There’s no better way to battle the heat of a summer day than a little water play! So grab the beach towels, slather on the sunscreen, and get ready for some epic fun with these incredibly refreshing water activities and games.
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.
Learn more: Housing a Forest
2. Toss water balloons using towels
Water balloon tosses are always fun, but this one ups the ante by requiring teamwork. Two teams snap the balloon back and forth until one team misses … and most likely gets wet!
Learn more: Love Play Learn
3. Water the alphabet 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.
Learn more: Fun Learning for Kids
4. Use a plastic bag to explore the water cycle
A sealed plastic bag is the perfect environment for recreating the water cycle. Hang it in a sunny window and watch evaporation, condensation, and precipitation in action.
Learn more: Teaching Ideas
5. Lob some 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.
Learn more: A Pumpkin and a Princess
6. Construct a water wheel
Brush up 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.
Learn more: There’s Just One Mommy
7. Craft a giant water blob
This trendy toy is all over the web, but there’s no need to spend big bucks to buy one. Learn how to make your own giant “water blob” at the link.
Learn more: Clumsy Crafter
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.
Learn more: Buggy and Buddy
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.
Learn more: Teach Beside Me
10. Play tag with spray bottles
Add a new twist to the classic game of tag! The one who’s “It” gets the water bottle, chasing the others down. If you’re hit by the spray, it’s your turn to be “It”!
Learn more: Kids Activities Blog
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!
Learn more: The Happy Housewife
12. Mix up bottle cap soup
Save those 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.
Learn more: School Time Snippets
13. Joust with water balloons
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.
Learn more: Ziggity Zoom
14. Pierce a water-filled bag
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!
Learn more: Fun With Mama
15. Tap on a 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!
Learn more: Mama Papa Bubba
16. Play a game of 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!
Learn more: Inspiration Made Simple
17. Learn with water balloon phonics
Set up letter targets, then toss water balloons marked with letter combinations to make words. What a fun way to learn sight words!
Learn more: Mess for Less
18. Make a mini water cycle terrarium
This mini terrarium is a cinch to put together, but kids will be amazed to see how well it replicates the water cycle!
Learn more: Laura Candler’s Teaching Resources
19. Swing at 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!
Learn more: Hello Wonderful
20. Build a LEGO water dam
LEGO bricks are great on their own, but add water and watch the fun multiply! Use colorful bricks to build a dam, pool, or water course.
Learn more: Little Bins for Little Hands
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!
Learn more: My Bored Toddler
22. Engineer 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!
Learn more: Frugal Fun 4 Boys and Girls
23. Target numbers with water balloons
Draw a giant target marked with numbers, then stand back and aim with water balloons. Add up the numbers you manage to hit to see who can accumulate the highest score!
Learn more: Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
24. Jump through an amazing pool noodle sprinkler
You don’t need a pool to get wet with these noodles! Tape them together and poke some holes, then connect it to a hose for the coolest sprinkler around.
Learn more: Ziggity Zoom
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, but they’ll also have a blast!
Learn more: The Resourceful Mama
26. Splash around in 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.
Learn more: Gift of Curiosity
27. Spell words with swimming pool Scrabble
How clever is this? Write letters on sponges and float them in the pool. Kids swim out and grab a number of letters, then bring them back to spell the best word they can.
Learn more: Toddler Approved
28. Jump rope with a cup of water
Two kids turn the rope, while a third jumps. But here’s the twist: the jumper carries a cup full of water. After 10 jumps, see how much water is still in the cup. Then switch roles and see if the next person can beat the record!
Learn more: Parents.com
29. Make a 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.
Learn more: Inner Child Fun
30. Put together a pool noodle 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!
Learn more: Teaching Mama
31. Hold a spoon and water balloon race
This take on the egg and spoon race is less wasteful, but just as much fun. If the balloon drops, you can pick it up and keep going … as long as it doesn’t break.
Learn more: Kara’s Party Ideas
32. Put together a PVC pipe course
A collection of PVC pipes and connectors make totally fun real-life building toys. Add water for an even bigger impact!
Learn more: Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes
33. Light up the night with 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.
Learn more: The Scrap Shoppe Blog
Looking for more ways to have fun outside? Check out these 40 Wet and Wild Outdoor Science Projects and Activities.
Plus, 17 Picture Books to Celebrate Summer.