51 Splash-tastic Water Activities for Summertime Fun and Learning

It’s time to get a little wet and wild!

ideas for water activities glow in the dark water balloons and a river made in a sandbox
We Are Teachers/The Scrap Shoppe Blog/Pickle Bums

Water is the best way to beat the heat! Grab beach towels and sunscreen, fill up the water balloons, and roll out the hose. Here are the best 50+ water activities to get kids—from toddlers to teens—learning and having fun in the summer sun.

plastic bottle filled with water for a sprinkler
Housing a Forest

1. Turn a plastic bottle into a sprinkler

No sprinkler? No problem! Upcycle a plastic water bottle and use your DIY sprinkler for all kinds of water activities.

Get tutorial: Build Your Own Sprinkler

girl running through a blow up rainbow to a slip n slide for water activity
A Beautiful Mess

2. Make your own slip-’n’-slide

A slip-’n’-slide is always a hit in summer. Make your own with plastic sheeting and stakes to hold it in place for an afternoon of sliding.

Get tutorial: How To Make a Giant Slip and Slide

Buy it: Six-pack of pool noodles, plastic sheeting, and lawn stakes at Amazon

person pouring water on flowers drawn in chalk on sidewalk

Fun Learning for Kids

3. Water ABC flowers

Grab the sidewalk chalk and plant a garden of colorful alphabet flowers. Then fill a watering can and “water” the flowers, calling out the letters along the way.

Get tutorial: Water the Flowers Alphabet Activity

water cycle drawing on a ziploc bag for water activity
Teaching Ideas

4. Explore the water cycle

A sealed plastic bag is the perfect environment for re-creating the water cycle. Hang it in a sunny window and watch evaporation, condensation, and precipitation in action.

Get tutorial: The Water Cycle

A Pumpkin & a Princess

5. Make and toss sponge bombs

Water balloons are fun, but they’re wasteful and messy too. These reusable “water bombs” are cheap, easy to make, and can be used for water activities over and over again.

Get tutorial: How To Make a Sponge Bomb

Buy it: Sponges at Amazon

water wheel model made from paper plate and paper cups
There’s Just One Mommy

6. Build a water wheel

Brush up on your engineering skills and assemble a water wheel with paper plates and cups. Try it out in the sink, or take it outside and use a hose instead.

Get tutorial: Water Wheel STEM Activity

Buy it: Paper cups and paper plates at Amazon

kids sitting on a water blob or big bag filled with water
Clumsy Crafter

7. Create a water blob

This trendy toy is all over the web, but there’s no need to spend big bucks to buy one. Instead, get some plastic sheeting and a hose and make your own.

Get tutorial: DIY Water Blob

boy fishing with a toy fishing rod in a baby pool
Buggy and Buddy

8. Go fishing for numbers

Go fish! Float foam fish in a water table or kiddie pool. Add a paper clip to each one, and fish for them with a magnet on a string.

Get tutorial: Fishing for Numbers

child pouring water into a cup filled with dirt for water activity about filtration
Teach Beside Me

9. Experiment with water filtration

STEM water activities are fun, educational, and perfect for summertime exploration! Scoop up water from a creek or lake, then see how different types of filtration work.

Get tutorial: Water Filtration Experiment

boy spraying another boy with a spray bottle
Kids Activities Blog

10. Play tag with spray bottles

Add a new twist to the classic game of tag! The kid who’s “It” gets the water bottle and chases the others down. If you’re hit by the spray, it’s your turn to be “It”!

Get tutorial: Spray Bottle Freeze Tag

Buy it: Spray bottles at Amazon

make rain in a jar activity
The Happy Housewife

11. Make it rain

A little shaving cream and food coloring are all you need to perform this popular water science experiment about clouds and rain. Simple and fun!

Get tutorial: How Clouds Make Rain

bottle caps in a bowl with water for water activity
School Time Snippets

12. Mix up bottle cap soup

Save bottle caps and paint letters on them. Then mix them all up in a big bowl of “soup” and let kids have fun scooping them out with spoons, ladles, or other tools.

