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We've had this slide ever since the Boy (now 6) was a toddler. It has lived outside the entire time and you wouldn't know it: it's as bright-coloured and smooth as the day it came out of the box. And none of this wussy putting it away for the winter or covering it, it's been out there rain, shine and snow. You'd expect some colour-fade or weathering after four years, but it simply hasn't happened. Ours is the yellow and green version rather than the orange pictured.
Of course, these days it's too small (at 30 inches or so tall) to provide much excitement as just a slide for my children, but it has had a varied life. When the Boy was younger it provided hours of fun just sliding. The last couple of years it has served primarily as a ladder up to the trampoline, but every summer it comes into its own once again as a water-slide. It's the perfect height to arch over our paddling pool and so the Boy can splash down merrily (the Girl, 11, struggles to fit now, although it takes her weight without a problem).
I'd actually forgotten all about the water-spray function until this beautiful hot weather brought the slide back into use, and when dusting it down for spiders, re-discovered the pipe underneath for the hose. You simply attach the nozzle, and it sprays jets from the holes at the top of the slide. Depending on how high you have the tap, the sprays will dribble down the slide, or arch joyously to the other end of the paddling pool (and beyond, if you feel your flower beds need watering). This is enormous fun for the kids, who screech the place down with the water-slide (our neighbours claim to like the noise of happy children, 'brings life back to the village' they say, fortunately).
The slide claims to be fold-away, and it is in the sense that you could take off the ladder and store the two pieces together. In practice, once I put it together, I've never bothered to take it apart again. It was a very simple job to assemble, just popping the ladder into the slide section firmly, but since we've a large-ish garden it's never been put away. It's very easy to clean, just using ordinary washing-up liquid and water, apart from the spray-holes which are a bit fiddlier.
It's light enough to be moved around easily (the Boy can lift its end in and out of the paddling pool and drag it around as he likes), while stable enough to be safe for toddlers to use. It doesn't have much to prevent small ones from falling off to the side, but at its height, not much harm can come to a toppler (and at that age they need to be supervised with any play equipment really).
The Boy says "It's fun as a water-slide!"
The Girl says "It's a shame it's too small for me now as my bum won't fit and my feet literally reach the end! But it used to be great."
I have no idea what we paid for this Smoby slide at the time and it doesn't seem too readily available these days (possibly having ceased production), although you can find it on Ebay for £22.99 at the moment. I'd never have thought when we bought it that we would still get use out of this slide at this stage, but we do, so it has been a great buy. I really need to think about whether to replace it with another slide or something else, but I'd recommend it to anyone with toddlers.
Product details (as available from Amazon, although currently out of stock):
* A Great First Slide which Folds Away for Easy Storage
* Great Water Spray feature turns the slide into a water slide
* Size: 125 x 50 x 76 cm - slide length 95cm
* Age 2 years +
* FREE UK DELIVERY or Express Delivery Available
* Boxed-product Weight: 3.5 Kg