Water activities can be a great way to have fun with kids, providing tons of opportunities for fun, learning, and bonding. These exciting water activities can help kids develop their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and creativity while spending quality time together.

Fine Motor Skill Tools For Water Play

Whether it's a sunny day outside or you're looking for indoor water play ideas, there's always something that can make a splash with the little ones (see what we did there?).

So, let's discuss some water activities for indoor and outdoor options, that work for different seasons and even bad weather conditions. From simple water play activities for younger kids to exciting water toys and games for older kids, there's so much fun to be had for everyone.

So, let's dive in and discover awesome ways to enjoy water play with your kids!

Indoor Water Play Ideas for Cold Weather or Limited Outdoor Space

When outdoor water play isn't an option because of cold weather, local climate, or other reasons, there are still plenty of indoor water activities that kids love.

Here are some ideas to get you started helping your kids play with water in different and exciting ways:

Sink Splash

Washing dishes:

Set up a plastic container or fill the sink with warm water and some mild soap. Add small toys, plastic dishes (or ones that are very hard to break), and some spoons for your kids to wash. Washing dishes not only keeps them entertained, but also teaches responsibility and independence on the down-low.

Washing dishes

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Toy car wash:

Similar to playing with dishes in the sink, create a toy car wash station with a bucket or bowl of warm, soapy water and a separate bowl for rinsing off the bubbles.

Kids can clean their water-safe toy cars, trucks, action figures, or any of the other 5 million toys you've ended up with over time.

Toy car wash:

Indoor water table play

Food coloring and water transfer:

Food coloring and water transfer:

Fill a few small bowls with water and add different colored food coloring to them. Give your kid a turkey baster, a slotted spoon, a small cup, or any other utensils you think would be fun for them to play with and compare to each other (the comparison is where they're learning without even realizing it).

They can use these to move some of the colored water from one container to another, creating a fun sensory experience, practicing hand-eye coordination, seeing color changes firsthand in a different way, and learning how easy or difficult certain options (like the slotted spoon example) are compared to others.

Fair warning: This idea will definitely make a mess, so make sure to plan accordingly.

Ice cube play:

Freeze small toys or colored ice cubes and let your child explore them in a basin or water table filled with cold water. They can use tools like tongs or spoons to pick up the ice, promoting fine motor skills and providing a unique sensory experience.

We froze a 5 quart container with water and water-safe toys in our deep freezer and let our kids hammer away at it in the driveway last summer, which was a lot of fun for everyone!

Ice cube play:

Bath time fun

Bath toys:

Bath toys:

Make bath time extra fun with a few of the best bath toys out there, like more modern rubber ducks, boats, baby shark, pouring cups, tub crayons, coloring changing potions, light-up tub toys, STEM style toys, and more.

Bubble bath:

Bubble bath:

Add some bubble bath to the water and let your little ones have a blast playing with the bubbles. They can create bubble beards, sculptures, or simply enjoy the feel of the bubbles on their skin. This doesn't have to be reserved for your "normal" bath routine either, you can put some bubble bath in the little pool outside too! They're having a blast in the pool in the backyard WHILE getting clean? Parenting win- you're welcome.

Pool noodles:

Pool noodles:

Just like putting bubbles outside is a bit different, try bringing those pool toys inside to mix things up!

Cut a few pool noodles into smaller pieces and let your kid use them as floatation devices for their toys or as building blocks to create structures in the bathtub. Their imagination is the only limit here!

Creative indoor water activities for kids

Shaving cream play:

Shaving cream play:

Fill a plastic bowl or bucket with a layer of shaving cream and let your child use their hands or appropriate toys to create patterns, shapes, or even practice writing letters and numbers. Add a little water to the bin for a fun sensory experience. You can even do this in the bath tub!

Sensory Bin:

water play sensory bin beach

You can buy some sensory bin kits that are already put together or you can DIY, by mixing up different size and texture objects together in a water safe container. Not all sensory bins use water, many include things like sand or dry beans instead, but feel free to mix it up.

This video walks you through some ideas on how to build your own sensory bin:

Water beads:

water beads for sensory water play

Non-toxic water beads are an excellent option for indoor water play and growing in popularity with the increased focus on sensory play.

Fill a sensory bin, bowl, or bucket with water beads and little toys, and let your child explore the unique texture while engaging in imaginative play.

This is definitely something you want to watch with little kids as they may try to eat them.

Sponge bombs:

Sponge bombs are basically just water ball alternatives made from cutting sponges into strips and tying them together with a hair tie or rubber band. Kids can use these in the bathtub, sink, or outdoors for a simple but unique water activity.

Here's a super quick video on how to DIY some:

Outdoor Water Activities for Hot Summer Days

When the weather is warm and sunny, there's nothing better than cooling off with some outdoor water activities. Here are some ideas to make the most of those hot summer days:

Classic backyard water play

Sprinkler fun:

sprinkler play for kids

Set up a sprinkler in the yard and let your kids run through the spray, jump over it, or even create an obstacle course incorporating the sprinkler.

This is a great way for them to burn off that endless energy while staying cool!

