stumps and planters to create an awesome stream.
Place a garden hose at the top of the gutter and turn on the water. Kids can float leaves, dandelions and bathtub toys down the waterway. You can even set up two “tracks” side by side and hold a race!
Or, make a lazier river by shaping aluminum foil into a gutter shape and putting it directly on the grass in a place where the ground slopes gently. You can use the hose to create the waterway or let the kids pour water down the river with a cup or bucket.
Editor's note: This story originally published in 2015 and was updated in May 2020.