5 Fun Games to Play with Water this Summer

If you #RelaxPlaySwim to the fullest this summer, then you may consider some fun outdoor playtime in the water with your family and friends to celebrate the warm weather. Thanks to Linda from Rain or Shine Mamma for working with us and providing some great ideas to make the most of your summer. This is a sponsored post from NAMCO.

Few things capture children’s imagination like water. They love to pour it, jump in it, spray each other with it, swim in it, blow bubbles in it, throw things in it…well, you get the idea. There’s a good reason for this – water play is packed with sensory experiences and learning opportunities for children. According to the journal Dimensions of Early Childhood:

Free play with water can build the foundation for understanding of a multitude of scientific concepts, including those in physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics.

When children move and manipulate water they also practice problem solving and gross and fine motor skills, which is beneficial to their physical development. And just like adults like to relax in a hot tub or by taking a warm shower, water relieves tension in children. Maybe most importantly – water play is FUN!

Summer is the perfect time for outdoor water play, since it means fewer messes in the house. These are five of our favorite ways to play with water in the summer:

1. Hang by the Pool

On those sweltering summer days, the pool is an unbeatable kid (and adult!) favorite. For the littlest swimmers, a baby float is a great way to get acquainted with the pool. Toddlers love tinkering with clean recycled plastic containers, which can be used for measuring, pouring and throwing the pool water. For older kids, some simple and inexpensive games can be a fun way to spend a few hours at the pool. For some creative ideas, check out these 17 Swimming Pool Games for Kids and these Water Games and Pool Activities for Kids and Teens or 11 Pool Games for Kids that Rock.  Simple pool toys like a ring toss game, pool noodles and a disc toss game also make for great entertainment.


2. Make a Mud Kitchen

Another reason why water is such a great play material is that it makes mud! I know, mud is messy and dirty and not every parent’s cup of tea, but the fact is that there are some very real benefits to letting your child play in the mud. With a mud kitchen in the backyard, your kids will have a place for making mud pies, mud chocolate, stone soup and other yummy culinary creations. Making a mud kitchen can be as simple as placing some wooden boards over tree stumps, cinder blocks or bricks, and adding old pots, pans and other kitchen utensils. Or, you can go all out and be inspired by these elaborate 20 mud kitchen ideas, or search for mud kitchens on Pinterest – many boards are specifically dedicated to this topic. Learn with Play at Home also has some great ideas for how to get started with a few simple supplies. Many of the materials needed for a mud kitchen you or somebody you know will likely have sitting around, so try to reuse and repurpose as much as possible. Flea markets are also a great place to find mud kitchen accessories.


Image courtesy of 1001gardens.org.

3. Create a Water Wall

Kids love pouring water and watching it move through different obstacles. A water wall packs both of these activities into one place, and you don’t need mad construction skills to create one. A water wall is an easy DIY project that can be constructed from a variety of backings, for example a chain link fence, wood pallet, latticework or wood fence. Once you’ve decided on the backing, scavenge for materials that you will attach to the wall. A few popular ideas are: clean, recycled plastic containers (milk jugs, yogurt and butter containers etc), pool noodles, PVC pipe, funnels and rain gutters. Depending on the backing, you can either use zip-ties, heavy-duty wire or a staple gun to attach the containers. Let your kids help with the design – creating a water wall isn’t just fun, it’s also a great STEM activity! Happy Hooligans and Little Bins for Little Hands both have great ideas for getting started. And be sure to collect and reuse the water at the bottom of the wall, so it doesn’t get wasted.


Image courtesy of Happy Hooligans.

4. Play in the Rain

Playing outside in the rain won’t make your kids sick, so don’t let a little inclement weather stop you from getting outdoors! Feeling a gentle summer drizzle against your skin, jumping in puddles and digging your hands into a mud pile are all great sensory experience for children. The rain also brings about changes in nature that pique children’s curiosity. All of a sudden, the driveway is crawling with earthworms and the ground is littered with slugs. Take advantage of these changes to ask questions like, “Why do you think the earthworms come out when it rains?” “Where does rain come from?” “What happens to the plants when it rains?” Making these observations helps kids bond with nature and get a better understanding of how everything is connected. Prepare by checking out these tips for outdoor rainy day play.

5. Sink or Float

Sink or float is an old classic with almost endless variations. All you really need for this activity is a bucket or small tub of water, and a variety of objects to try out. Before you get started, talk about what makes something sink or float. (Hint: it depends on the object’s density, i.e. how tightly packed its molecules are, not necessarily its weight.) While young children may not grasp this concept, they can still make guesses about which items will float and which ones will sink. They will also love collecting the items, for example a pine cone, rock, piece of bark, flower, leaf, stick, coin, paper clip, etc. For a more advanced sink and float experiment, check out this post from Easy Science for Kids.

Will the rubber duck sink or float?

Have fun!

Linda McGurk is a freelance writer who blogs about outdoor play and connecting children with nature at Rain or Shine Mamma. Visit her blog for more ideas about getting outdoors every day, regardless of the weather.

What are your favorite water-related activities? Please join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook to find out more fun water ideas!

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