Make a SPLASH at Home: 6 Simple Water Play Ideas

The heat and humidity have arrived, heralding the true beginning of summer! And what’s more fun than going to a local splash pad, pool, or beach to have fun and find some relief from the oppressive heat? When I look at the weekly weather forecast and I see high temps in the upper 80s and 90s and very few clouds, I imagine being at the pool, floating around on my own personal raft, sipping an ice cold beverage.

Then I wake up and remember that if I’m at the pool, so is my four-year-old (who can’t swim) and my five-month-old, and my relaxing daydream becomes waterlogged. Because, for me, taking both kids to the pool, especially by myself, is not my idea of fun or relaxing.

Yes, we’ll get to the pool at least once this summer, but in the meantime, we’ll cool off in the comfort of our own front yard!

water play

There are the good ol’ standbys like kiddie pools, sprinklers, slip ‘n’ slides, and water balloons. If you’re looking for elaborate, DIY ideas, check out Sarah’s post from last summer, or try Pinterest, there are tons of ideas there! If you’re like us and will be spending a lot of time making a splash at home and are also a little lazy, here are some other SIMPLE ways to stay cool in the heat.

Six Simple Home Water Play Ideas

Kiddie Pool

Yes, I mentioned this above already, but I thought it deserved a little more detailed attention. There are so many options available when it comes to small/kiddie pools: inflatable, hard plastic, just big enough for a couple kids to sit in, or big enough for your whole family to actually swim in. Deciding can be hard, so here are a few things to keep in mind as you make your decision:

  • How big are your kids, and can they swim?
  • Do you plan on getting in the pool with them (or without them)?
  • Is easy storage important?
  • Is quick set up important?
  • How much do you want to spend?

Small, hard plastic pools are pretty shallow and are perfect for up to a couple kids who mostly want to sit and play in the water. They are easy to set up and fill and are fairly durable. Price point is low, coming in at around $10.

Inflatable pools come with a bit more variety and can accommodate many more people (including adults). These are good if you want to get in with your kids and be comfortable doing so! Many times inflatable pools are deeper, so they are better for older kids who know how to swim. Inflatable pools take a little more time to set up (unless you leave them inflated all summer) and fill, but take up less room to store because they can be deflated and folded. The price point varies and goes up the bigger you get. Another thing to keep in mind with inflatable pools is that they can tear more easily than the hard plastic pools.

water play

Water Table

One of the first water toys we got for my daughter was a water table that she still plays with today. Water tables are especially nice for kids who have a short attention span. They have easy set up and clean up, so when your kid decides they are done after ten minutes, you didn’t spend a lot of time or effort setting it up!


Don’t want to invest in, or store, a water table? Just grab a couple buckets and let your kids go to town! Throw in an old paint brush and allow your kids to “paint” the house or sidewalk.

Squirt Guns

If you’re comfortable giving your kids squirt guns, they can provide a lot of fun and can be used with those buckets you just filled with water. I bought a cheap two-pack at Target, and my daughter has already gotten her money’s worth!

water play

Frozen Object

Freeze an object or two in some ice and let your kids go to town breaking it free! They can use squirt guns to slowly melt the water, or they can chip away the ice with different objects.

water play

Water Hose

Hand your kids the hose and let them help you water the plants, grass, side of the house, drive way, etc! Or get the whole family out to wash the car while getting wet yourselves!

What other simple water fun ideas do you have for staying cool at home?



Becky is a Minnesota Native and Wisconsin Badger fan living in the heart of Hawkeye Country. Since graduating from high school, she has lived in Duluth, MN; Birmingham, UK; Minneapolis, MN; Louisville, KY; and Madison, WI, but is now happy to call Iowa City home. She and her husband have been married for ten years and have a spirited four-year-old daughter and a mischievous baby boy. Becky juggles working from home and keeping two kids happy each and every day. In her free time, she enjoys working her side business, spending time with friends, relaxing with a good book, and eating snacks.


  1. Hi I am a local mom and have a blog,, and I’m interested in finding out how to become part of the Iowa City Moms Blog team! How could I find out more, or whovkulf I talk to about this? Thanks!


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