Water Games for Kids to Play to Stay Cool with Educational Twist

Water Games for Kids That Teach

Summer days are perfect for outdoor water play with activities, games and equipment for kids of all ages. For extra challenge, I tried to think of an educational twist for each game. Granted, I would likely never pull it off. My kids would mount a mutiny but a mom can dream!

1. Water Table

My kids could play at the water table for hours when they were preschoolers, pouring, filling, and pouring again. Try using leafs and toothpicks or sticks to make boats or sticks and rubber bands to make a raft. Building these floating toys helps preschoolers get ready for Kindergarten by developing their fine motor skills.

2. Water Gun Tag

The rules are simple. The person who is “it” gets the water pistol, while all other players attempt to evade her. Because a successful “tag” will leave discernible evidence, there’s no disputing a changing of the guard.

If you have more than one water gun, your game of tag can turn into an all out war.

Use a bucket of water to dunk the pistols under water to fill them. Predict how many water guns can be filled with one bucket of water. For the water gun, measure how many cups of water it takes to fill it up.

3. Slip and Slide

A classic that endures. When the summer is over, dry thoroughly and it will be good to go next summer. There are many variations but the original is a great price and doesn’t require as much lawn space as some of the others. Warning: the Slip and Slide is hard on the lawn, so move it around once the grass is saturated.

How fast is each person sliding along the length of the slip and slide? Time each person. Measure the length of the Slip and Slide. Speed = Distance / Time

4. Water Balloon Pinata

Hanging the water balloons off a play structure is a great way to set this up. Predict how many swats it will take to break a balloon.







from Scrap Happy Heather

5. Foil River

This looks fun if you don’t mind using up your foil. How many feet of foil did it take? What if you measure it with your actual feet?

from Camo and Bows

6. Car Wash 

The toy car might be the perfect size for toddlers and preschools to wash. Older kids actually enjoy washing the family car. You just need sponges and a bucket of soapy water.

How much should you charge for a car wash? $1.00? $1.50? How many quarters is that? How do you make change if you get a $5 bill?

7. Water Balloon Fight

The balloons make a mess so I’m going with these biodegradable ones. For a new twist on an old favorite, stage a game of dodge ball, replacing the ball with water balloons. Try making your own homemade water balloon launcher for extra challenge.

Divide the water balloons evenly. What is a good way to do this? Now one more person wants to join. How do you divide up it again? How many balloons should each child donate to the new person? Tricky!!

8. Water Hose Limbo

Replacing the stick in a traditional round of limbo with the stream from a water hose takes the game to an entirely new level. Limbo is better with several players, so save this one for a day when your brood has their buddies over. Alternately, you can get this water hose limbo toy.

Measure the different heights of the limbo hose. Measure each person playing limbo. Is the shortest kid the best at limbo?

9. Water Slide Wading Pool

We always got a lot of mileage out a simple wading pool but this fancier one looks fun for kids of all ages. I used to empty the pool with a bucket and use the water for the plants. How many buckets will it take to empty the pool?

10. Sprinklers

How many gallons are coming out of the hose in a minute? How about an hour? How high does the water go? How far does the water arc? So many things to measure!

Click on image to purchase any water toy.

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Ha! Only you could figure out the educational benefit to be found in each water toy! Love the water balloon pinata idea, and the car wash!
    Artchoo recently posted…Aluminum Foil Sculpture!My Profile

  2. kim

    I love the balloon pinata idea too. I have yet to find biodegradable water balloons. I never thought of building a water balloon launcher. Great ideas.
    I worked at a corporate preschool years ago. We connected plastic gutters that you buy from home depot. The kids used them to make rivers with boats going down them or race tracks. You can use it for the race track inside in the winter too.
    kim recently posted…Water Play Games for Kids to PlayMy Profile

    • Hi Kim,
      Ah, rain gutters are a GREAT idea for a river. I posted a link to biodegradable balloons … I think those actually break down. Thanks so much for sharing your great ideas. I can tell you were a great preschool teacher!

  3. My children love to play with water guns and the slip and slide.
    Crystal recently posted…World of ColorMy Profile

    • Hi Crystal,
      It’s funny that the slip and slide is from my generation and equally popular back then. It makes me happy that these simple toys have staying power. It keeps my kids off screens!

  4. Dear Crissy

    I love the water balloon pinata idea! It’s SO hot here that even playing in water isn’t exactly a good way to cool off, but when it becomes tolerable again I’m definitely coming back to this list.
    Dear Crissy recently posted…My Bliss: Summer TomatoesMy Profile

    • Dear Crissy,
      I think the water balloon pinatas and the slip and slide seem to be the most popular ideas. I love Pinterest where I got some of these great ideas. I hope it cools off soon. It’s supposed to rain tonight! My plants need a deep soak so badly. Hope it cools off for you soon too!

  5. Capability

    Love the pinatas! We recently got an inflatable kiddie pool – put a chair next to it and with feet in the pool grab a book!
    Capability recently posted…Drop Off, Pick Up, Repeat.My Profile

  6. Vanita

    Great idea! The toddlers would love to play tag with the teens, of course the teens would be running.
    Vanita recently posted…Why Bigger Isn’t Better For Your BlogMy Profile

  7. Dr. Rajka

    Agree with the above comment on only you would find an educational value in water play love it!

    Will have to add the pistols to the games of tag and the piñata looks like great fun.
    Dr. Rajka recently posted…I have a degree in molecular science but now I’m a mum no-one wants to employ me.My Profile

    • Hi Dr. Rajka,
      I am weird like that. I have to say that I had to wrack my brain though. And I don’t dare do it with my kids but I may have a yardstick lying around … just in case anyone is curious about how high or high low things are! 🙂

  8. Ann

    I love the learning twist – Why don’t I have a kiddy pool??? We go to the beach a lot but it would be great for this heat wave!
    Ann recently posted…Summer CalendarMy Profile

  9. Certainly a fun way to enjoy the summer! Not only that it will beat the heat but it will also let you have a quality time with your kids. We’re into the water guns but I haven’t tried water balloon pinata yet. Would certainly love to try that out with the kids.

    • Hi Mark,
      The water balloon pinata seems to be the most popular idea of a DIY activity. The Slip and Slide seems to be the most popular item you can buy. I need to do both!

  10. Nicole

    That are so great ideas – sadly we do not have an own garden, only a balkony.
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  11. Bury Family Life

    ha, these are awesome! I need the weather to warm up so we can do some of these
    Bury Family Life recently posted…Summer Safety By The WaterMy Profile

  12. I love the way you put learning twists on many classic water play activities. We love water play and I’m thinking it might be time to get out the water balloons!
    Jennifer Fischer recently posted…Happy Birthday, Eric Carle~We’re Doing a Very Hungry Caterpillar Virtual Food Drive to Help Very Hungry Kids! Join Us!!My Profile

  13. heather may

    LOVE this!! Great excuses for the kids to use when they want a water fight! Thanks for sharing at last week’s Friday Follow Along–I hope you will link up again!

  14. zeeshan@educational video games for kids

    Thanks for this nice post …. I love this concept of games and games can teach anything to kids very easily
    zeeshan recently posted…Educational video Games For KidsMy Profile

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