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10+ Ways to Play with a Water Hose This Summer

By mid-July, early August, summer can start to feel long when you have young children to care for and entertain. Summer should still be fun but you’re tired, right? I get it! It might be a hot day but everyone still needs to get outside and you need creative ways to engage children in outdoor activities. I have 10+ ways to play with the water hose this summer. Between sprinklers, sensory play, tarps, pool noodles, umbrellas, cars, and watering cans I have some ideas for you. 

Looking for some more summer fun? Try our recycled water wall, play with wet Sponges in the Water Table, or work on fine motor skills with Moving Water Sensory Play. 

10+ Ways to Play with a Water Hose This Summer

10+ Ways to Play with a Water Hose This Summer

1. Attach a Sprinkler

The sprinkler is an easy solution, but likely you’ve already done that. Some kids don’t enjoy getting sprayed by the sprinkler either, so it doesn’t always work for mixed age groups. We’ve had several sprinklers over the years and I’d have to say, having a couple to choose from and switch things up works well.

A 360 rotation sprinkler twists the water in a fun way and sprays a large area. If you want a cute sprinkler for the kids, this turtle sprinkler moves in a similar fashion, and the kids will love the turtle or whale style. We like the Hydro Swirl sprinkler and Banzai sprinkler hose with wiggle sprayers.

10+ Ways to Play with a Water Hose This Summer
10+ Ways to Play with a Water Hose This Summer

I avoid any sprinkler that’s inflatable because of the time it takes to set up, they don’t last with rough play and inflatables take a lot of space to store. It’s up to you though if you want a rainbow sprinkler, giant shark sprinkler, or unicorn sprinkler, go for it! They are cute. Switching up your sprinklers will enhance your ways to play with the water hose this summer.

2. Lay Down a Tarp

Try grabbing a clean tarp (I suggest keeping one just for water play) and laying it down on the grass. Place the sprinkler on top and let the water pool up on the tarp. The water spray can be turned off after you get some water on the tarp or turn down the spray if desired. It makes shallow puddles for children to play in, like a splash pad, without getting sprayed. Be sure to pick up the tarp off the grass after play so it doesn’t ruin your lawn.

10+ Ways to Play with a Water Hose This Summer - water on a tarp

3. Add Bubbles or Shaving Cream

How awesome would it be to make a DIY Foam machine?? Such an easy idea with super fun results from Make It Fun Mom. The directions look simple and all you need is a large garbage can, leaf flower, baby shampoo, towel, and a hose.

Shaving cream is an awesome sensory experience! Put on swimsuits for this and don’t worry about shaving cream getting all over. Kids love how it feels on their skin.

Shaving Cream Play

They are always surprised that they get to use lots of it and spread it all over and get silly. It’s so messy but yet not really. It just rinses away with a hose!

Get several cans at the dollar store and let the kids get crazy spraying it out themselves. It will be the most fun they’ve had all summer! It’s cheap, has little or no setup, and the kids can even use the hose to clean it up themselves. Keep a towel nearby for wiping faces if necessary.

Here are 35 Creative Shaving Cream Activities for Kids.

4. Make it Rain

Making it rain may be one of the best summer activities we’ve ever done. All you need is a hose with a sprayer nozzle. Set it to rain or the sprinkle setting. Drap the hose over a tree branch. Grab an umbrella! This was a day to remember and an activity to do again and again.

Playing with umbrellas and the hose will be a hit, I promise!

5. Slow Drip

After we fill the water tables, I leave the hose on low water pressure and let the kids fill containers, and use the water as needed. They feel they have some control over the water supply, don’t have to worry about running out or someone else using all the water. It also allows for some experimentation with spraying and filling. Our hose has an on/off valve that can be adjusted so a certain amount of water comes out. The kids like to use it.

6. Spray to Practice Skills

Use the hose to practice skills like this Name Practice Water Game. Fit in a number or math refresher and pretend to Put Out the Fire! Take Learning Outside and draw shapes or letters with chalk, and call out one for the child to spray.

child drawing with chalk

7. Water the Garden

Every day the children take turns watering the garden and planters. It’s simple but helpful to have the children help water the garden. Letting each child take a turn watering is empowering so we take turns until they lose interest. Kids love to experiment with the spray settings on a sprayer nozzle.

