25 Refreshing Summer Water Activities for Kids

Published: May 30, 2021 · Updated: October 12, 2023 by Sacha

What better way to cool down than with sprinklers, splash pads and water balloons? Beat the summer heat with these 25 outdoor water activities that kids of all ages are sure to enjoy!

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Summer is (almost) here! Are your kids as excited as ours are?

We’ve been spending as much time as possible outdoors ever since the warm weather came back, and our kids have been enjoying lots of play time in the sandbox, on their climber and on our backyard swing set.

But the activities they’ve been most looking forward to involve the water toys that have been hiding out in our shed waiting for the snow to melt.

So if your children are like ours and can’t wait to spend the summer playing water games outdoors, here are some fun activities that you can start planning for right now!

1. Make a Water Balloon Piñata

Nothing says summer like bursting a balloon filled with water! This fun water balloon game is the perfect way to cool off on hot summer days!

Read the full tutorial: Water Balloon Piñata

2. Get Soaked with DIY Sponge Water Bombs

Need to cool off? All you’ll need to make these sponge bombs are a few clean sponges and some twine—and they make a great alternative to water balloons when you’re looking to get soaked!

Read the full tutorial: Sponge Water Bombs

3. Have a Water Gun Fight

Water guns are a classic for a reason—what kid doesn’t love running around outside spraying everything with water in the summer heat? You can even use them to set up a DIY cup race if you’re looking for an added challenge!

4. Make Art with Water Guns

…And if you’re breaking out the water guns, why not use them to create some fun artwork outdoors? What a great use for a classic water toy!

Read the full tutorial: Water Gun Painting

5. Have a Spray Bottle Fight

No water guns? No problem! Just grab some spray bottles and start spritzing—the mist feels so refreshing on a hot day!

6. Fill Your Water Table

From pouring liquids to playing with toys to adding soap for some squeaky-clean fun, water tables offer so many different possibilities! You can’t go wrong getting one of these for your backyard!

(Fair warning—if your kids are anything like ours, you’ll want to stick with water tables that don’t double as sand tables. Combined sand/water tables sound great in theory, but in practice, they tend to turn into mud tables. When it comes to water tables, simpler is better!)

Buy it here: Step2 Water Table (our favourite!)

7. Play Some Sprinkler Water Games

Need to water your lawn? As if sprinklers weren’t enough fun on their own, you can also use them to play fun water games with your little ones!

Read the full tutorial: Sprinkler Water Games

8. Build Your Own Sprinkler System

…And if your child is a little engineer in the making, why not enlist them in building their very own sprinkler system with this cool STEM activity?

Read the full tutorial: Sprinkler Experiment

9. Set Up a Pouring Station

I’m not sure what it is about pouring liquids that holds a universal appeal for children, but it can be quite handy when you’re running out of activity ideas and need something low-prep and low-mess! All you’ll need are a few dollar-store supplies to set up this simple activity that’s perfect for warm summer days!

Read the full tutorial: Water Pouring Activity

10. Play with Recyclables

Before you send them to be repurposed, why not give your recyclables a new life by using them for this simple water pouring activity!

Read the full tutorial: Recycled Materials Water Play

11. Break Out the Splash Pad

If you don’t have a pool in your backyard (and even if you do), a splash pad is the next best thing! Just connect it to your water hose and your kids will have a blast splashing around—it’s a favourite at our house!

Buy it here: 79″ Splash Pad

12. Transfer Some Ice Cubes

It still counts as a water activity if the water is frozen, right? This super simple activity takes almost no effort to set up, but it’s a great way to keep little ones occupied on hot summer days!

Read the full tutorial: Fine Motor Ice Transfer

13. Do Some Poolside Science

Whether you have a pool in your backyard or you’re heading for a swim at the local community centre, use it as an opportunity to do some STEM exploration with your kids!

Read the full tutorial: Poolside Science

14. Ice & Lemon Sensory Play

This refreshing sensory bin filled with ice and lemon slices is a great way for little ones to cool off in the heat—and it’s also perfectly safe for toddlers who like to put everything in their mouths!

Read the full tutorial: Ice & Lemon Sensory Play

15. Make a Water Glass Xylophone

While you don’t technically have to wait until summer to conduct this musical experiment, the rainbow colours and water-filled jars seem perfectly suited for the warmer weather!

Read the full tutorial: Water Glass Xylophone

16. Paint with Water

Why use paint when you can simply bring an easel outdoors and use water to create cool designs? This low-mess activity is perfect for kids who want to explore a new artistic medium, and as a bonus, you won’t need to find room to store their artwork after they’re done!

Read the full tutorial: Painting with Water

17. Draw with Wet Chalk

…And if you do happen to have a little artist at home, they’ll love seeing what happens to sidewalk chalk when it’s dipped in water before being used!

Read the full tutorial: Sidewalk Chalk Water Drawing

18. Make Nature Soup

I can’t be the only one who used to create “nature potions” using grass, twigs and flowers… right? Pick the flowers yourself to create a flower sensory bin for your toddler, or let your child make their own “flower soup” using whatever they can find outdoors!

19. Freeze Some Wet Sand

Do you have too much sand in your sandbox? This frozen sand sensory bin is so easy to set up, and it’s perfect for cooling off on a hot day!

Read the full tutorial: Frozen Sand Sensory Bin

20. Make a LEGO Sensory Bin

Grab the spare LEGO bricks that have been cluttering up your house and throw them into a bin with some water and kitchen utensils to create hours of fun for your little ones—so simple, but so entertaining!

Read the full tutorial: LEGO Sensory Bin

21. Make Water Walk

This walking water experiment is so cool, and you probably already have all the supplies you need lying around the house. Such a great activity for summer!

Read the full tutorial: Walking Water Experiment

22. Paint with Ice Cubes

These colourful ice cubes are another fun alternative to regular old paint! They only take a few minutes to prep (if you don’t count the resting time), and they’re a great excuse to take your child’s painting outdoors!

Read the full tutorial: Painting with Ice Cubes

23. Play with Water Balloons

Water balloon fights are a summer must, but there are actually lots of games you can play using water-filled balloons! From water balloon dodgeball to water balloon yo-yos, there are countless ways to transform the activities you love into water games!

Read the full article: Summer Water Balloon Games

24. Have a Water Cup Race

Why not turn cooling down into a fun challenge that will help your child practice both their speed and balance? This one would make a great birthday party game for kids who celebrate their birthday in the summer!

Read the full tutorial: Cup & Water Race

25. Make Ice Cubes Fizz

What child doesn’t love a good baking soda and vinegar reaction? This fizzy ice cube experiment is so easy to prepare, and it’s perfect for little scientists who want to explore the world around them in a hands-on way!

Read the full tutorial: Fizzy Ice Cubes

Related Summer Crafts

Looking for more fun things to do with your kids this summer? Check out these crafts:

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