Summer Water Activities for Kids

See how a blubber bag keeps your hand warm.
See how a blubber bag keeps your hand warm.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Kids love to play with water in the summertime, and with good reason: The weather gets terribly hot, and water games and activities are a fun way to cool down. The summer water activities for kids in this article are sure to satisfy kids' hunger for fun in the sun.

Water activities aren't just fun. They can also be a useful teaching tool, whether it's a lesson on flotation devices or a look at how arctic animals stay warm in subzero temperatures.

Get started on your way to having some cool summertime fun!

Bouncing Balloons Game

See how long you can keep a water balloon on a sheet, then try to break that record.

Water Balloon Launcher Activity

Launch yourself into some good old fashioned water fun with this watery catapult.

Personal Flotation Device Activity

Do you own or have access to a life jacket? Learn how it works in this informative exercise.

Milk Carton Waterwheel Activity

This fun milk activity is easy to make, and guaranteed to keep you cool.

Blubber Bags Activity

Have you ever wondered how animals in the Arctic stay warm? Try this blubber bags activity and see firsthand.

Water balloons get the trampoline treatment in the activity on the next page. Keep reading and find out more!

For more fun activities and crafts, try:

Bouncing Balloons Game

Keep the water balloon on the sheet and off the ground.
Keep the water balloon on the sheet and off the ground.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

This bouncing balloons game will test kids' ability to keep a water balloon in play without bursting it.

What You'll Need:

  • Three friends
  • An old sheet
  • Water balloons
  • Net or string (optional)

Whoosh! You and your friends should each grab a corner of the sheet and place a water balloon in the middle. The object of the game is to bounce the balloon up into the air using the sheet.

That may not sound too tough, but the tricky part is catching the balloon in the sheet before it s-p-l-a-t-s on the ground. Once you and your pals master one balloon, toss another one onto the sheet.

How many balloons can you bounce into the air without busting one? You can turn this balloon game into a game of "volleyball" by gathering another four friends together.

Use a net or a string to divide a grassy area in two. Then have one group stand on each side of the net. Your team must use the sheet to bounce the balloon over the net.

And the team on the other side must catch it with their sheet and flip it back over to you. Keep this up until one team drops the balloon. Splash!

Send water balloons flying far and fast in the activity on the next page!

For more fun activities and crafts, try:

Water Balloon Launcher Activity

This water balloon launcher activity requires some help from an adult, but the payoff will be well worth it: Kids will be able to send water balloons rocketing through the air!

What You'll Need:

  • Adult
  • Awl or drill
  • Large plastic funnel
  • 12 feet of rubber tubing
  • Dozens of water balloons
  • Two buckets
  • Plastic garbage can lids

Help kids assemble the water balloon launcher by using an awl or drill to make four holes in the upper rim of a large plastic funnel and cutting the rubber tubing into two equal lengths. Tie an end of the tubing to each of the four holes so that the funnel has two big loops of tube coming from each side.

Firing the launcher requires three people. Have two people hold the loops, one on each side, with their arms in the air and the launcher stretched between them.

The third person puts a water balloon in the funnel and pulls back on the funnel as far as it will go and touches it to the ground, then releases it, sending the balloon flying.

To play water balloon battleship, you'll need two launchers and two buckets of water balloons. Divide the players into two teams with at least four players per team.

Three "cannoneers" operate the launcher and the fourth, the "powder monkey," fetches the water balloons. Extra players can carry plastic garbage can lids to protect their teammates. Each bucket of balloons should be behind the team and off to the side.

At a signal, the powder monkeys run and fetch one water balloon at a time for their team. Teams fire balloons as fast as they can. A person hit directly is "wounded" and must move around on one leg only.

A second "hit" puts the player out of the game for an agreed-on period of time. You can vary the rules according to the number of players and how well they play. A heavy splash might count as a "wound" if a team's aim is not good.

Test a life jacket or personal flotation device in the article on the next page.

