25 Water Play Activities To Do With Kids All Summer Long

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As the weather warms up, we’re all looking for activities to keep kids amused and keep them cool. Not all of us have backyard pools or friends with them. But even without a pool, you can still enjoy lots of water fun. There are lots of fun water activities you can enjoy at home including running through a sprinkler, water balloons, water gun fights, water spraypainting and more. We’ve tried to include a range of activities suitable for all ages of kids from babies and toddlers to teens.

Note: Please supervise your kids around water and conserve water when you can.

Cool off in an inflatable pool

If you don’t have a pool in your backyard, improvise. Now is the time to invest in a clamshell or small inflatable pool. On a hot day, kids (and adults) can cool off and you can use it for lots of other water play activities.

Bathe or shower outdoors

Take the baby bath outside and give your baby or toddler a wash outdoors. It’s a fun change of scenery. Plus, if they prone to splashing, it doesn’t make a mess! For older kids, set up the hose and let them have an outdoor shower.

Water sprinkler fun

Turn the sprinkler on and then while the grass is getting watered, let the kids run through too. Lots of fun for kids to cool off. Just be water-wise.

Play water limbo

While you’ve got the hose out, play water limbo. Get an adult to hold the hose making an arc with the water while they’re watering the garden. Kids can limbo underneath and try not to get wet. Go lower and lower until there is a winner.

Water balloon fight

Get the kids cool in a hurry by having a water balloon fight. Give them each a bucket of water balloons and let them duke it out in the backyard. You can purchase rapid fill balloons which inflate by connecting to a tap. You can inflate 100 water balloons in less than 60 seconds.

Excavate with ice

Get the kids to excavate out of iceblocks while it melts. Find small plastic toys to freeze. Use ice cream molds or small plastic containers and submerge them in water and freeze. Then let kids dig into the ice to search for treasure. If you’re concerned about ice shards, get your kids to wear protective eyewear.

Design a aluminium foil river

If you have wine corks and aluminium foil, create a long tin foil river and float cork boats down it. You’ll need lots of foil for this. Just scrunch up the sides to make a narrow river, put it on a gradual slope, add water and sail your boats.

Bob for apples

If you have apples lying around, throw them in a tub of water and let kids bob for apples. It’s a fun way to catch your food and let them cool off. Note: Supervise young kids around water at all times.

Blow bubbles

It’s so much fun blowing bubbles. Either use bubble wands or make your own or use this CSIRO bubble mix recipe. Experiment with different bubble wands. You can make some cool shape bubbles using paperclips, wire and string.

Paint with ice

For a different water play activity, try creating your own ice paint. Freeze some water with food colouring/glitter in large ice-cube trays. Add a paddle pop stick to each ice cube to provide something to hold onto. Once frozen pop them out of the tray and let your children paint with them.

Water spelling activity

This activity is great for kids learning the alphabet or learning to spell their name. Give them a squirt bottle or water gun and get them to do letters on the pavement. If they need help, spell out the letters using chalk.

Slide along a Slip ‘n Slide

Who doesn’t have memories of the Slip ‘n Slide growing up. There’s nothing like sliding across the lawn or down a hill if your backyard slopes. You can purchase Slip ‘n Slide kits from stores but you can also make your own. Use a tarp or plastic film (like thick builder’s film) and add water. To make it slippery, use dishwashing liquid or tears-free baby shampoo.

Do a sponge toss

For another fun water activity, find a bunch of sponges (the big car wash ones are great to use) and put them in a bucket of water. Then get kids to toss them to each other without dropping it. Guaranteed to cool kids off quick.

Play sponge bulls eye

You can also use the sponges in a competition. Set up a target like a bullseye on the fence or throw down a hula hoop on the ground a fair distance away and see who can hit the target with the sponge.

Play spray bottle tag

If your love playing tag, they’ll love spray bottle tag. Fill up spray bottles and let kids tag each other. Unlike regular tag, they’ll know who is out instantly. For even more fun, get the kids to wear white t-shirts and add different food colouring to the spray bottles. It then becomes like paintball, only with spray bottles and hopefully less aggro.

Hit water balloon pinatas

If the kids have gotten bored of throwing water balloons at each other, use them as pinatas. Hang water balloons on strings from a tree or even the Hills Hoist. Blindfold your kids and then get them to swing at the pinatas with cricket or baseball bat until the balloons explode and splash them with water.

Clean up with a toy wash

Let your kids play with water and clean their toys as well! Win-win for everyone. Set out two buckets or trays; one with soapy water and another with water for rinsing. Then let them dunk plastic or wooden toys in there for a wash. Use sponges or brushes to get them cleaning all the dirt, dust and crumbs that build up.

Do floating experiments

Fill up a bucket or a small kids wading pool with water and then experiment to see what items float. This water fun game is entertaining as well as educational. You can use things around the house like bottle caps, LEGO, Tupperware containers, corks, rubber ducky, paper boats, etc. Get your kids to guess whether the item will float or sink to the bottom!

Enjoy a water gun battle

Stock up on water guns and enjoy a water fight in the backyard. Surefire way to cool everyone down. Get kids to wear their swim googles to avoid water being sprayed in their eyes.

Compete in water gun squirt races

You can also use the water gun to have races. Put some PVC down on the lawn, and a bit of water to make it wet and then and use the water guns to squirt bath toys down a track to the finish lane. First one to the line wins.

Add water to your favourite games

Have some fun with your backyard games by adding water. Got Twister? Use the giant plastic mat but add water or turn on the sprinkler nearby to make it extra slippery. If you have corn hole, use water balloons instead of a toss and let it explode on impact. Same with tether ball. Attach water balloons to tether ball and see how long it takes until the balloon break and douses kids with water.

Go fishing

Fill up a bucket or wading pool with water and then drop small items in like balls, LEGO, bath toys and small plastic toys. Give kids a net to fish things out. An aquarium cleaning net is small and works well.

Try toe diving

If you don’t want to use a net, get kids to use their toes to fish out items. This works really well in wading pool especially with things like diving rings or pool toys. Use things that aren’t sharp and won’t puncture the kiddie pool.

Aim for frisbee float

Here is another idea that uses your kiddie pool. Fill it with water and then float two or three Frisbees. Give kids ping pong balls and see if they can toss them into the different frisbees. Use markers to have different points for different frisbees. This game doubles as a math game as you can get kids to add up their score.

Have fun with pool noodles

There’s so much fun you can have with pool noodles. Let kids make water noodles by pouring water at one end and letting it drip out the other or cut them up and make small items they can float. You can make a pool noodle sprinkler by plugging one end of the pool noodle and using a nail to make holes through it. Attach to the hose and voila, a soft sprinkler.

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