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10 Water Play Activities for Kids

10 Water Play Activities for Kids

Summer has officially kicked into high gear, bringing with it the heat and humidity. And naturally, my kids have gravitated to all things water – garden hoses have become instant showers, lawn sprinklers are set up for running and squealing, watering cans are now feet refreshers. It’s just not a successful day if there aren’t a handful of towels drying on the back deck. With the long summer before us, I set out this week to find more ideas for water play activities for kids. Here are some water play activities that I can’t wait to try with my kids.

Kids playing with water

10 Water Play Activities for Kids

Toy Car Wash: Simply fill up a sensory table, bucket, or tub with water, bubbles and lots of plastic toy cars and let your child’s imagination run wild. Additionally, you can include toothbrushes, wash cloths and spray bottles to add to the fun. A hidden benefit is that kids can give their toys a much-needed cleaning.

Kids' Toy Car Wash

Iceberg Toy Rescue (Or as I like to call it – Frozen Frogs): Place your kids’ small plastic toy animals (or other items) in an ice cub tray, add water, and freeze overnight. Bring them out on a hot day and enjoy watching your child rescue their toys from the iceberg.

Frozen Frogs Ice Cubes

Water Balloon Fishing: There are so many exciting and fun water balloon activities out there. I like this one for my toddler because it improves motor skill development. The metal strainer is a great idea but I also can see the opportunity for experimentation by having kids try different size spoons, cups, ladles, and even spatulas.

Water Balloons

Water Relay Race: This water play activity is simple, clever and great for a group. The activity instructions assume a larger group of kids but I think I would alter this to be more like an obstacle course for a smaller group of 1-3 kids. You could have kids walk with a bowl of water on their heads to the end bucket or hold the water in the cup while twirling or navigating obstacles on a course. There are so many opportunities with this one!

Kids' water relay race

Kiddie Pool Ball Pit: This is another simple one that I could see my toddler loving for hours. I don’t know why I never thought of using the millions of “ball pit” balls in the tub or a kiddie pool. It’s a great use for them in the summer!

Kiddie pool

Water Wall: There are a million ideas on Pinterest for kid water walls that frankly scare me. The directions always show some sort of PVC tubes, drills, and complicated engineering. Maybe my husband can build a fancy one for the kids. But I’m sticking to this one I found that uses pool noodles, plastic bottles, funnels and plastic tie wraps. That’s about my speed.

Kids' water wall

Water Target Range: The last thing my toddler needs is to have access to a squirt gun (he already pretends everything is a weapon). But I like this idea so I would replace the water gun with a squirt bottle or hose with a multiple-settings sprinkler head. The kids could even experiment to see which setting knocks the cups down fastest.

Water Shooting Tagets

Potions Lab: With just a few household items (recycled bottles, water, food coloring, and funnels) you can create a fun science lab in your backyard. How fun is this!

Kids' Water Potions Lab

Giant Bubbles: No water play activity list is complete without bubbles. And what’s better than giant bubbles. This site has an easy recipe and simple instructions for making large bubble wands using straws and yarn.

DIY Bubbles for kids

Classic Car Wash: There’s nothing wrong with a classic car wash especially when my car is in the driveway. I gotta get them on this one ASAP.

Kids washing a car

BONUS – DIY Water Slide: My daughter created this one last summer. Simply put the garden hose at the top of your playset slide and “Voila!” – DIY water park in your backyard. Just be sure the hose is on low and that there is a good landing pad at the bottom of the slide.

Those are my picks for this summer’s water play activities for kids. What are some of your favorites? Share with us in the comment section below.


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