Summertime and the living is… hot! As temps start climbing, we start looking for fun summer activities for kids. We’ve got 25 ideas for you with an added bonus: WATER! Come see how kids can stay cool while playing outdoors and burning off some energy!
1. Sponge Boats – Make and Takes
These adorable floating sail boats use three simple materials you may already have at home! Your kids will love using them in the bathtub, wading pool or water table. Have races, see if you can make them sink, or find little objects to take a ride!
2. Garden Hose Music – Spoonful
Find fun objects around the house that are made from different materials and are different shapes and sizes – i.e. beach ball, pie tin, cookie sheet, small plastic sheet or tarp, plastic bowls, etc. – and hang them from a fence, bush or even the back of the house. Give the kids a hose with a nozzle attachment and let them “play” the items as musical instruments by hitting them with jets of water. This summer activity for kids will have them loving being sprayed, hearing the music, and making up songs while you’ll love getting the bushes and lawn watered!
3. Water Bottle Raft – Crafts for Kids, PBS Parents
In a fun and thorough video tutorial, you can find all you need to create these bright and colorful rafts. Use items from around the house, dig through your recycling and let your kids creativity run wild! Kids will have a ball floating their rafts in the pool or lake, having races and trying to sink the rafts!
4. Water Balloon Piñata – Ziggity Zoom
This is such an easy way to have fun and cool off! Kids love piñatas – and what’s not to love? They get to be silly and dizzy, swing a bat around, and try to burst a hanging balloon! And instead of candy spilling out, the kids get sprayed and splashed with spilling water.
5. Ice Pirate Ships – for Melissa and Doug Camp Sunny Patch by Pink and Green Mama
One of the “coolest” summer activities for kids, these cute “ice ships” are so easy to make! With your kids’ help, use some water, food coloring, small plastic animals and bendy straws to get your kids’ imaginations flowing. Make your “ships” in plastic containers and pop them in the freezer. Create sails with paper or craft foam to slip over the straws and you’re good to go! Put a bunch in the wading pool, set them afloat in the water table or just have your kids push them around a metal pan of water! The variations on this are endless!
6. Water Balloon Catch – Spoonful
Not only do you get to craft with your kids – making cute catching “buckets” out of milk jugs and ribbon – but your kids get to play a super fun game while running around expending excess energy! Water balloons are a hit with nearly any kid, and they’ll have a blast seeing how long they can keep their balloons intact, how far they can throw them without breaking them, and trying to soak each other. And you don’t need any fancy materials to make or play!
7. Milk Carton Boats – Ziggity Zoom
Imagination can really set sail with this fun water craft! Build boats with juice or milk cartons! You can use paints, markers or duct tape to decorate the boats, then make sails from straws and napkins or paper. After completing your creations, kids can race these sail boats in pools or ponds, urging them on with lots of encouragement and some manmade wind! Finish off this summer activity for kids by letting them play in the tub before retiring the boats in the recycling.
8. Sponge Ball – One Charming Party
These sponge balls are a must for an easy, no mess water fight! They’re fun and simple to make with only two materials needed – sponges and dental floss (or twine or yarn). Simply cut the sponges, group several together and tie them tight. Kids can make them with very little help and they’ll love playing with them afterwards! Why use sponge balls for your next water fight? No time needed for “refills”, no sting when they hit you, and no annoying plastic balloon pieces all over the yard! (Plus, they look cute and are 100% re-usable!)
9. Milk Jug Whitewater Raft – Crafts for Kids by PBS Parents
The bottom of a milk jug makes a fabulous white water raft with very little effort at all! Watch the fun video tutorial to learn just how to cut the jug, poke holes for the “oars” and more. Then let your kids take their Lego people for a ride around the splashy wading pool!
10. Backyard Water Wall – All Parenting
This super creative discovery wall is chock full of water fun! Let your kids help you draw up a plan and design the elements on the wall, shop the hardware store for cheap parts and pull everything together on some pegboard. Set it up in the yard and enjoy hours of entertainment for your little ones!
11. Water Balloon Yo-Yo – kiwi crate
Your little ones will love these happy, bouncing water balloons! Create a yo-yo with a water balloon and a large rubber band in about a minute. Let the kids bounce it around. When it breaks, tie up a new one! Easy and fun for your kids to create, playful and whimsical to use!
12. Paint With Water – The Frugal Girls
Even the toddlers can get in on the water fun! They may not love throwing around water balloons or getting sprayed, but with some brushes, cups and water they can paint with no mess all over the pavement. They’ll be amazed by the “magical” disappearance of their “paint” and have tons of fun!