Get tutorial: Simple Bottle Cap Soup Sensory Play

water squirter with a fork in the top pointed at a bunch of water balloons

13. Water balloon joust

With a pool noodle and a fork for a sword, you can joust for water balloons! It’s lots of fun and good for hand-eye coordination too.

Get tutorial: Water Balloon Jousting Game

Buy it: Six-pack of pool noodles and Bunch-o’-Balloons water balloons at Amazon

person putting pencils through a bag filled with water for water activity
Fun With Mama

14. The ol’ water bag trick

This is one of those STEM water activities that you simply have to see to believe. Pierce a water-filled bag again and again without spilling a drop of water!

Get tutorial: Water in a Bag Pencil Experiment

child standing behind row of glass jars with colored water in them
Mama Papa Bubba

15. Rainbow water xylophone

This colorful, tuneful activity is sure to be a hit with kids of all ages. Experiment with different water depths and mallet styles to make all kinds of beautiful music.

Get tutorial: Rainbow Water Xylophone

children sitting in a circle for a water game duck duck splash
Inspiration Made Simple

16. Play Duck, Duck, Splash

It’s so much fun to turn classic games into water activities. In this take on Duck, Duck, Goose, the tagged person gets a good splash of water before they run.

Get tutorial: Duck, Duck, Splash

water balloons with letters written on them for a water activity
Mess for Less

17. Water balloon phonics

Set up letter targets, then toss water balloons marked with letter combinations to make words. Water activities can be a fun way to learn sight words.

Get tutorial: Water Balloon Phonics

Buy it: Bunch-o’-Balloons water balloons at Amazon

terrarium made from a clear plastic jug
Laura Candler’s Teaching Resources

18. Make a water cycle terrarium

This mini terrarium is a cinch to put together, and kids will be amazed to see how well it replicates the water cycle.

Get tutorial: Hands-On Water Cycle Fun

boy swinging at a water balloon hung from a clothesline
Hello, Wonderful

19. Water balloon piñatas

Dangle water balloons from a clothesline, then swing at them with a bag or stick. Instead of candy, you’re rewarded with a cool splash!

Get tutorial: How To Make Water Balloon Piñatas

Buy it: Bunch-o’-Balloons water balloons at Amazon

lego bricks put together to make a dam
Little Bins for Little Hands

20. Build a LEGO dam

LEGO bricks are great on their own, but they also can be used for water activities. Use colorful bricks to build a dam, pool, or water course.

Get tutorial: LEGO STEM: Building Water Dams

bin with water and leaves sticks and flowers in it for a water activity
My Bored Toddler

21. Discover buoyancy and density

Take a nature stroll on a sunny day and pick up a variety of objects. Then bring them home and find out which ones float and which sink. Some of the results may surprise you!

Get tutorial: Sink and Float Water Play

child holding water shooter made with PVC pipe
Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls

22. Make a PVC pipe water shooter

These water shooters are simple to put together, and kids will be amazed by how far they shoot. Set up targets and test your accuracy!

Get tutorial: PVC Pipe Water Shooter Toy

Buy it: 1.5” PVC pipe, 3/4“ PVC pipe, and six-pack of pool noodles at Amazon

girl throwing water balloons at numbers written in chalk on the pavement for a water activity
Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

23. Target toss

Draw a giant target marked with numbers, then stand back and aim with water balloons. Add up the numbers kids manage to hit to see who can get the highest score!

Get tutorial: Water Balloon Number Target Practice

Buy it: Bunch-o’-Balloons water balloons at Amazon

boy jumping through a sprinkler made of pool noodles for a water activity

24. Pool noodle sprinkler

You don’t need a pool to get wet with these noodles! Tape them together and poke some holes, then connect them to a hose for the coolest sprinkler around.