For more fun activities and crafts, try:

Personal Flotation Device Activity

A personal flotation device will keep you safely afloat.
A personal flotation device will keep you safely afloat.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

In this personal flotation device activity, kids can test one out in a pool to see how it works! Life jackets and other personal flotation devices (PFDs) are meant to keep you afloat if you accidentally fall into the water.

However, PFDs only work when they're worn properly. If a boat capsizes, there won't be time to simply grab one and put it on in a hurry. There's no way of knowing what will happen in an accident! If you've never tried out a PFD before, do so before you go boating.

What You'll Need:

  • Use of a pool
  • Any life jackets or other PFDs in your household
  • Adult help

Make absolutely certain you supervise kids when they try a life vest in a swimming pool. First, put the life vest on over a swim suit. Help kids adjust the straps so the life vest fits snugly. Get into the pool and be ready to help kids in case something goes wrong -- then have kids jump in the pool and see what happens!

If the vest feels uncomfortable, or if it makes you float awkwardly, adjust the straps or try a different size or style. Once you find a vest that fits, test it out.

Then put on clothes you would wear if you were boating or playing or fishing near open water. Put the life vest on over your clothes, adjust the straps, and jump in the pool.

How does it feel? Will the vest keep you afloat with your clothes on? Knowing what it's like to float in a life vest will make things easier later.

Make a milk carton waterwheel with the activity on the next page.

For more fun activities and crafts, try:

Milk Carton Waterwheel Activity

These milk carton waterwheels are sure to keep you cool.
These milk carton waterwheels are sure to keep you cool.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The milk carton waterwheel activity puts Newton's third law -- "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction" -- to the test! Have fun proving that law -- but do this project outside, as it will get things quite wet!

The milk carton waterwheel is a fun way to play with water on a hot, sunny day. Put on your thinking caps and your bathing suits! An adult may need to help kids out when they do this summer water activity.

What You'll Need:

  • Paper milk carton
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Water

How to Make a Milk Carton Waterwheel:

Step 1: Use a pencil to poke a hole in the bottom left-hand corner of each of the four sides of a paper, half-gallon milk carton.

Step 2: With scissors, poke a hole in the top flap of the milk carton (an adult may need to help kids do this).

Step 3: Tie a string through this hole, and tie the carton to a tree branch or something similar.

Step 4: While covering the holes in the milk carton with your fingers, have a helper pour water into the carton.

When the carton is filled, take your fingers off the holes and see what happens to the milk carton as the water flows out. You've created a waterwheel!

A thick layer of fat helps animals keep warm in icy climates. Kids can try this for themselves with the activity on the next page -- no weight gain required.

For more fun activities and crafts, try:

Blubber Bags Activity

How long can you keep your hand warm in a blubber bag?
How long can you keep your hand warm in a blubber bag?
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The blubber bags activity is a fun (if greasy) way for kids to rind out how seals and whales stay warm, even in very cold water.

What You'll Need:

  • Bucket
  • Ice
  • Water
  • Two large plastic bags
  • Vegetable shortening

Do this experiment with a friend for extra fun. Fill a bucket with ice and water; make sure the water is very cold before doing the experiment. Be sure there are no holes in the plastic bags.

Fill one bag about half full with vegetable shortening. Have your friend slip the second bag over his or her hand, like a glove, and slide it into the shortening-filled bag.

Your friend should mush the shortening around until it surrounds the hand. Now plunge your bare hand into the bucket of ice water, and hold it there for 20 to 30 seconds.

After you take your hand out of the water, your friend should plunge his or her blubber glove into the ice water. How long could your friend keep his or her gloved hand in the water?

Why do you think the gloved hand stayed as warm and comfortable as a seal in the winter? Now take your turn with the blubber bag, and see for yourself what a difference the "blubber" makes.

For more fun activities and crafts, try:

ABOUT THE CRAFT DESIGNERS:

Bouncing Balloons Game by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe and Kelly Milner HallsWater Balloon Launcher Activity by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe and Kelly Milner HallsPersonal Flotation Device Activity by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe and Kelly Milner Halls