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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Doesn’t it look like fun? It truly is! It’s an energy burn activity for older kids and will keep them running!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Kiddie pool
- Quick Fill Bunch O Balloons Water Balloons
- Spray bottles
- Squirt guns
- Colorful Reusable Water Balls
- Beach Balls
- Silicone Water Balls
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.