Get tutorial: Ultimate Pool Noodle Sprinkler

Buy it: Six-pack of pool noodles at Amazon

girl running with a sponge for a water activity
The Resourceful Mama

25. Race to fill the bucket

Teams race to transfer water from one bucket to another using a sponge. Everyone is sure to get wet, and they’ll also have a blast!

Get tutorial: Fill the Bucket Water Game

bowl with rainbow colored bubbles for water activity
Gift of Curiosity

26. Make rainbow bubbles

What kid doesn’t love to play with bubbles? Fill a kiddie pool with them, and create a rainbow using liquid watercolor paints.

Get tutorial: Rainbow Bubbles

child throwing sponges into a pool
Toddler Approved

27. Swimming pool Scrabble

How clever is this? Write letters on sponges and float them in the pool. Kids swim out and grab letters, then bring them back to spell the best word they can.

Get tutorial: Swimming Pool Scrabble

glow sticks in a kiddie pool for a water activity
Saving by Design

28. Glow up the pool

Fill the pool with glow sticks to keep the water fun going after the sun goes down.

Get tutorial: Nighttime Pool Fun

Buy it: Glow sticks at Amazon

child holding a water balloon
Inner Child Fun

29. Water balloon yo-yo

Under-fill a water balloon and turn it into a yo-yo! Of course, it won’t last forever, so be prepared to get a little wet.

Get tutorial: Water Balloon Yo-Yos

Buy it: Bunch-o’-Balloons water balloons at Amazon

boy standing by a water wall made of pool noodles
Teaching Mama

30. Make a water wall

Attach pool noodles to a pegboard using zip ties, then pour water to see where it lands. Simple water activities like this one can keep kids busy for hours!

Get tutorial: Pool Noodle Water Wall

Buy it: Six-pack of pool noodles at Amazon

child driving a tricycle through a car wash made from p v c pipes and pool noodles for a water activity
Design Mom

31. Play car wash

Design a car wash with sponges and pool noodles that kids can take their bikes through.

Get tutorial: Tricycle Car Wash

Buy it: Six-pack of pool noodles and sponges at Amazon

kids playing with P V C pipes
Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes

32. Create a water maze

A collection of PVC pipes and connectors make totally fun real-life building toys. Add water for an even bigger impact.

Get tutorial: PVC Pipe Water Physics

Buy it: 1.5” PVC pipe at Amazon

water balloons with glow sticks inside to make them glow
The Scrap Shoppe Blog

33. Glow-in-the-dark water balloons

Join the fireflies with a nighttime water balloon fight! Simply add a glow stick to each balloon before you tie it off.

Get tutorial: Glow-in-the-Dark Water Balloons

Buy it: Glow sticks and Bunch-o’-Balloons water balloons at Amazon

kid playing with a pool noodle and water balloon for water activity water balloon baseball
Overstuffed Life

34. Water balloon baseball

Use a plastic bat or pool noodle and some water balloons to play a game of baseball … for as long as the water balloons last, that is.

Get tutorial: Water Balloon Baseball

Buy it: Bunch-o’-Balloons water balloons at Amazon

feet bouncing on a trampoline with water balloons
A Subtle Revelry

35. Trampoline water balloons

You may need to make sure the adults don’t take over this activity! Fill a trampoline with water balloons and hop till they’re all popped.

Get tutorial: Water Balloon Splash

Buy it: Bunch-o’-Balloons water balloons at Amazon

boy walking across a board that is placed over a kiddie pool for a water activity
Savannah Kay Designs

36. Walk the plank

A baby pool, two supports, and a board are all you need to set up this pirate walk-the-plank activity. Add an inflatable crocodile for added suspense.

Get tutorial: Walk the Plank

boy playing with jugs of water
Busy Toddler

37. Set up a pouring station

Toddlers and big kids love playing with water and jugs. Set up a pouring station and let them go to town pouring and mixing. Add food coloring to turn this into an art activity.