Slip 'n slide:

Slip 'n slide:

There are many slip n' slides you can buy and just hook up to the hose, like this one:

slip n slide

But you can create a DIY slip 'n slide too by laying out a large sheet of plastic, adding water and some mild soap for extra slipperiness.

Kids will love sliding across the surface, and it's a fantastic way to keep them entertained for hours!

Here's a 5 minute video on how to DIY a simple but fun slip and slide:

Water balloon games:

Water balloon games:

Water balloons are almost always guaranteed to be a hit with kids of all ages (and plenty of adults on a hot day!) Try mixing it up with these unique twists:

Water Balloon Pinata: Hang water balloons from a tree or clothesline, blindfold the kids, and let them take turns trying to burst the balloons with a stick, just like a pinata!

Water Balloon Target Practice: Set up targets (like empty plastic bottles) and let the kids throw water balloons to try and knock them down.

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Kiddie pool adventures

Mini water park:

Turn your kiddie pool into a mini water park by adding a small slide, floating toys, sinking toys to dive for, or even pool noodles for kids to play with. You can make this as big of deal as you want, with plenty of options on how to add to your backyard "water park". Here's some possibilities:

Add a splash pad:

These fun toys are a combination of sprinkler and swimming pool (very shallow water) while also having an added slip-and-slide component that is irresistible to most kids.

splash pad

They come in all different colors and designs, but also sizes; so if you want to really participate in the memories, make sure to grab one large enough for the whole family!

Try adding more elements to your DIY water park with these neat games and activities:

Buckets of Fun: https://amzn.to/3UDYrsw

Sprinkle and Splash tunnel: https://amzn.to/3KDXax1

A trampoline sprinkler: https://amzn.to/3KZzyDp

Inflatable water games and other water inflatables: Whether you're interested in inflatable pool volleyball, inflatable basketball hoop and ring toss game, inflatable raft jousting, or even inflatable pool floats with water guns attached, there's a ton of options for your family to enjoy.

Inflatable water slides: An inflatable water slide can be put up and taken down quickly to be stored out of the way while still taking your backyard summer fun to the next level whenever you want (and who doesn't love water slides!?!)

Inflatable water parks: If you have the space and budget, consider investing in an inflatable water park. These backyard attractions can include slides, climbing walls, and splash pools, providing endless entertainment for kids.

Inflatable water parks

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Family bonding activities

Car wash: Turn a chore into an exciting family activity by washing the family car together. Kids can help with washing, rinsing, and drying, while you make memories and share laughs.

If you're having too much fun to stop, involve your furry family members! Kids can help lather the dog with soap, rinse with a hose, and dry your pooch off with towels. This adds another layer by teaching them responsibility and empathy.

 furry family

Egg and spoon race: Fill plastic eggs with water and have your kids race while balancing the eggs on spoons. You can mix it up too and do small water balloons instead of eggs. This game encourages concentration and coordination while keeping everyone cool. You can buy a premade game kit or just grab large spoons and balloons you have on hand at home.

Limbo under a sprinkler: Take your backyard limbo game to the next level, simply by putting it under a sprinkler!

Multigenerational Water Activities for Nostalgic Fun

Water activities that span generations can bring everyone together on a beautiful day and create a sense of nostalgia for parents and grandparents. Here are some ideas that everyone can enjoy:

Garden hose play:

Garden hose play:

Just like many generations before them, kids will enjoy the versatility and fun that a simple hose can provide. Chances are they can figure out quite a few different things do with it themselves, but you can also take this up a notch if you really want to have a blast.

If you have a slide in your yard, put the hose at the top (secured in a way that makes it the least likely to be a tripping hazard) for an instant water slide!

Hook it up to a sprinkler for limitless game opportunities, put it on a twister mat for a uniquely slippery take on the game, play water tag, or use it to hose down the losing team or player of whichever outdoor games you're playing.

Or just pick up the Twister Splash version!

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Paper boat races:

Paper boat races:

Teach your kids how to fold paper boats, just like you did when you were younger (maybe). Set up a small racecourse using a small pool or a shallow stream, and have everyone take turns racing (or just floating) their boats.

Not only is this a fun water activity, but it can also spark wonderful conversations about childhood memories, all while creating new ones.

Check out Our video on how to make a paper boat That Floats:

Toss the sponge:

Toss the sponge:

Play a game of hot potato with a large sponge instead. Soak a large sponge(like you'd use for washing your car) in water and have family members stand in a circle. Toss the sponge from person to person while music plays. When the music stops, the person holding the sponge is "out."

This doesn't have to be a sponge either; you can also you a water balloon, reusable water bombs, squishy water toys (like this set of octopuses), reusable water balloons, these 3" soaker balls, and more- your imagination is the limit here!

Lemonade Stand: Now we know this probably didn't even cross your mind when we said "water activities", but hear us out. Making lemonade involves water, it's an activity that any age can participate in to some extent, it can help build confidence and an entrepreneurial spirit, and it'll make for some super cute photos!

In Conclusion: The Joy of Water Play for Kids and Families

Water activities can provide many opportunities for children to learn, play, and grow, while also being a fantastic way for families to bond and make picture-worthy memories.

Hopefully this article helped give you some ideas you're excited to try! So go ahead, plan some water activities with your kids, and watch as they splash, learn, and create memories that will last a lifetime. 😁

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