5 of the best water play activities for home this summer

children splashing around wth water

Summertime is here! Temperatures are rising, and you know what that means – a whole lot of outdoor fun.

Water play is one of the all-time favourite activities with children in our centres, and one that can be easily replicated at home on hot summer days.

By gathering items that you already have around the home, the opportunities for water play become endless. The environment is a wonderful teacher, and water play is both educational and enjoyable; even by simply pouring water from one container to another, children are able to develop eye-hand coordination and math and science concepts!

Here are some great ideas for water play activities with toddlers:

Lagoon sensory bin

Let your child create the underwater world of their dreams! Simply grab a bucket or tray, add water, and gather all their favourite marine toys – mermaids, sea creatures, shells and pebbles galore. Encourage tipping, scooping and pouring for great sensory play.

Make fairy soup

With your child, gather some flowers from the garden or on a walk to the local park. Combine the flowers with some glitter and even coloured water to attract fairies and encourage pretend play! Coloured water is easy to DIY at home – simply find some markers that are drying out, pop them upside down in a container of water and let them sit for 24 hours.

Make it sustainable

Encourage children to reduce, re-use and recycle with what goes into their water play activities. You might like to build a rain collector in the garden to measure any water collected and use it for water play activities.

Incorporate conversations about the value of water and how we use it, showing children how to use the water to give plants and the garden a drink when they’re done with their play! Ensure that hoses and taps are also turned off when not using them.

You could even work together to make a pond or similar habitat for creatures such as frogs and birds to enjoy.

Washing station

Do the toys need some cleaning? Why not make it fun by involving the little ones. Children love taking responsibility for their belongings, and there’s just something so satisfying about seeing the results of a good washing job!

Soap foam fun

Sensory play feels great on little hands and is such a wonderful, calming way to engage in water play. Check out our easy, fun soap recipe here.

What do children learn through water play?

  1. Persistence and exploration – By carrying buckets to fill watering troughs and exploring the different textures of sand with water added.
  2. Language and communication skills – By talking with their friends, educators and parents about what they’re doing using the language of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
  3. Social skills – By sharing equipment with friends, laughing, playing and enjoying the company of others.
  4. Scientific and Mathematical skills – By exploring their working theories about sinking or floating, volume, measurement and properties of matter.
  5. Environmental appreciation – By engaging in conversations about reusing, recycling, and sustainability to protect our precious natural resource.

Just a note: Before basking in the glorious sun outside, we’re taking a moment to remind you that it’s important for you and your child/ren to apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before heading out.