13. Water blob – Clumsy Crafter
You may have seen this idea floating around pinterest already. A giant “water blob” can be amazing fun for everyone! It’s almost like a waterbed you’re actually allowed to jump on! Let your kids help make it, then watch them perform crazy antics, jump and wiggle, roll and somersault for hours and hours of hilarious entertainment!
14. Water Bottle Rocket – Science Sparks
Summer activities for kids can teach them science principles! Making the rocket is half the fun – and it’s fairly easy to do with a water bottle, some paper and tape. But kids will flip for what comes next – when they launch their very own rocket into the sky! It’s surprisingly simple to do and doesn’t take any special equipment or know-how. Let kids take guesses on how high their bottles will fly.
15. Water Playdate – Sweet and Lovely Crafts
As temperatures climb, parents will jump at any opportunity to help their little ones have fun and cool down. Why not host an entire afternoon of water fun? Follow the link for ideas and activities to make your playdate a success. Kids will have such a blast splish-splashing with their friends all afternoon they’ll be talking about it for months to come!
16. Simple Water Wall – Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails
This variation on a water wall uses containers you’ve already got, along with some inexpensive PVC pipes, to create some pouring and splashing fun for the littles! If you’ve got a fence or railing on a porch or deck, you can create this version in just minutes. You can’t beat easy, cheap and quick for a whole afternoon of engaging fun.
17. Water Arms Race – Bob Vila
All you need are watering cans or buckets with handles, water guns, and rope to play this hilariously fun water game with your kids! Divide into teams and see who can shoot their strung up bucket along the length of the rope faster! Everyone will get soaked, and no one will keep a straight face during this summer activity for kids!
18. Water Balloon Baseball – iCandy Handmade
If your kids dig baseball, this ones for you! Try setting up batting practice, games of catch, and even sliding practice to improve their baseball skills – with a twist! Instead of baseballs, use water balloons! For sliding practice, set up the slip and slide. They’ll never look at baseball the same again!
19. Water Balloon Spoon Races – Two Shades of Pink
You’ve likely seen the common egg on spoon races at picnic and outdoor parties… but have you tried it with water balloons instead? Purchase large wooden spoons at the dollar store to balance your balloons easily and see who makes it to the finish line first – without bursting their precious cargo! Splashes and laughter guaranteed!
20. Angry Birds Water Balloon Game – No Time For Flash Cards
Anyone familiar with the popular Angry Birds app is bound to love this water balloon version! Here you can see they drew their targets – the pigs – on the ground with chalk, but you could use balls for the bigs and set them up on tables, chairs, blocks of wood or anything really for a more 3D version too.
21. Soap Boat Races – i heart nap time
For once, kids won’t mind lathering up with soap! Grab some cheap bars (you could even get them at the dollar store) and create boats with toothpicks and small triangles as sails. Use a plastic rain gutter and your average garden hose to make a river for your soap boat and let your kids race away!
22. Spray Away Carnival Game – Your Homebased Mom
With very little effort, you can create the base of this game with a board, golf tees and ping pong balls. Then give your kids some squirt guns and let them have at it! They may end up getting each other a little wet as their “aim” goes a little awry, but that’s most of the fun in this game anyway!
23. Water Noodle Sprinkler – Ziggity Zoom
Connect a dollar store water noodle to your hose, poke some holes, hang from a tree and let loose! As this noodles twists and turns in a wriggly, watery dance, your kids will have a ball jumping through those cooling jets! It’s a unique take on the homemade sprinkler, and uses easy to find materials and minimal time and effort commitment. Which is good, since you want to get to the fun part right away…
24. Colored “Glass” – Hurrayic
Make giant, brightly colored ice cubes by putting food coloring in water balloons and freezing them. Cut away the balloon and put the “colored glass” in the wading pool with your kids! Or set them outside and let your kids spray them with the hose and watch the colors combine.
25. Mini Water Bead Aquarium – Sweet Little Peanut
Aquariums seem to be kid magnets. Why not make one they can actually play IN? You can create a mini aquarium with lots of fun little sea creatures, water beads and – of course – a net to catch them all in. It doesn’t take much, and kids will love being able to fish about in the water. Not only does this promote discovery, curiosity, imagination and pretend play, but your kids will cool down and have a blast!
For even more fun summer activities for kids, be sure to check out these ideas:
Title image via Better Homes and Gardens.
Featured image via Sweet Little Peanut.
Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com
Originally published 07.22.2014 // Updated 05.11.2020