Make a Garden Hose Coaster
The Garden Hose Coaster
Here is our video demonstrating the Garden Hose Coaster. It was a lot of fun to build, and we incorporated a few of the kids toys.
Entertaining & Educational
Building a garden hose coaster is not only simple, but very educational for kids. Creating the coaster is a STEM activity that involves engineering and science.
The science involves newtons laws, gravity, mass, friction, energy, inertia and more. From an engineering perspective they learn how to build a track to take the weight of the ball, especially around corners. The more creative the track, the more engineering. You can encourage more engineering by including bridges and tunnels in the track design, and by making the track cross itself.
What You Need
Making the garden hose coaster needs just 3 things:
1) A Garden Hose: Any garden hose will do, but the longer, and more flexible the better. You can even use multiple hoses if you have them available.
2) A Ball: A tennis ball is the perfect size for this garden hose coaster, but you can use other similar size balls. Too small, and you have to really make sure the distance between the 2 rails is perfect, and if the ball is too big, you need to really make the cornering angles perfect.
3) A Slope or Multiple Levels: The garden hose coaster is powered by gravity, so you need to start at a high point, and end at a low point. A gradual slope is great, but you don't want anything too steep. You can also use multiple levels like large steps.
Building the Hose Coaster
To start building the coaster, just grab the two ends of the hose and place them about 6cm apart. Then just continue to lay out the track like roller coaster rails.
When you get to a corner, you will find that the faster the ball is travelling, the steeper the corner will need to bank. This is due to the inertia of the ball.
Continue to lay out the track until the end. The design is all up to you.
Here are some of our tips for building the harden hose coaster.
Give the ball some speed to begin by setting up the start of the track on a box or something high. Around 30cm is a great head start.
Test As You Go
If you continue to use the same ball, and it starts at the same starting point, it should follow the exact path each time. This is helpful to test your track. We encourage you to test your track often.
Make it Fun
Grab as many items from the house as possible to make the track contain plenty of hills and turns. Switch from the rail to other rails and back on.
Choose a Smooth Ball
The only things slowing down your ball is wind resistance and friction. You can reduce both of these by choosing a smooth ball instead of a tennis ball.