Hot and whiny kids? 11 seriously cool water games they'll love

How can a busy mum keep the kids entertained – and cool – right through summer? Try these simple and inexpensive hot day water games and activities with your family.

Water balloon piñata

From: ZiggItyZoom

Why we love it: Piñatas don’t have to be just for parties. This project takes just five minutes to set up and the kids will love getting soaked almost as much as they love candy.

What you’ll need: A package of balloons, string, small plastic funnel, and a plastic bat or cardboard mailing cube.

How to do it: Using the funnel and garden hose, fill a bunch of water balloons and tie them about two inches apart to a piece of long piece of string. Hang the string to a patio structure or a tree -- and let them have at it. (One note: Broken bits of a balloon are a choking hazard, so this activity is only for kids over 3 who won't put pieces in their mouth.)


Bubble snakes

From: Housing a Forest

Why we love it: Give a kid some bubbles and you’re pretty cool. Rainbow bubbles? Rockstar mum.

What you’ll need: Empty plastic water bottle, duct tape, a sock, dish soap and food colouring.

How to do it: Cut the bottom off an empty water bottle and wrap a sock over the hole with duct tape. The kids can drop some food colouring on the sock to make the bubbles colourful. Mix dish soap and some water in a shallow container, then have the kids dip the sock end of the water bottle in the soap and blow magic rainbow bubbles.


Swirl paint

From: Shine Your Light

Why we love it: So you say you aren’t exactly Monet with the paint brush? We aren't either. While this project is simple to execute, you’ll wow the kids with the cool effects of the oil-based paint separating from water.

What you’ll need: A large bucket, water, paint stick, string and enamel paints.

How to do it: Fill the bucket with water and drip several colours of enamel paints onto the surface. Mix with string and submerge canvas or paper. When your kids remove it, they’ll have a truly unique art work.


Sparkle mud

From: The Imagination Tree

Why we love it: It’s the cleanest mud mess your kid will ever get his hands into. This fresh smelling sludge is great for little hands and feet to squish and squeeze.

What you’ll need: Three bars of soap, a cheese grater, a roll of toilet paper, warm water, a whisk and/or potato masher and glitter

How to do it: Grate the bars of soap and tear up the toilet paper into tiny pieces. Place materials in a container or bucket and whisk or mash together with warm water. Add glitter for some sparkle.


Musical water table

From: Child’s Play Music

Why we love It: A musical water table can be set up in minutes and all the supplies can be found in your kitchen.

What you’ll need: A water table, varying size aluminium bowls, pot lids, mixing spoons and chopsticks.

How to Do It: Fill a water table and place bowls and lids in it. Hand over the spoons and chopsticks and watch the show. Change up the containers and the strikers to help your kids make a variety of sounds.

Wet on wet water-colour

From: Seedlings Nursery School

Why we love it: It gets your little artist -- and the mess she leaves behind -- outside.

What you’ll need: Water colour paper, spray bottle or water basin, liquid water colour paint, empty jars and pipettes.

How to do it: Pour some liquid water colour into the jars. Next, spray a sheet of water-colour paper with the water or submerge in a tub or basin. Give your little one a pipette to fill with paint and let her make paint puddles on the page.



From: Tinkerlab

Why we love it: Kids love goop but you don't like the mess it makes. Great news: this craft is for outside only.

What you’ll need: A big tub or storage container, cornstarch, liquid watercolor paint or food coloring, water and spoons, scoops and small toys.

How to do it: Have the kids empty a container of cornstarch into the tub and gradually add water a half cup at a time until the cornstarch to water ratio is about 2:1. Next, give them the food color or liquid watercolor paint to drip and swirl. The kids will love scooping this slimy concoction with spoons or their hands.


Dinosaur fossils

From: Lil’ Luna

Why we love it: On a hot summer day, frozen dinosaur fossils are totally cool and easy to make.

What you’ll need: Toy dinosaurs, container and lid, plastic hammers, water and food coloring.

How to do it: Fill a container with coloured water and toss in some toy dinos. Make sure the toys are completely submerged. Freeze overnight. Once the water is completely frozen, pop the ice out and let the kids smash, crack and break the dinos free from the ice.


Splash balls

From: Mom Endeavors

Why we love it: Splash balls have all the fun of a water balloon fight but with a lot less sting (and mess!). Not only can the kids make these themselves but they can stay cool and active even on the hottest days.

What you’ll need: Sponges, zip ties, scissors and water.

How to do it: Cut sponges into one inch strips. Grab 9 or 10 and gather them in the middle with a zip tie. Soak and throw.


Flower stencils

From: Learn with Play at Home

Why we love it: Painting with flowers is way more fun than plain old brushes!

What you’ll need: Flowers, canvases or construction paper, spray bottles, poster paint and water.

How to do it: Lay the flowers on the canvas. Mix the poster paint with water in the spray bottles and have the kids spray and splatter to create their masterpieces. Remove the flowers.


Ice Painting

From: Things to Share and Remember

Why we love it: These ice crayons slip and slide while keeping tiny fingers cool in the summer heat.

What you’ll need: Ice cube trays, pieces of fabric and liquid water colour.

How to do it: Fill ice cube trays with water and a variety of liquid water-colour paint colours. Freeze overnight. Set up the fabric and bowls for the ice outside and let them at it!


Daria Meoli is a writer, editor and saucy mama of two under four. Follow her on TwitterPinterest and Contently.