A simple toy that can be made for a few dollars, didn't come from China and will entertain children for hours.
Step 1: Why and How
I was asked to build something like this from my wife. She took our boys to a childrens museum and told me about this exhibit that all the kids loved. From the tiny cell phone camera picture she showed me I came up with what you see here. The way it works is you fill the base container with water up to the holes in the pipe that has a water fountain pump inside. Turn on the pump and it carries the water to the top and then flows down each ramp until reaching the container and starting over. The fun part for the kids is putting all sorts of different balls and toys on the ramps and watching them roll and float down. I didn't think this would be very entertaining for them but most kids seem to really enjoy it.
Step 2: Parts and Tools
1 - 6" x 7' PVC tube
1 - 4" x 7' PVC tube
1 - Base container ( adjust to your size project and get one with wheels if you can)
1 - Small fountain Pump
1 - 4' pump tubing
3 - Scrap wood 6" diameter x 1" thick
14 - small screws
6 - wood screws
1 - Bathroom caulk
1 - Can plastic spray paint ( optional)
3" diameter whole cutting bit
Bandsaw or jigsaw
Step 3: Build It
Begin by cutting one of the main tubes to your desired height. I made mine 36". Next determine the slope you want and cut the second tube to height. I made mine 30".
Cut out two circular base fittings from your wood to fit snugly into the tubes. (see photos) Glue/screw them to the container in your desired location. If you use screws make sure your glue creates a nice seal so that water will not leak out the bottom.
Now you can measure your length for the ramps. Mine are about 31" for the first three, and 18" for the last one. Cut them a few inches long because you will be shaping them to fit the curve of the inside of the main tubes.
Next, measure down and cut the holes into the main tubes for the ramps. (see photos) Test fit your ramps and shape the 3 ends that need to be longer inside the main tubes. I didn't make the insides smooth enough and had to add some caulk to make the water flow better, but since you are reading this you won't make that same mistake...
Cut another cap insert that fits snuggly in the top of the main tube as seen in the photos. Drill a hole in the cap the size of your water pump tube. Run that tube down the pipe and secure the cap from the outside with some small screws. Fit your water pump in the base connect the tube. Drill holes in the bottom of the main tube around the area that the water pump is located and cut a hole large enough for the power cord to exit.
To hold the ramps to the main tubes and give it strength. I drilled and attached small screws in each end just wide enough apart to fit the pvc.
Using bathroom caulk seal up the top cap so that water doesn't leak down the sides and holds the pump tubing in place. Put everything together, fill the base with water, plug in the pump and give it a test run. If the water doesn't follow the ramps down, just use a little caulk to seal things up as needed.
Paint everything the color of your choice if you want to make it look a little more like a toy and less like pvc tubing.
Get a few balls or floating toys and call the kids over to play.
When you are all done with it, simply take off the ramps and lay everything down into the container. Put on the lid and store until next time.