Best backyard water fun for kids and best outdoor water activities for family fun! Here’s how to have water fun without a pool and ideas for water play for kids, perfect for summer activities for kids, a backyard party, and family outdoor time. Unique ideas and fun ways to keep cool in the heat!
BEST BACKYARD WATER FUN FOR FAMILIES
Looking for backyard water play or backyard water activities for toddlers and up?
You’ll love these kid friendly backyard ideas on a budget and outdoor activity ideas with water — for toddlers, water activities for preschoolers, elementary kids, and even backyard water fun for tweens and teens!
How can I make my backyard fun?
One of the ways you can make your backyard a place kids want to hang in in the summer is to create outdoor water fun for kids — and it doesn’t have be extensive! It can be as simple as a cheap baby pool filled with water balloons!
Here’s how to create the best outdoor water fun on a budget and backyard water fun without a pool!
How can I have fun in water without a pool?
- Have a water fun day that includes water games and outdoor bubbles!
- Look for water slide fun jumps for sale cheap on Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, or garage sale listings.
- Get a water fun table for toddlers and younger kids.
- Have a backyard water carnival! (learn how below)
- Create a water fun games obstacle course.
- Have outdoor beach day around a baby pool, complete with beach music and beach drinks!
- Play water hose limbo, complete with music and prizes!
- Have a wet sponge relay race.
- Do summer water fun art with squirt bottles and colored water.
- Have a squirt the target contest with water guns or even just the water hose!
- Turn your backyard into a water park with slip n slides, baby pools, sprinklers and more DIY backyard water activities!
- Play water balloon baseball or tennis or toss the water balloon (water balloon hot potato).
- Have a water bucket race.
- Play throw the wet sponge where the person who gets hit is out.
Why Water Play Is Important For Kids
Why water play is important for toddlers and up:
- Helps strengthen fine motor skills.
- Helps with gross motor skills.
- Encourages kids to explore
- Helps build confidence in skills
- Practices thinking and reasoning
- Builds science skills
- Helps build observation skills
- Encourages all different levels of sensory play
According to Michigan State University:
“Early childhood educators cannot overstate the importance of sensory play in the educational process. It is the foundation of all the skills children will use in school learning to read, write and solve math and science problems. Once a child has these experiences, they are able to draw upon the body memory and cognitive memory of their experiences when faced with new situations.”
Backyard water activities for toddlers:
- Give them a bucket of water and a sponge for cheap and easy hours of fun.
- Aim a sprinkler at your backyard swing or put the water hose on the slide.
- Get a bin and fill it with water and random objects. Give the toddler a ladle for scooping fun.
- Play car wash and allow them to wash their tricycle or riding toys.
- Float toy boats in a big plastic bin or baby pool.
- Blow bubbles into a bucket or baby pool.
- Paint with water using a bucket of water, paint brushes and the sidewalk or deck.
- Fill some different size spray and squirt bottles (or try these) and let them have fun outside!
- Freeze some fun mini toys or plastic numbers and letters in ice and give them toddler play tools to try to get them out.
- Get a water table.
- Fill a baby pool with water, floating duckies, and ball pit balls and let them go to town.
- Get a cheap bubble blower and put it near your sprinkler to run through.
OK! Let’s get to the cool backyard water activities!
What water fun without a pool can you have with the family?
WHAT IS THE BEST OUTDOOR ACTIVITY WITH WATER?
What do you do on a hot day outside with water?
Here are the best backyard water activities for kids and family:
Baby pool play.
Before you do anything else, buy a baby pool. And, it doesn’t matter how old (or young) your kids are. You can use a baby pool for so many fun things other than just sitting a baby in.
Plus, baby pools are super cheap.
Creative uses for baby pools:
- Water ball pit
- Beach party feet soaker (getting just your feet wet cools you down significantly!)
- Fill it with water beads for some sensory play
- Water balloon holder
- Use it to refill water guns
- Place all different sizes of sponges in the filled pool and use them to throw at each other (it’s way more awesome than it sounds)
- Fill it with water, a little sand, and colored rocks and let the kids “mine for gold” using their beach sand sifters.
Garden hose car wash.
Make a DIY kiddie car wash that your kids can run through or drive their favorite trikes, bikes, or riding toys through.
Play with sprinklers.
Sprinklers are a must-have items for backyard water fun because you can do so many things with them.
- Run through sprinklers
- Play sprinkler tag.
- Put your sprinkler on or near your trampoline.
- Have a water tug of war in the sprinklers.
- Get a rotating sprinkler for jumping over the sprinkler stream.
Have a water balloons bash.
Backyard water fun MUST include water balloons. (Our favorites are the multi-fill ones and we always keep them on-hand for summer fun!)
- Have a water balloon fight.
- Hang water balloons all around trees, across a clothesline, or on a playset and play water balloon pinata.
- Play stomp the water balloons. The person who stomps the most within a specific amount of time wins.
- See how long you can toss a water balloon in the air before you drop it.
Make a DIY homemade slip and slide.
Up for a project? Learn how to make a slip and slide with a tarp.
The great thing about making a slip and slide is that it’s fun for all ages (even fun outdoor water activities for adults)!
Play backyard water games.
- Play water balloon corn hole: using a regular cornhole game, try to get the water balloon into the hole without bursting it. (Or, for a variation, use small, wet sponges!)
- Play squirt gun “LASER” tag using these vests and squirt guns.
- Have super squirter wars.
- Play Hydro Zoom Ball.
Create a backyard water carnival.
Make a carnival come to life in your backyard … using water games! Be sure to give out fun prizes to winners like colorful beach sunglasses, beach towels, or even beach balls.
- Instead of a dunk tank, play throw the wet sponge at a face. Trade out who gets to be “the face.”
- Toss balloons into a bucket for prizes.
- Put the hose or sprinkler on the trampoline or slide for your water ride!
- Fill a baby pool or plastic storage bin with water and float rubber duckies for the duck pull. Don’t forget to write numbers on the bottom! Let each number correspond to a specific prize.
- Fish for prizes using a fun kid’s fishing set like this.
- Set up a squirt gun shooting gallery.
- Need tween or tween backyard water ideas? Get a dart set and attach water balloons to a huge piece of cardboard for the throwing darks at balloons game.
- Don’t forget about a place to rest! Fill the baby pool with water and place lawn chairs around it for those who just want water hang time.
What do you do on a hot day outside with water?