Beyond the Sprinkler: 5 Water Play Activities

Beyond the Sprinkler: 5 Water Play Activities

Water play has to be the most loved and iconic of summertime play! Incorporating water into your play is a great way to cool your kids off and burn off some big energy. If your summers run hot, it is the only way to enjoy being outside when the heat hits. Here are a few creative ways to bring water into your outdoor play this summer.

  • Spray bottles: Your little one will love spraying everything in sight. Let them mist the plants, spray and wash the windows, or spray your feet to keep you cool.  For really hot days, refrigerate your spray bottle and have fun spraying each other off with the extra cool water. Going to the park or on a hike? Take that spray bottle with you in case of extra heat! For extra fun you can add something that smells wonderful, like rosewater, into the water bottle. 

  • DIY water tables: Take a wide watertight container with low sides and place it up on a low table or even on the ground for really young ones. You can repurpose your baby bath or a simple tupperware for this purpose. Put five or six containers and a few spoons or other kitchen utensils in the bin. Fill it up and stand back. It is likely your little one will play happily for a long time, and get very wet in the process. Swap the things in the bin out every few days. Fun items to include: ladles, basters, sives, water, funnels, ketchup bottles, spice bottles. Kids tend to love this activity, and they are learning so much while they play! If you need a little extra fun one day add some bubbles and a whisk to spice up the water play! Please note, children’s play should be monitored at all times. Children should never be left alone or unattended near water. 

  • Water me:  Especially if you are living in an area that is not abundant in water, you’ll need to think about your summer water use. One great way to get your kids wet and water the plants is to water them together! Invite your little ones to pretend they are plants, and let them stand near or over plants that need to be watered. When you water your child, the runoff will land on the plants and they will get a needed drink! Some children will not appreciate the water over their heads, in this case you can just water below the neck!

  • Washing the car: Another way to have your water do double duty is by washing the car together. The kids can have some cooling fun getting sprayed alongside your vehicle, and you can wash the car while hanging with your little ones! Most kids will love the process of soaping up the car as well. It’s a great gross motor activity the whole family can enjoy. 

  • Paint me: This works well if you need a quieter activity or if you just need a little extra cooling off. Grab some paint brushes and a cup of cool water. Enjoy “painting” the water on legs, feet, arms and faces. You can investigate the way the water evaporates off of the skin and how the sunlight sparkles on the water.  


Children should never be left unattended near water. Children's play should be monitored at all times. 

By Olynda Smith AMS Certified Montessori teacher and Simplicity Parenting Family Life Coach