10 Backyard Water Activities on a Budget

Do you have a free day and want something new and fun to do with your child?  Why not stay at home and enjoy some backyard water fun?  Water play is such a great way to entertain your youngster.  It is a wonderful hands-on experience that can keep them occupied for hours.  Here are 10 fun ways to cool off during those hot summer days!
10 Backyard Water Activities On A Budget 1 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families

Outdoor Games for Kids

Who needs the beach?

You won’t believe how much fun a toddler will have with everyday bowls and cups.  You can also use sand toys for this activity as well!  Just fill the containers with water and let your kids splash around!

 Water Play Collage

Little Gardener

Have your children explore the outdoors by watering flowers and other plants.  This can be a great activity to teach them how to help Mom and Dad work in the garden.  You can give them their own small watering can and have them work beside you.  They will love to help you do a grown-up activity! If they are really interested, you could even have them help you plant some things and watch them grow over the weeks to come.

Kid “Car” Wash

Have your kids “drive” their bikes, play cars, or scooters onto the grass or driveway near the house.  Make a solution of baby wash and water; give them sponges in order to wash their “cars”.  If they are too young to use the hose, you can rinse the “cars” once they are finished!

Paint by Water

This is a fun alternative to painting inside on a nice day. Give your kids several buckets (or sand pails) of water and paintbrushes.  Have them use the water to “paint” on the sidewalk or driveway.  Use sidewalk chalk to add more color to their paintings.  Even better than just chalk and water, use this post to make your own sidewalk chalk paint!

Kiddie Pool Fun!


There are many things that you can use in a kiddie pool for a fun afternoon!  Not only can your child splash around in the water but there are many common toys or household items that you can use to entertain them!  Here are some of the many that you can try!

  • plastic bowls and cups
  • sand toys
  • toy boats and cars
  • rubber ducks
  • small kitchen strainer/colander
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • plastic cookie cutters
  • squirt toys or plastic animals
  • sea shells
  • plastic ice cubes
  • sponges (see the craft below for a great way to use these!)


Check out this creative craft on the blog, One Charming Party.
For this craft you will need:

  •  4 sponges
  • String – this can be regular twine or kitchen/butcher’s twine (something strong because you want it to stay in place)
  • Scissors

First, cut the sponges in thirds length-wise.

Next, stack the sponge thirds in threes (so you should have 4 stacks of three).  You can mix the colors up as well in these stacks so the sponge ball is multicolored!

Twist the sponges together (like you would wring a towel) and wrap the string around the center of all the sponges.  Tie it tight around them and double the knot to make sure it stays in place.

And…you have made a sponge ball!

You can have your kids throw these around the yard after dunking in a bucket of water or play with them in the kiddie pool while splashing around!

For more great DIY ideas, check out our MAKE section!

Scrabble in the Pool

This is a fun game if you have children who are just learning how to spell or read.  It could even be fun for little ones if you helped to play!  Check out this great pool game at Toddler Approved {discover.create.learn}.


For this activity, you will need:
A permanent marker

Cut the sponges in half and write letters on each one.  For a kiddie pool, you can just make the letters that are used often to spell out common words (ex. cat, dog).

Throw the Scrabble sponges into the pool to mix them up and then grab a couple to spell a word.  See how many you can come up with using the letters you have!

Forget the ice cream truck; let’s make popsicles!


Popsicles are both delicious and refreshing on a hot summer day!  Make your own healthier version of this tasty treat. Wash some summer fruit and blend with some water or fruit juice.  Pour into ice cube trays or these fun Zoku slow pop molds and let set for 90 minutes.  Place a stick into each ice cube mold and let set another 3 hours.  Once they are solid, take them out and enjoy!

If you would like other summer snack ideas for your child, check out this post on 3 Healthy Frozen Treats!

Re-purpose for a Shower or a Sprinkler

For this activity, use an empty (and clean!) liter soda bottle and poke holes in this to make a homemade shower.  Attach a hose directly to the soda bottle and hang on a tree branch and have your children shower underneath.

Do you have an old hose that is not useful anymore?  Poke holes in the hose and make a tree sprinkler.  You can set this on the grass and the kids can run through it in the yard.

A treasure in every cube!

This great DIY idea can be easy and fun!  Add a toy to a plastic or paper cup and fill half way with water.  Let freeze for 90 minutes (or until set). Once frozen, fill to the top of the cup so that the toy is completely submerged. Place this cup in the freezer for several hours.  Take it out of the freezer, pop the ice out of the cup, and head outdoors.  You can drop the large ice cubes into a tub of water, a baby pool, or simply let them melt in the grass or sidewalk.  Your child will love to push the ice down inside their kiddie pool as it bobs right back up or see it melting on the grass so they can snag the toy once it is out! They can even make guesses as to how long it will take until the toy will be free!

Let’s Dance!

What kid doesn’t like to dance around to music?  In this activity, pour some water out onto the sidewalk, driveway or grass.  Turn on the music and let them stomp around in the water as you dance together in the summer sun!

So, instead of staying in while your child plays video games or watches television, take time as a family to enjoy a beautiful summer day. Use these fun ways to explore water play with your toddler or young child! These activities are guaranteed to make you feel like a kid again!

Make sure you read this post on Summer Safety Guide for Toddlers!
For more great summer activities, check out this post on 50 Summer Bucket List Ideas.
Use these activities to get out and go!  Read the list of 15 Fun and Free Out of the House Activities with Kids.

Photo credits: Jessica N, Dreams to Do



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Jessica recently moved from Baltimore to the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband and daughter. Her favorite things include sewing/crafting, reading, and hearing her daughter giggle. She is a huge fan of Pinterest, Etsy and reality tv. She pursued her Master’s in School Counseling and is very passionate about advocating for children in order to help them succeed in school. For her, the best gifts in life have been the love of her family, the support of her husband, and becoming a Mom.

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