20 Fun outdoor water play activities for toddlers and preschoolers

fun water play activities for preschoolers shows a girl floating in a pool with orange slices covering her eyes

When the weather gets warmer it is a great time to enjoy fun water play activities for preschoolers! Here we have the best list for water play activities. These water activities will help kids develop fine motor and gross motor skills. In addition, playing with water is a quick, easy set up, and cheap activity! Here is our list favorite water play activities that will keep your preschoolers busy for hours!

Water Play Activities Benefits for Preschoolers

There are many benefits for water play activities for your child. Whether they are a baby, toddler, preschooler, or in school water play activities are important for kids. First of all, water activities for kids increase fine motor development and gross motor development. Fine motor skills are not developed until around age 8. So by providing fine motor activities such as water play ones kids can increase the strength and mobility for development. 

Also, same goes for gross motor skills. Gross motor skills develop over time and playing with water can help. Gross motor skills are large muscle groups and hand eye coordination. By providing water play activities for preschoolers you are helping your child have fun and develop muscle groups.

In addition to developing muscle groups, water play activities are cheap, easy to use, great for all kids, and take off pressure from parents. There are a lot of activities out there that take a lot of effort and patience from parents. However, water activities have very low prep time and when playing with water when they are errorless tasks it gives parents patience a break. Which, let’s face it, sometimes our patience really need a break.

We are sure your kids will love these water play activities! Make sure to check out our 100+ outdoor activities for preschoolers here for more fun ideas for fine motor and gross motor development and so much more! Click here to get the list.

Wash Toys

This one is super simple. After we play with our toys in the dirt and mud just clean them all up! Fill up a bin with soapy water and give your kids a sponge. This is great for developing muscles and teaching responsibilities too!

water play activities for preschoolers shows a kid with a hose filling up the waterKiddie Pool

Snag a kiddie pool and add some balls, pom-poms, cups, funnels, spoons, etc anything that can get wet add it in. The variety of toys will keep your preschoolers having fun and entertained. 

Garden Soup

After going on a nature walk and gathering stones, dirt, sticks, and flowers like dandelions put it all in a sensory bin to make a garden soup activity. My child is also finding more flowers to add to the garden soup.

Water Plants

This summer we are planting a garden and growing some fool proof flowers. It is the perfect water activity that again teaches kids responsibility too.

Go Fishing

Fishing is not for everyone but we sure enjoy time out on the lake. If you have a boat you can easily fish from boat, or if you are like us the shoreline will be just fine too. This is a fun way to teach kids how to release the line and reel in a fish.

Grow Toys

Do you remember those grow toys? I cannot think of the actual name of them but what kid did not like it! Also, easily make it into a science experiment by putting those grow toys in different containers and measuring their growth around the same time each day. This is a great lesson and fun activity!

Floating Lemons and Fruit  Water Sensory Bin

First of all, gather lemons, spoons, water and a bin! Next, slice up some lemons and add it to the bin. Furthermore, do a science experiment to see if the whole lemon floats or if just the slices float. Finally, you can use different fruit to see what floats and what sinks and explore it!

Mix Colors of Water

Grab some clear plastic cups and add different food colorings to each cup. Then, provide kids with an empty cup so they can mix different colors and see what happens when they combine them. Furthermore, once they understand mixing colors and what they make, they can try mixing a little less of one color and a little more of another to compare shades too.

Sink or Float Experiments

Whether you just have a small bin or a mini pool in the backyard conduct sink or float experiments to incorporate some fun outdoor science activities for preschoolers. Have your child collect different times to test and then talk about the why too!

Running through a sprinkler 

This is a classic water activity but it is great for gross motor skills. Just set up a sprinkler and run on through!

Visiting a local pool or water park

We love to go places in the summer and winter time for pool experiences. Sometimes, we are just at a hotel pool other times we are at our local gym’s pool, or you can find us at a water park. Swimming is great for gross motor skills and a necessary life skill too.

Playing with a water table

Our water table is one of our favorite activities. We have used our water table since my little one was one years old and she still enjoys it now. All you need to do is fill it up with water, add a couple spoons, or balls and let them have fun!

Painting with water

Painting is messy indoors so we paint with water a lot too. First of all, when it is crummy outside we paint with water inside. You will can use anything for a paintbrush when painting with water. We use cotton balls and any plastic toys. Next, grab some construction paper and let them paint away with water from a bowl. Also, paint outside with water. They can use paintbrushes, rollers for painters, etc. We paint the fence, the cement, basically anything outside is fair game for painting with water.

Setting up a car wash for their toy cars or even your car

I personally love this fun water activity for preschoolers. This particular outdoor activity teaches kids a life skill and the importance of keeping vehicles clean. First of all, we grab our trike, bike, and our car. Next, we fill up a bucket with soapy water and clean everything. This is such a fun water activity!

Water balloon fight

Who doens’t love a water balloon fight? Especially, when you purchase those easy fill water balloons that fills up twenty five at once. Our favorite time for water balloon fights is when my husband gets home from work. We wait till he gets out of the car and just start throwing!

Floating ice water sensory bins

Such a simple activity that kids love. Just fill up a bin with some water. Sometimes, we add a drop of food coloring like blue to make it look like a pool. Next, add in some ice and spoons for scooping. This is a great activity for fine motor development. You can read more about fine motor skills and activities here!

Toy rescue! 

Freeze some toys or pom-poms and have them melt the ice, and use tools to get the toys out. We use warm water, vinegar, salt, and other kitchen items to melt the ice. By using a variety of materials to melt it we are also learning about science and what works and what does not work.

Set up a dog wash and get those pets clean

We have two lovely pups at our house and after a lot of time outdoors and hiking they need a bath. Again, this is another life skill about responsibility and teaching kids how to care for animals. It does get a little crazy getting a preschooler and pup to work together but also so much fun!

Ice Hockey

Ice is a fun hands-on activity that takes minimal effort. Which, I am all for easy effort and prep activities for kids. Simply, freeze water in muffin tin tray for some ice pucks. Then, we use sticks to hit it around. Sometimes, we freeze water with a drop of food coloring in the muffin tin so we have colorful pucks. When we make colorful pucks we create art on our cement pad in the backyard. It is just another fun ice activity we love. Also, do not worry the food coloring stains will wash away!

Throw rocks in a creek

Visit a nearby creek or lake and throw some rocks or sticks. Also, teach them how to skip rocks and count how many skips each rock can make. This is a fun gross motor skill activity too!

We love these fun water play activities for preschoolers and they keep us busy all year long.  Now we know not every day is beautiful so here are independent fine motor activities that you can do indoors! Click here!

Make sure to check out our list of over 100 outdoor activities for preschoolers here.

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hey friends!

My name is Nicole and I am so glad you are here! I have always loved photography and have taken classes. Then I started my teacher journey and fell in love with creating resources for what I needed in the classroom. Now I have combined both of my passions to bring you spectacular resources!