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Super Fun Water Play Activities For Kids & Families

The temperatures are rising and that means one thing: it’s time for some fun water activities! Water play is a great way to cool down during the summer months. It’s also a fun way for kids to exercise and explore their creativity. These water play activities for kids and families are the perfect way to beat the heat on a hot summer day! So grab your swimsuits and get ready to have some fun!

Water activities for kids are a great choice for summer and warmer weather. Water is the perfect sensory play option for helping young children learn and the opportunities to incorporate water into play are endless.

Water play activities for preschoolers


We have always enjoyed using water play activities for toddlers when our girls were younger, but now they are a bit older, it opens up so many new and exciting possibilities!

Water play activities for kids are endless, limited only to your imagination and what props you have on hand!

Our girls have always loved their water play table and shell pool, however sometimes it is fun to do something a little different.

This is a great way to boost a child’s creativity and create hours of fun. Plus it keeps them cool during summer! This is a must when living in a hot climate like ours!

Best water play activities for preschoolers


You don’t need a swimming pool to enjoy these water games while staying cool!

These water activities are a great way to occupy and entertain children during school holidays, with the bonus of learning and exercise included with many of the water play activities included in this collection!

Many of these activities are suited to both younger kids and older kids who are already school-aged.

Some may even appeal to teens and adults too, so the entire family can get involved and have some water fun! Plus they can help get kids more active too!

Benefits of Water Play For Kids

Water play is not only a great way to beat the heat, but it also offers many benefits for kids. Water play helps kids develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It can also support improved balance and strength.

It’s also a great way to encourage imaginative play. And because water play is so sensory, it can help calm and relax kids who might be feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

Many water play activities are excellent for the development of fine motor skills in preschool-aged children, through the continual use of their fingers and hands as they engage in different activities.

It is also a fantastic way to encourage problem-solving and learning through play.

Kids can explore the way water interacts with different toys and substances, or they can observe the movement and impact water has as they attempt to manipulate it.

Water is a perfect sensory activity for kids!

Water play is a fantastic way to cool down and learn through play during the warmer months. Bring on some summer holiday learning fun!

Indoor Water Activities For Kids

Water play isn’t restricted to the outdoors! These indoor water activities are perfect for indoors, even on a rainy day or during the winter months when playing in the backyard isn’t ideal.

Colour Changing Water Play

Water play activities for preschoolers

It’s pretty magical to see how colours change. This colour change activity uses stuff you likely have at home and you can teach the kids how the different colours are mixed to create new colour combinations.

Bubble Party in the Sink

Water play activities for preschoolers

Bubbles are often involved with water play ideas for early years and babies because it does not matter how old you are, bubbles are always fun!

This bubble play is such a simple idea for water activities for kids that you could also do in the bath if you wanted to contain the water a bit more, or outdoors in a tub.

Educational Ocean Theme Preschool Sensory Bin

Water play activities for preschoolers

Sensory bins and themed scenes for water play are perfect for encouraging the use of imagination in younger children. This ocean play sensory bin would also be a good option for outdoors.

You could come up with lots of different ideas for your theme that incorporate water. Sand play activities are always popular with kids.

Jar Lid Boats Water Play

Sail boats from lids

Watching things float is a great way to introduce early science concepts and also give them the chance to make their own super cute floating jar lid boat. This is a water play activity for all ages. This is also a great indoor or outdoor water play activity. 

This fantastic fun will also help teach kids about what will float and what won’t by giving them different materials to experiment with for their boat building.

Ice Digging

Another great idea that can work indoors or outdoors is ice digging. Fill a container with water and add in some small toys then put it in the freezer for a few hours, or overnight. Give your child a spoon or other tools they can safely use to dig at the ice cube.

This is a fun activity for them to learn about how ice cubes melt too and things that make the ice melt faster, like blowing on a spot with warm breath.

Outdoor Water Activities For Kids & Families

There are even more water activities for kids that you can do outdoors and these are perfect for hot summer days when you don’t mind the kids getting drenched! Many of these water activities are suited to the whole family, with ideas to get all ages involved.

Water Play With Flowers

Water play activities for preschoolers

Flower soup is a water activity that incorporates a bit of nature from the backyard. This is a perfect sensory activity that does not cost you a thing, as it is using things you likely have on hand. Kids love anything that involves water transfer from one container to another and it allows for some wonderful open ended play.

