Water Play - FamilyEducation

Water Play

America's Top Family-Friendly Water Parks

There's no better way for parents and kids to cool off on a hot summer's day than with a plunge down a water slide. Here are some of our favorite family water parks around the country. read more

Bath-Time Fun

Bath-Time Fun Bathtime (or pooltime) is fun time for your toddler. Playing with water is both fun and fascinating. Your child can see it, and he can touch it, but he can't hold it for more than a second before it washes out through his fingers. And pouring water, which can flow so smoothly, is not at all like dumping sand or any other solid. Old favorites such as rubber duckies or other floating animals will of course delight your toddler in the bath or wading pool. But almost anything else that floats (so long as it's safe) will also be a big hit. read more


Bull's-EyeTime 15 to 20 minutes Materials Variety of hand-sized spongesBucket of waterChalk Directions Draw a target on outdoor pavement.Soak the sponges in the bucket of water and toss them into the center of the target. Extensions Play until the bull's-eye is erased.Draw the target on a wall for a different throwing experience.Alternate turns for 2 throws, letting the child keep track of who is up next. read more

Colored Sand

Colored Sand Materials Spray bottle Water Food coloring or liquid paint Directions Fill a spray bottle with water and add a few drops of food coloring or a few spoonfuls of liquid paint. Let your child spray the sand in the sandbox to make a colorful desert. Turn the sand over with a shovel and watch the color disappear. Now your child can start all over again. read more

First Water Slide

First Water SlideTime 15 to 20 minutes Materials Plastic tarp, old shower curtain, or heavy-duty plastic garbage bagWarm water Directions read more

Flotation Experiment

Flotation ExperimentMaterials Bathtub or sink Lightweight objects corks, feathers, plastic lids or caps, sponges Heavier objects paper clips, pencils, buttons Directions read more

Funnel and Fill

Funnel and FillTime 20 to 30 minutes Materials Several small funnelsPlastic bottlesWater Directions Set out an array of small funnels, cups, and plastic bottles and work together to transfer the water from one bottle to another. Extensions read more

Ice Blocks

Ice BlocksBuild giant ice blocks and balls for a toddler to play with outside. If small ice cubes melt too quickly, try making a larger block of ice to play with in the bath or outside on a warm summer day. Materials Clean milk carton Water Food coloring (optional) Small plastic toys (optional) Directions read more

Muddied Waters

Muddied WatersMaterials 3 clean jars Garden soil Sand Dirt Stick Directions read more

Pavement Painting

Pavement PaintingMaterialsPlastic bucket Large paint brushes Old sponges Water Directions read more

Pretend Car Wash

Pretend Car WashMaterials Bucket of warm, soapy water Cloth or sponge Hose Riding toys Directions Help your child set up a toddler car wash. Give her a bucket of warm, soapy water and a cloth or sponge, and let her wash her riding toys. She may need help using the hose to rinse them when she's finished. read more

Sponge Play

Sponge Play Materials Sponges Water 2 bowls or other containers Directions Fill one bowl with water and add a few drops of food coloring if you like. Show your toddler how to place the sponge in the bowl of water, then transfer the water to the empty bowl by squeezing the sponge. read more

Tabletop Water-Play

Tabletop Water-PlayTime 20 to 30 minutes Materials Large and small plastic bowlLarge plastic cooking spoonWater Directions The motion and properties of water are mysteries to toddlers, and exploring them can provide great entertainment. Sit with your toddler at a low table outside and demonstrate how to spoon water from the big bowl to the little bowl. Extensions read more

Toddler Sprinkler

Toddler SprinklerThis idea may become a real hit around your house-outside, of course! Materials Large plastic bottle (gallon milk jugs work great) Hammer and nail Directions Use a hammer and nail to poke holes in the bottom of a large plastic bottle. When you're outside, fill the bottle with water and let your child sprinkle the grass, flowers, sidewalk, driveway, and so on. read more

Top Summer Games and Activities for Kids

Looking for some fun summer day activities for your kids? Well look no further! Beach Obstacle Course All you need is a stick and a shovel to make a fun beach activity for your child. Read the instructions for the Beach Obstacle Course. read more

Toy Boats

Toy Boats Materials Styrofoam meat trays Straw White construction paper Scissors Tape Directions Make toy sailboats with clean Styrofoam meat trays. Insert a straw into the tray for the mast. Cut triangular sails from white construction paper and tape to the straw. Your child can sail her boat in a bathtub, a swimming pool, or a tub of water. read more

Wash the Dishes

Wash the DishesMaterials Baby bathtub or large basin Water Miscellaneous nonbreakable household items Child's toys and play dishes Soap (optional) Directions On a warm day, set a tub of water on the deck or in the backyard and fill it with plastic cups, funnels, straws, sponges, sieves, and so on. For more fun, add a little soap. Dress your child in a bathing suit and have her wash her toys or dishes. read more

Water Fight

Water FightMaterials Water balloons Water pistols Garden hose, or pool of water Plastic containers Directions Using water balloons, water pistols, a garden hose, or a pool of water and some plastic containers, have a water fight with your child. Invite some of your child's friends over for the fun. Serve Popsicles or ice-cream cones afterward. read more

Water Fun

Water FunMaterials Sprinkler Garden hose with spray nozzleDirections read more

Water Games

Water Games As we learned earlier, team sports are great for teaching kids about strategy, teamwork, and social interaction. Add some water and see how quickly they learn how much fun summer can be! Water Basketball—Splashketball! High Score To include little kids in the game, have them team up with the big kids. For example, a big kid and a little kid will make a great two-person Octopus! read more

Water Play

Water PlayTime 30 minutes Materials Wading or plastic tub with a few inches of waterWaterplay equipment such as empty squeeze bottles, plastic cups, boats, funnels, balls, floating objects, plant sprayer, sponge or dish rag, etc. Directions read more

Water Swing

Water SwingTime 10 to 20 minutes Materials Lawn sprinklerToddler seat swing Directions Turn on an oscillating sprinkler that has been up near a swing so the drops fall on the baby as he swings back and forth. This activity should bring squeals of interest and delight. Extensions Hold your baby and run in and out of the sprinkler.Go through the sprinkler with an umbrella. read more