5 Easy (and Free) Summer Water Activities for Kids


While the local YMCA, city pool and splash parks are great options for staying cool, sometimes packing up all of our gear, sunscreen and snacks seems like more trouble than it’s worth with a preschooler and a toddler in a tow. Here are some of my favorite summer water activities with little or no prep time – and you probably have most of the items at home! 

Water Paintbrush

This is literally the easiest water activity ever and one of my kids’ favorites. Give them a couple large paintbrushes, a bowl of water and let them go crazy “painting” on the side of your garage or shed. Our metal outbuilding is the perfect canvas for water painting. 

Truck Wash 

As a mom of two dirt-loving boys, we have an abundance of toy trucks that have been driven through dirt piles and caked with mud. These are what we call “outside toys”. Fill up a 5 gallon plastic bucket with soapy water, have your children gather their “outside toys”(mainly trucks, in our case) and line them up for the truck wash. A few oversized sponges and a hose are the other accessories you’ll need for this activity. 

Sink Or Swim 

In addition to being a boy mom, I am a huge science nerd and love to secretly incorporate learning activities into our days. For the sink or swim activity, you will need a large container of water, an assortment of items (different shapes and sizes) and pen and paper. Ask your child to make predictions about which items will float or sink and write down the predictions. After testing all of the items, talk about what happened, why it happened and if you were surprised by any of the results. 

Pouring Station 

Gather several plastic containers (like all of that tupperware with missing lids that won’t stay in the cabinet) of various sizes. We have a water table at home and I have found that it works well to fill up the water table and put all the containers in the water table. My toddler loves pouring water in and out of the different containers. If you don’t have a water table, a large, shallow plastic storage container will work to hold the water and pouring containers. 

Giant Bubble Target Practice (my preschooler’s invention) 

If you have one of the inflatable bubble ponds, bubble wands, bubble solution and squirt guns and/or water blasters, you already have everything you will need for this activity. My preschooler discovered that giant bubbles are even more fun if you squirt them with water blasters! 

What are your favorite summer water activities?


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Lauren and her husband Dan live in El Dorado with their two boys (born 2011 and 2014). They have added a goldendoodle, a hedgehog and two cats to their family in recent years and are expecting a daughter to join their crew at the end of 2020! She is an elementary school secretary, a member of the Junior League of Wichita and the Tri-County CASA Board of Directors. Lauren spent much of her childhood in Lawrence, Kansas and moved to El Dorado about ten years ago after her husband graduated from pharmacy school. She gets by on a lot of coffee and loves all the messy, fun, wild and wonderful parts of being a mom.