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  • Writer's pictureElm Hill Academy

Top 10 Summer Water Activities – No Pool Required

Summer is now in full swing, which means it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy the great weather. One of the best things to do during the summer is spend time on, near or in the water. That said, much like boats, in many ways it is better to have a friend with a pool than to own one yourself. On the days that you can't find a friend or neighbor willing to share their pool, here are a few ways for you and the rest of the family to cool down with these fun water activities.

Trampoline Water Balloon Jumping

Combine trampolines with water balloons for a fun and wet backyard activity, courtesy of A Subtle Revelry. You definitely have to be safe with this one (put up the trampoline net, if you have one), but it will pay dividends with tons of fun.

Walter balloons on trampoline for jumping summer activity
Trampoline Water Balloon Jumping

DIY Slip N' Slide

Purchase a good size tarp, add a small amount of dish soap and then the water. This will prove to be a great cooling off activity the whole family would enjoy!  Wired also offers a very detailed tutorial on putting together a slip and slide game yourself with a few “over-the-counter” materials like plastic sheeting and pool noodles.

Homemade Slip N' Slide

Mini Water Blobs

For this project, iron together the edges of plastic sheeting (like the drop cloths you lay down to protect the carpet when painting), but leave a small opening to be able to fill your plastic blob with water (and a little food coloring). Grab some tips for this project from Hello Wonderful.

Colored water blobs made from plastic sheets with an iron
Homemade Colored Water Blobs

Use colorful kitchen sponges to create a school of Finding Nemo-inspired fish. Use this twist on bobbing for apples as a fun filled and relaxing hit at home.

Fishing and bobbing for fish shaped sponges
Bobbing for Nemo

Water Baseball

As long as you can find a willing participant, this can be a very simple and fun activity. Just fill water balloons, and toss them at a swimsuit-wearing batter. This idea (and many others) can be found on the River’s Edge Curriculum blog.

Father and son playing baseball with water balloons
Water Balloon Baseball

DIY Water Slide

Another super simple solution if you already have a swing set or slide at home. Attach a hose to your play set and create a homemade water slide! Children will likely go up and down the slide for as long as you allow them to run the water.

Parents and children using playground slide and water to create waterslide
DIY Water Slide

Sprinkler Limbo

With PVC pipe and a garden hose, you can create this slippery twist on one of everyone's favorite party game. Not to mention it is much easier and more fun to limbo when you are young. Kimber of The Pinning Mama shared this idea on the Home Depot blog.

Child doing limbo under PVC sprinkler with water running
Homemade PVC Sprinkler Limbo

DIY Dunk Bucket

There are lots of styles of DIY dunk tanks out there that may or may not require power (which may pose a danger around a water feature) or components which are prone to failure, but the easiest and best is essentially a giant toilet!! It uses the same components found in your home toilet of a flapper valve and a float valve, that’s it! This project is totally worth the time and the effort, and it’s not only a great way to cool down on a hot, sunny day (Seattle’s been extra warm this summer), but it’s a great equalizer, too. The Happy Housewife offers instructions and illustrations to put together a pint-sized version of this carnival game for your backyard.

Homemade water dunk tank
DIY Water Dunk Tank

Sponge Ball

Replace the ball in your favorite games – or even just play catch – with a soaked sponge version using this DIY from Martha Stewart for a super soaked summer. This is the perfect boredom buster and so easy to create! Older children can help make the sponge “balls” and younger children can help fill the buckets with water. This would also be a fun activity for a playdate or birthday party. Just a little warning, it may turn into a water war so adults might want to dress in swimsuits too!

Parents and children tossing sponges soaked in water for outdoor fun
Sponge Water Toss

DIY Soda Bottle Sprinkler

A simple sprinkler is still a backyard classic. If you don’t have one handy, but you have some spare plastic soda bottles in your home, use them to make a DIY water sprinkler. This water sprinkler is simple, economical and functional! You can make your own sprinkler hose attachment with a two-liter plastic bottle using instructions from Clever Crafty Cookin’ Mama.

Children playing with homemade water sprinkler in the backyard
Homemade Sprinkler

What are some of your favorite summer water activities?

Here are some other resources that are guaranteed to provide additional summer fun:

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