Get tutorial: Pouring Station Activity

child hands holding a tong and ice cubes
Taming Little Monsters

38. Ice cube transfer

Ice cubes, a bowl, and tongs are the only things you’ll need for this activity. It seems simple, but sometimes simple is all kids need (and ice cubes, of course).

Get tutorial: Ice Transfer

straw on a grey surface
What Do We Do All Day?

39. Water drop race

This activity that shows students how surface tension works using water droplets is a hit with kids of all ages.

Get tutorial: Surface Tension Water Drop Races

boy pouring water from a bucket into a larger bucket for a water activity
Hands On as We Grow

40. Water obstacle course

Use all the materials you have—hoses, sprinklers, buckets, and more—to create a water obstacle course. Even better, have the kids set it up and manage how they move through it.

Get tutorial: Outdoor Water Obstacle Course

hands on a bin with water and rocks and ocean toys
Taming Little Monsters

41. Ocean sensory bin

Ocean animals, sand, and water create a sensory bin that will keep your kid occupied for hours.

Get tutorial: Ocean Small World and Sensory Bin

Buy it: 60-piece ocean animal set at Amazon

child with two bins filled with water and dishes for water activity washing dishes
Toot’s Mom Is Tired

42. Wash dishes

This is another simple activity that kids love. Set up dishes and two bins for them to soap up and rinse, then dry them in the sun.

Get tutorial: Washing Dishes Sensory Bin

spoons on grass with water balloons for a water activity
Red Ted Art

43. Spoon and balloon race

Turn the classic egg-and-spoon relay into a water activity using water balloons and wooden spoons.

Get tutorial: Water Balloon Egg & Spoon Race

Buy it: Bunch-o’-Balloons water balloons at Amazon

dinosaur toy in ice
Paging Fun Mums

44. Freeze dino eggs

Freeze mini plastic dinosaurs in eggs and then chip away or smash them to get the dinos out.

Get tutorial: Frozen Dinosaur Eggs

Buy it: Miniature dinosaurs at Amazon

girl painting a chair with a paintbrush and water for a water activity
Happy Hooligans

45. Paint with water

Get out all the painting materials and let kids go to town painting the patio, driveway, bricks, etc. By the time they’ve finished painting one area, they can go back and start again on the areas that have dried.

Get tutorial: Painting With Water

ping pong balls with letters and a squirt water gun
I Can Teach My Child

46. Letter target practice

Use golf balls, tees, and a water gun to set up alphabet target practice.

Get tutorial: Alphabet Target Practice With Water Guns

Buy it:  Ping-Pong balls and water squirters at Amazon

child using squirt gun to push a car down the sidewalk
A Girl and a Glue Gun

47. Race cars with water shooters

See how powerful water can be by using it to race toy cars down the sidewalk.

Get tutorial: Car Race

Buy it: Water squirters at Amazon

bins with numbers 25 30 35 40 50
A Girl and a Glue Gun

48. Water balloon toss

Not just for the county fair, this game is fun for kids to set up and play with water balloons or wet sponges.

Get tutorial: Water Balloon Toss

Buy it: Bunch-o’-Balloons water balloons at Amazon

balloon on a sponge on water for a sponge boat water activity
The Craft Train

49. Create a sponge boat

Use a sponge and a water balloon to create a boat that will really go!

Get tutorial: Balloon-Powered Sponge Boat

squirt gun and papers with paint
Fireflies and Mud Pies

50. Paint with squirt guns

Set up an easel, fill squirt guns with colorful water, and go to town!

Get tutorial: Colorful Squirt Gun Painting

a river made with foil on a dirt path and water

51. Make a river

This is a great way to maximize outdoor play or a sandbox. Use foil to create a river and use whatever you find in the backyard to create obstacles, bridges, and other features.

Get tutorial: Make a River

Looking for more ways to have fun outside? Check out these Wet and Wild Outdoor Science Experiments and Activities.

Plus, Read-Alouds That Celebrate Summer.

Summertime is fun time with water activities, from making your own sprinkler to building water balloon yo-yos to creating a winding river.