The Quick, Long List of Water Play Activities

The Quick, Long List of Water Activities

Not gonna lie. We are really dependent on bringing our kids to the pool and splash pad in the summer. But since we have no idea when those facilities will be opening up, we need some easy at-home alternatives to get our kids in the water. Try these water play activities to get their minds and senses working.

  • Imagination Station. With a good-sized plastic bin, some tools and toys, you can make:
    • Underwater scenes with underwater animals, scuba divers, or mermaids
    • Bath time with baby dolls
    • Car wash for toy cars
    • Mixing soup with kitchen utensils and flowers, fresh herbs, and leaves
    • Other items to incorporate into water play:
      • Sponges
      • Spray bottles
      • Seashells and stones
      • Lego blocks
  • Just add water. Add water to clean dirt or sand to make mud pies or sandcastles. You can put the mud or sand in an empty kiddie pool for easy cleanup.
  • Water art
    Add water to chalk and create colorful artwork.
    If they are old enough, introduce watercolors, tie dye, or marbling.
    You can also create with colored water in squirt guns, colored shaving cream, or eye droppers.
  • Add-Ins. Change up water play with water beads, food coloring, funnels/plastic tubing, or strainers. If you have any clean recyclables, try punching holes in the bottom for a quick water strainer.
  • Play with ice
    • Bring some ice cubes out and let your child watch a solid turn into a liquid.
    • Freeze small toys or berries/herbs in ice and have your child figure how to get them out.
    • Create ice and water scenes where they can use their imagination to tell a thrilling story of their car driving through a melting ice bank, or their boat colliding with a glacier.
  • In the name of SCIENCE!
    • Play Sink or Float.
      • Provide a variety of objects and see if it sinks or if it floats.
      • Change it up by adding a good amount of salt and see what happens.
    • Fill up glass jars at different water levels and see if they can create their own song.

  • DIY slip n’ slides and kiddie pools
  • The old favorite. Get out the garden hose, sprinkler, super soakers, buckets, and water balloons and have a water fight.

For more activities, check out our Activities list and the Child(ish) Advice Pinterest page

The Quick, Long List of Water Play Activities

Making the Most of Water Play“, Sandra Crosser, Ph.D. Child Care Resources, June 2015.
Water Play: Wet and Wonderful“, Angie Dorrell, M.A. Early Childhood News.
25+ Water Play Activities for Kids in the Backyard“, Jackie Currie. Happy Hooligans, November 8, 2019.

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