DIY Sunday – PVC Pipe Construction Set

Each week, I will present a low-cost do-it-yourself option for cutting cost and making cool learning stuff for your childcare and preschool children.

PVC Pipe pics 006I love blocks, and all building material that can be used in whatever way my children can imagine. This is why this week we are going to talk about a Pvc Pipe Construction set. I was first introduced to this idea awhile back at a center where I taught preschool, I fell in love with it immediately, but no one knew where it came from or who put it together. When I moved back to family child care, I still had this pvc construction set in my brain, I thought it would be perfect for my outside play area. I did not know at the time, when I went out got a bunch of pvc pipe, connectors, fittings and everything cool looking in the pvc world. That I would stumble upon a wonderful book where I could find great instructions on how to build a set where it can be used in a learning and exploring way, instead of Jedi Knight training. However, I will say that my children loved my put it together, here you go enjoy, pace pipe construction set. anyway,

Now, I have found myself in need of another set. Over the last couple of years, the set that I made has lost pieces, has pieces I can no longer get apart, and all we can make now seems to be really big beating sticks. I am going to share the book and the instructions and some cool pictures of me putting together my new Pvc Pipe Construction Set.

The book is Do-It-Yourself Early Learning: Easy and Fun Activities and Toys from Everyday Home Center Materials’ Do-It-Yourself Early Learning by Jeff a. Johnson and Tasha A. Johnson, I love this book and it has many great ideas to explore and bring out the do-it-your selfer, I know that you have it in you.

The materials needed: all the pipe, elbows, connectors, end caps and fittings 1/2 inch Schedule 40 PVC pipe.PVC Pipe pics 002

  • Four, 10 foot pieces
  • Ten,  90 degree elbows
  • Ten,  45 degree elbows
  • Ten connectors or couplings
  • Ten end caps
  • Ten tee-fittings
  • Ten four-way fittings

Tools needed:

  • Tape MeasurePVC Pipe pics 004
  • Marker
  • Pvc pipe cutter or hacksaw
  • Sandpaper

Do it yourself:

  • Start by measuring and cutting the four pieces of 10 foot pvc pipe into these measurements.
    • Thirty 4-inch pieces
    • Twenty 6-inch pieces
    • Twelve 10-inch pieces
    • Eight 15-inch pieces
  • Now use the sand paper to smooth the ends where you cutPVC Pipe pics 005
  • Mix the straight sections of pipe with the assorted fittings and connectors.  Viola! instant exploration and learning fun.

Helpful Hints:

  • I found out that you can get five foot lengths, these fit into my van very nicely.
  • If you decide to use the pipe cutter, you can work quite nicely in front of the T.V. cutting.  The hack saw is a bit messier and you will want to do that outside.
  • The pipe cutter does a nice clean cut, but the ends will still need some sanding. Then ends leave a little rim, that makes it more difficult to put the fittings and connectors on.

PVC Pipe pics 007

This PVC Pipe Construction set is tough and durable and pretty cost effective (it cost me around $45 dollars). I have tried to find something that is comparable. The pipe builders that you can order from one of the school supply places are similar, just not very durable.  My kids would step on them and they would crack and break, they have lasted me less than a year. My own attempt at an earlier set that had not to much rhyme or reason was a great hit with my kids.  This one is far better and the perfect size to complement a block area.

4 thoughts on “DIY Sunday – PVC Pipe Construction Set

  1. Susan says:

    You can use this idea with a home building theme. Let the kids make a design outside with the pipes and then hook up the hose to it and see where the water comes out. Great way to explain how the plumbing works in your house.


  2. Thanks for the terrific post, Misti! We love our PVC pipes, although ours are Omagles, and old-school set from the 80’s that our kids can’t get enough of. We grew up with them and i bought a bunch about 6 years ago (for about $100). They have tons of elbow connectors, pipes of many shapes and sizes, and clips to hold their projects together. Plus, they have wheels and platforms strong enough to hold the kids and let them drive around in their creations.


  3. cassandra says:

    I love this Misti!! I have wanted to do this for a long time, and “filed” it in my brain. Thank you for the reminder and the list of what to buy! You rock!!


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