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Skip the Pool: Water Play for Toddlers

With the hot and sticky summer weather, we’ve been constantly on the lookout for fun ways to keep cool. My daughter loves being outside, so we often find ourselves playing in water! However, I don’t feel comfortable enough to let her swim on her own yet. So here are 10 toddler-friendly ways to play in the water, without going to the pool!

Skip the Pool 10 Ideas for Water Play with Toddlers

1. Sprinklers

An old school favorite! Everyone loves a sprinkler in the summer. If you don’t own one, there are so many fun ways to make them out of plastic bottles or PVC pipe! Check them out here!

2. Sensory Bins

Fill a shallow tub with water, and get to learning! Make boats out of pool noodles, race rubber duckies, or even explore with things found outside! Discover what makes things sink vs. float.

Skip the Pool 10 Ideas for Water Play with Toddlers

3. Water Balloons

Water balloons (or less mess and easier refill—sponges!) are another summer favorite! Rather than having lots of rubber pieces to pick up, use large, soft sponges. All you need to do is throw them in a bucket of water, and off you go! Faster than filling balloons, and easier for little hands. You could always do squirt guns, too, if your kids are a little older!

4. Water Painting

Ice/water painting—grab those paint brushes, or freeze some giant ice cubes onto sticks, and paint away on that warm cement! A great way to not only be creative, but learn about melting and evaporation.

5. Build a River

Build a river to race those boats and rubber duckies! Use an old (or new!) gutter, or even layered aluminum foil. This can be extra fun when done in a sandbox or through a rock garden.

6. Car Wash

Car wash—pull out those toy cars, or even a wagon, and get soaped up! A pretend car wash that gets your outdoor toys cleaned up sounds like a win-win.

Skip the Pool 10 Ideas for Water Play with Toddlers

7. H2OGO

You’ve seen the idea for these floating around Pinterest, but now there is finally an option to purchase! These giant bags are basically an outdoor water mattress, often accompanied by a sprinkler, and have been a huge hit this summer!

8. Water Table

The classic water table comes in all different shapes and sizes, with so many different activities.

9. Cups

Little hands always love playing with cups. Fill those cups with water, and you’ve got a fun filled afternoon! With different shapes and sizes, they can explore water volumes. You can include watering cans, bottles with holes poked in them, or even little shovels.  For extra fun, add some coloring to the water—and see their delight as they mix the different colored waters to make new colors!

10. Splash Pads

Lastly, you could always go to a local Splash Pad! HERE we have linked a lot of the local splash pads in our area!

Skip the Pool 10 Ideas for Water Play with Toddlers

We hope you’re having a great summer and finding ways to beat the heat! What are some of your favorite water activities?


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