Summer is synonymous with fun for kids.
It’s the time of the year when they can enjoy pools, parks, beaches, bike rides, ice creams, and backyard barbecues.
However, summer doesn’t have to be about fun only. With the right activities, your kids can enjoy the warm weather and improve their development skills at the same time.
If that sounds amazing, here are 10 fun water-based activities to improve your child’s sensory, fine motor, and gross motor skills — all while having some fun, of course.
1. Spray Bottle Race
A spray bottle race improves your child’s fine motor coordination and hand strength.
To enjoy a spray bottle race, you need:
- A large container filled halfway with cold water and some ice.
- Tiny toys that can float on the water.
- Spray bottles filled with water.
Once you have all that, put the toys in the container and give the spray bottles to your kids. Let them use the bottles to race the toys across the container.
The winner gets to pour the icy cold water on himself.
2. Sprinkler Fun
Kids love to play with a sprinkler on a hot day.
For toddlers, you can keep them entertained for hours by creating a tiny splash of water and placing various tools like spoons, buckets, and colanders within the splash area/splash zone so your kids can play with them.
For older kids, you can take it up a notch. You can create a splash pool, various fountains, and even a water obstacle course with a slip and slide.
If you’re worried about the sprinkler creating a bit of mess in your yard, then don’t. Mud fights are actually beneficial to for your child’s health and development. Plus, cleaning up the mess is no problem as long as you have a hose in your home.
3. Water Bottle Rocket
If you want your kids to take an interest in science, you need to make a water bottle rocket with them this summer.
We know it sounds a bit difficult/complicated, but it really isn’t. Making a bottle rocket is actually fairly easy and a lot of fun. All you need is a plastic bottle, a nose cone, and some fins.
You can read the step-by-step instructions on how to create a water bottle rocket here.
It doesn’t take as long as you’d think, and your kids will learn a lot of science during the process. But the best part comes when you’re finished.
We can guarantee your kids will jump with joy once they launch their very own rocket into the sky!
You can even make a game of it with your kids where everyone guesses how high the bottle will fly. Whoever gets the closest guess wins a cold reward. It could be a bucket filled with cold water or a glass of icy lemonade.
4. Ice Sensory Bin
If you want to focus on your toddler’s sensory skills, then this is the activity for you. It’s one of, if not the most commonly suggested activities for improving sensory skills by occupational therapists.
All you need is a bin filled with water and lots of ice. While playing with the bin, your toddler will not only improve his sensory skills, but also his:
- Pouring skills
- Transferring skills
- Science skills (by understanding the relationship between ice and water)
Did you know swimming, in addition to being immensely fun, is a great way for your child to improve his core strength, muscle strength, and bilateral coordination skills?
By taking your kid to swimming lessons once a week regularly for a couple of months, you can expect a dramatic improvement in his gross motor skills.
6. Garden Hose Music
To enjoy garden hose music, you need to:
- Find fun objects in your home that are made from different materials and are different shapes and sizes. Examples include plastic bowls, beach balls, and pie tins.
- Hang the objects from a bush or fence in your lawn.
- Give your kids a hose with a nozzle attachment and let the fun begin!
When your kids aim toward the objects, each shot will create a unique sound on collision with water. So while your kids will play the objects like musical instruments through jets of water, you will get your bushes and lawn watered.
During the game, encourage your kids to spray each other with the hose as well to beat the heat with cold water.
7. Ice Pirate Ships
Playing with ice pirate ships is one of the coolest summer activities for kids.
Here’s how you can make ice pirate ships:
- Use water, food coloring, small plastic animals and bendy straws to make your “ships” in plastic containers.
- Once you’re done with the design, pop the ships into the freezer.
- Put them in a wading pool, water table, or a metal pan filled with water, and let the fun begin!
Your kids can just move the pirate ships, create their own imaginary battle stories, or race the ships using a spray bottle. The variations on this activity are endless!
8. Water Balloons
Having a water balloon fight is the best way to relieve stress while beating the heat on a summery day.
For toddlers, you can help them play catch with wobbly balls. You can also do experiments like challenging your kids to throw the ball as far as they can without bursting it.
For older kids, you can let them have all-out battles with water balloons. Plus, you can try splash bowling — a game where you stack up empty cans in a triangle shape and toss the balloons at them to knock down as many cans as you can.
These games improve gross and fine motor skills because they involve running and grabbing.
9. Keep Paper Dry In Water
Does your kid like magic? Then he’s going to love this activity because it teaches how science can often be just like magic.
For this activity, you will need a:
- Container, big enough to fit the glass, filled with water
- Tissue or towel paper
Once you have all of the above, place everything in front of your kid. Ask him what he thinks will happen when you put the tissue inside the glass and then place the glass upside down push it all the way into the water, and then and pull it out. Will the paper be dry or wet?
We’re guessing your kid will say wet. Now make sure the paper is scrunched in the glass so that it won’t fall out when you flip the glass. Put the glass upside down under the water and then take it out.
Abracadabra! The paper will be dry. Read why that happens here, so you can explain it to your kid after performing the trick.
10. Spray Against a Brick Wall
Do you have a brick wall in your home?
If so, you’re going to love this one. Gather your kids and have them stand with their backs pressed against the brick wall and their faces turned towards you.
Take a hose and spray them and the wall behind them thoroughly. When you’re done, you will see a design of your kids on the dry area of the wall — like in this video. On sunny days, the design will disappear quickly enough to do it all over again to make a new design.
On top of having fun, you can also get some memorable pictures for your family album.