10+ Ways to Play with a Water Hose This Summer watering the garden

One way to have everyone involved is to fill a bin with water and give everyone a watering can. They can fill up their watering can when they need to without wasting water.

Plan on kids getting inside that bin… it will happen. Watering the garden is just one of the 10+ Ways to Play with a Water Hose This Summer but kids will want to do it again and again! Good thing since they will need to be watered often.

8. Make a Water Slide

All you need for this one is a slide and a hose. Hook the hose over the playset and or at the top of the slide and turn on the water. Instant water slide! If there’s dirt at the bottom, even better. The kids will love splashing in the mud.

10+ Ways to Play with a Water Hose homemade water slide

Doesn’t it look like fun? It truly is! It’s an energy burn activity for older kids and will keep them running!

10+ Ways to Play with a Water Hose water hose

9. Wash the Car

Have the kids help out with washing the car. Buckets of soapy water and sponges and a hose will keep them cool and busy. If washing the car doesn’t work out, use toy vehicles or ride-on toys. Or make a Little People Car Wash.

car washing play

10. Add a Pool Noodle

Here’s another creative way your kids will enjoy playing with water hose this summer. It’s as simple as a pool noodle attached to the water hose! Check out this great idea from Teach Preschool. It’s simple and so engaging.

Capturing Parenthood has another DIY Pool Noddle Sprinkler with helpful instructions and videos.

Also, try my Structure Building with Pool Noddles & Shaving Cream activity and Water Painting.

More Games To Play With A Water Hose

Garden Axis provides 8 Games to Play with a Water Hose. Snake Jump is always fun and the carwash looks amazing.

I hope you’re excited about these 10+ Ways to Play with a Water Hose This Summer! What will you try?

Water Play Safety Precautions

For water play in child care, I use water tables and sprinkler play for safe summer water play solutions. Cleaning and disinfecting wading pools are a lot of work and require a large amount of water. Pools do not work well with children in diapers or swim pull-ups. The water becomes dirty with grass, sand, and sunscreen. Children tend to drink or spit the pool water. For these reasons, as well as drowning risks, I don’t use pools at my family child care but there are still precautions for water play at child care.

playing with hose

Sun Protection

I always request parents provide swimwear or a t-shirt and shorts for their child to play in and sunscreen. If parents prefer a different kind of sunscreen for their child, they are welcome to provide it otherwise I keep some here they can use. I stress that swim shirts provide the best protection for little shoulders, arms, and necks. They work wonderfully for sun protection and saves precious time not needing to apply all that sunscreen.

baby playing with sprinkler

Be Careful of Hot Water

If your hose has been laying outside in the sun and has water inside it, that water can be super hot. Like dangerously hot! Be sure to let the water run until it runs cool before any children use the hose.

10+ Ways to Play with a Water Hose This Summer


There is no substitution for proper supervision, keeping eyes and ears on the children at all times. It’s not easy to manage excited children moving in all directions and add water besides! Important things to consider when playing outdoors are safety and supervision. Consider separating children by age and having younger ones play in an area designed especially for toddlers. My younger ones are enthralled with the water tables on the deck while the older ones run through the sprinkler on the grass. Please make decisions based on your own children’s needs and abilities. 

Must Have’s for Hot Summer Day Fun

No swimming pool? No problem! Create a great way to cool off with a lot of time playing fun water games with these water toys:

Water Fun Fun Game Ideas

A surefire way to keep kids busy with outdoor games in the summer is to add a water source – either buckets of water or a standard garden hose. The kids might not even need bath time after hours of fun.


Saturday 18th of May 2024

so an easy way to have fun with a water hose is by playing a game called rain. to play you need three people. one person is hail one is the rain and one is the person. the hail person uses water balloons to throw at the rain person and the normal person. the rain person makes the weather for sunny weather the rain person sprays a bucket to fill it up for the end for light rain the rain person simply points the hose in the air and lets it fall on every one my fav one is the crazy rain the rain person sprays the norm person in the face with the hose. the normal person is the one who is targeted for the weather. soon the bucket will fill with water and the rain and hail person pour the bucket of water on the nor persons head and shout flood. then the tree people switch roles.

Juan Manuel KLópez Novas

Wednesday 25th of August 2021

Excellent ideas