Water Play for Days:: Keeping Cool this Summer

Splish, splash, splosh! Typically, Houston’s notorious summer heat sends us all jumping, cannon-balling, and diving into the nearest swimming pool. This summer however, many public pools and splash pads might be closed or have limited access. What can a home-bound mama do?

Space and Splurge

If you have the space and the budget, here are some ideas to keep everyone cool::

Above ground pool– These can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, but unfortunately, most have been out of stock for a while. If you’re good at stalking stores and online retailers, you may still be able to snag one.

Inflatable sprinklers– Have you seen those giant inflatables that you can hook up to a water hose? Kids love getting soaked from water shooting out of a unicorn’s horn, gushing down from a rainbow, or even coming out the top of a massive air-filled watermelon!

• Splash Pads with Sprinklers— Plug a garden hose in and give the kids their own personal splash pad

Slip and Slide– Yup, they’re back! Anyone ever slide off the thing and into the bushes before? This beloved classic now comes with enhanced features like a bump stop at the end for safety, or a little pool at one end that you can fill with water for extra splash action, or even one where you can slide into a bunch of water balloons

Water guns– Nerf Super Soakers are probably the most well-known but there are other brands out there that will deliver high power water streams to the faces of little sisters everywhere. If you don’t mind a lot of shrieking and possibly some crying, it might be fun to grab a bunch of water guns for the summer. Maybe the kids can help you wash the car with them too. {Might as well put them to work.}

Budget Friendly Picks

For budget friendlier ideas that will still keep everyone drenched all summer, stock up on these::

Kiddie pools—The plastic kind usually cost$5-$10 but even these are becoming harder to find. It doesn’t matter if your kids are too big to actually swim in them. Fill them with water and let them sit and splash with some bath toys. Big kids can soak in it while reading a book or blowing bubbles.

Water Table– There are all kinds of fancy water tables that come with spinners and towers and colorful moving parts. When my kids were very young, I bought a simple second-hand water table off a buy/sell/trade site. It had lost all its fancy accessories by the time it was mine, but my toddlers didn’t notice at all.

I just dumped a few plastic cups, empty water bottles, bathtub toys, a little net and small plastic figurines into their table and filled it up with water. They played out there for a long time and completely soaked themselves in the process. {A sand table, or even a shallower plastic storage bin like the ones that go underneath a bed, would work as well.}

Water Balloons– We love these and can go through quite a lot in one raucous family play session. With Bunch O Balloons I can fill up 100 of these in a minute! It does start to get expensive having to replenish my stash all the time. {I guess I can always fill up regular balloons with water the old-fashioned way…Nah!}

Sprinklers– Another classic is to turn on those sprinklers and let the kids run through them. If you don’t have a sprinkler but do have access to a garden hose, an alternative would be to use an inexpensive hose attachment like this one so that you can place the sprinkler anywhere your hose reaches.

Water Blasters– Called many different names and sold at places like dollar stores and Michael’s, the simple pump action water shooters are great for younger kids. Check out these cute ones with animal heads! 

Water Play Activity Ideas

Houston Moms "Water Play for Days:: Keeping Cool this Summer" #houstonmoms #houstonmomsblog #momsaroundhoustonLittle ones are endlessly fascinated by water play. That’s why bath time takes 3 hours. This summer, gather up your plastic shoe boxes, storage bins, sand buckets, and anything else that can hold water and take it outside and let them have at it. You may want to bring a play table outside to set up your water play items.

• Fill one bin with water and lots of small items like plastic bottle caps. Have your child move all the items from one bin to another using only a ladle, scoop, or spoon.

• Place lots of empty plastic bottles, a scoop, and funnel in the water table. Have the kids fill up the empty bottles using the funnel and scoop.

• Use food coloring to make green or blue water. Let them bring their plastic toys (ocean animals, boats, mermaids) to swim in the water. Give them some drinking straws and let them blow bubbles into the water to make ocean waves.

• Cut inexpensive sponges into fun shapes and place them in a container of water. Draw a line on another plastic container and challenge kids to use the sponges to soak up and move water from one container to another until they fill it up to the line. Make it a competition!

• Bring some soap and a sponge or washcloth outside. Collect all your plastic dolls, figurines, or toys like My Little Ponies and let kids give their toys a bath. 

• Play car wash and have the kids use old wash cloths and soap to wash their plastic ride-on toys, push toys, and trikes. Have a dry towel handy as well so that they can finish the job just like the pros do. And voila! Chores are done.

• Purchase some inexpensive short sections of PVC pipes and pipe fittings from a home improvement store. Encourage kids to fit the sections in various ways to make water flow in different directions.

Get creative with water play this summer! You’ll survive the heat and make some great memories with your kids at the same time.

{Water safety is important. Be sure there is an adult supervising whenever there are young children near water.}

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Houston Moms "Water Play for Days:: Keeping Cool this Summer" #houstonmoms #houstonmomsblog #momsaroundhouston


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