Sponge Water Bombs

Water play activities for preschoolers

Water fights can be one of the favourite water games for kids.  These DIY sponge water bombs are a soft and cheap alternative to water balloons that leaves no mess. Best of all, you can make them yourself using sponges from your local discount store!

Sponge bombs are also a great water play activity for older children… and maybe the adults too during warmer weather!

Reusable Water Balloons

Reusable water bombs

Did you know you can get reusable water balloons? These silicone water bombs are a great alternative to water balloons and have magnetic seals that keep the water in during play. Then you can just refill them and throw them again.

This is a great low-mess activity that everyone will love since there are no busted water balloons all over your backyard!

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Find loads of water balloon game ideas and other balloon games.

Painting With Water 

Water play activities for preschoolers

This painting with water idea is an easy water play activity our kids do often when they visit their grandparents, as they have their own set of paintbrushes for outside to paint on the pavement. Kids can practice forming letters or spelling words and then it all dries up to start again.

DIY Backyard Splash Mat

Sprinkler splash pad

This splash mat is a little more elaborate to put together but what an awesome fun water activity for the backyard that even the big kids would be excited to join in with. Actually, if you make it long enough, I’m pretty sure mum and dad will join the fun too!!

Water Bucket Race

This is a great water activity for kids of all ages and can be played with as few as two people or in teams like a relay race.

Fill several buckets with water and line them up at one end of the backyard or park. At the other end, place an empty bucket for each player. On go, players must race to their bucket, fill it up and race back to refill their bucket. The first player to fill up their other bucket wins!

Target T-Shirts and Water Pistols

Water play activities for preschoolers

This target practice game is an active outdoor water play activity that is so much fun, using water guns. A great way to teach younger kids to practice their motor skills and coordination by aiming at the target, plus it’s a chance to cool off too.

Other Water Play Ideas Suitable for Pre-School-Aged Children

Our children love playing with their water table, which has different sections to fill with water, water wheels, slides and scoops.

They love filling up the little pools and of course, it usually ends in a bit of splashing! One of the easiest summer activities for preschoolers, plus homemade water tables can be really easy to put together too.

They also enjoy playing in their backyard inflatable pool under supervision of course, usually with their mini backyard slide for some added fun.

Our girls are also obsessed with LOL Surprise Dolls, which has increased their love of water play since each of the dolls has a different surprise ability – they spit up, tinkle, cry and some colour change too. This means the girls are always asking for a bowl of icy cold water to play in with their doll collection.

Here are a few more ideas for water games and activity ideas for kids learning and fun:

  • Bubble Painting – Make bubbles in a tub and add some food colouring and place paper over the bubbles to make fun prints
  • Ice Block Excavation – Freeze some plastic toys in a bowl of water, slide out of the bowl and let kids dig away at the ice until they find the treasures
  • Sprinkler Play – Set up a sprinkler outside and let the kids run around
  • Sensory Bottles – Fill old plastic bottles with water, food colouring, and small items, seal well and let them shake it up and see what happens
  • Water Tunnels – Use old tubes and funnels to create your own water tunnels and watch the water flow through
  • Blowing Bubbles – You can’t go past the simple bubble wand, no matter the age. Everyone loves bubbles!
  • Building Sandcastles – A beach trip is the perfect sand and water play ideas for preschoolers. Pack the bucket and spade and you’re good to go!
  • Kiddie Pool – Fill the kiddie pool with water and toys so kids can enjoy sensory fun with water transfer and small toys, things that float and things that sink.
  • Soapy Water – Fill a bucket or a tub with dish soap and water for the kids to play in.
  • Spray Bottles – Give the kids a spray bottle to go outdoors with so they can spray plants, fences and other textures, or each other, to see what happens.

Free printable school holiday bucketlist : Get it here

Want some water fun ideas for the big kids? There are loads of swimming pool games to keep them occupied during the hot weather for hours!

Water Safety With Kids

Water safety is something very close to my heart and something everyone needs to take so seriously! Ensure all your water activities are done under complete supervision and that your children know how to be safe around water. Little lives matter!

Make sure you check out these home activities and backyard activities for home with 200+ indoor and outdoor fun ideas for the whole family!

What other water activities do you or your children enjoy?

Need more fun ideas to entertain the kids:


Sunday 23rd of December 2018

I think these were some really good suggestions. Although, I would like to add one of my own. I bought a backyard water sprayer in the shape of a Fire Hydrant for my niece on her birthday. I was really great.