Being the crafty ones, DIY loving family we are, we’ll take just about any excuse to incorporate homemade things into whatever it is we’re doing. We’re sure it’ll come as no surprise to you, then, that our swimming pool is no exception! This year, we’ve been totally digging the idea of making our kids awesome toys and games that they can use in the pool all summer long, just to keep things extra fun.
Just in case you’re as interested as we were in making your very own pool toys, here are 15 of the best ideas we’ve come across so far!
1. Little cork sailboats
Whether the water you’re working with at playtime is a big pool or even just a small bucket or washtub on the porch, there are plenty of ways to keep it fun through DIY projects. Our kids have always been huge fans of things that they can enjoy while they make it and afterwards while they play with it, so this adorable little cork sailboat idea featured on Inner Child Fun is like the perfect craft. It’s also small enough to use no matter where you’re playing in the water. Our kids felt very accomplished watching something they made with their own two hands floating!
2. Wet water sponge toys
There are plenty of store bought toys that, while not necessarily intended to be water toys specifically, will make for great games in the pool all summer. Simple balls (like beach balls or volleyballs) are a great example and our kids love a good, simple game of catch. If the goal is to have fun with water on a hot day, though, perhaps your kids would have a better time throwing around a toy that actually uses the water a little more? In that case, we’d definitely suggest taking a look at how Our Beautifully Messy House made these funny bunched sponge “balls” that will absorb and squirt water as they’re thrown around.
3. DIY water wall
Whether you’ve got a full sized swimming pool, a blow up kiddie pool, or just a sprinkler, sometimes it’s nice to have water based toys and games around your yard that will work in any circumstances to cool your kids down and show them a bit of water based fun on a hot day. That’s why we loved this DIY water wall idea so much! Find out from Tinker Lab how to build a sort of water slalom down your garden fence using cut pop bottles.
4. Water pom pom target toss
Do you love the idea of making your kids water soaking “balls” but you don’t have any sponges at hand? Perhaps your kids are very small and you’d rather make something that you can control the size of a little bit better or have them help you make. In that case, maybe you’d have a better time making these soak-able yarn pom poms instead of larger sponge balls! We love the way Make and Takes created a fun water pom pom target game to help cool their kids down on hot days. Grab the yarn and the sidewalk chalk and voila!
5. Water balloon pinata
Perhaps you actually don’t have any room for a pool or even a sprinkler in your yard and that’s why you’ve been searching for water based games in the first place? Then here’s an awesome alternative that we think anyone, of any age, would have a blast with on a very sunny afternoon! Check out how Ziggity Zoom filled several water balloons with cool water and string them up together along a string like a clothesline. Your kids can take one or two swings at it like they would with a piñata and enjoy the cool relief from the heat when the balloons burst and the water comes out in place of candy!
6. Bottle sprinkler
Were you quite intrigued by the idea of making water toys and games out of upcycled materials, so the idea we showed you earlier of using emptied 2L pop bottles for water games appealed a lot to you? Well, just in case you’re not quite convinced that that’s the best game for your kids, or just in case you like it so much that you want another idea just like it, here’s an additional upcycled pop bottle idea for your consideration! Frugal Coupon Living teaches you how to make a hanging sprinkler with lots of spots for the water to drain out of.
7. DIY water blob
Have you been scrolling through our list looking for an idea that’s really unique because you come from the kind of crafty family who’s always trying to take fun to the next level using your DIY skills? Then maybe this super fun homemade “water blob” idea outlined on Clumsy Crafter would be the the best water project for you! Their tutorial guides you step by step through the process of making it from heavy duty plastic sheeting carefully sealed around the edges and filled, then sprayed with a sprinkler.
8. Simple sponge and straw boats
Were you a huge fan of the adorable little floating sailboat idea we showed you earlier on our list but you don’t actually have access to enough corks right now? Having excited little crafting enthusiasts of our own at home, we understand that sometimes, when they set their sights on a particular project, there’s no curbing their energy and it’s better to make do with what you do have at hand that will work as an alternative. That’s why we were so happy to find this adorable sponge and drinking straw sailboat tutorial featured on Make and Takes!
9. Swimming pool scrabble
Rather than making a game that involves incorporating water elsewhere, would you rather use your skills to adapt a game that you know your kids already love so that it can be played in the water? Then we definitely suggest taking a look at how Toddler Approved transformed sponges into Scrabble tiles! They suggest using sponges that are wide and dense enough to float on top of the water so your kids can arrange all kinds of words and phrases right there in the pool.
10. Water pistol range
Just in case you’re looking for another water game idea that’s a little more active for your kids to participate in, whether you have a pool or not, here’s one that will get them using store bought toys you’ve already purchased for them a little more throughout the season! Inner Child Fun suggests using disposable cups piled into differently shaped structures like a “shooting range” for your kids’ water guns and Super Soakers. We like this idea because it lets our kids play with the toys they like but reduces the number of times we have to break up fights when one of then shoots water at the other from too close a distance.
11. Soap boat races
Are you the kind of crafty parent who loves using your DIY skills to introduce your kids to more old fashioned games and projects that you remember learning from your parents as a kid? In that case, we think you’ll be pretty intrigued by the idea of teaching them how to make a soap racing track, just like I Heart Nap Time did here! They suggest racing your soap sailboats down a clean section of a rain gutter.
12. Pool noodle fish float with head rest
Perhaps your family has a swimming pool but you find that your kids don’t often use the floaties and inflatable climbers that you’ve bought from the store because they’re too big for the space or hard to get on and off of when you’re little? Then perhaps you’d have a better time helping them making some floating loungers of your own! We like the idea of this custom pool noodle float with a head rest, as outlined on Julie Hoag Writer, because you can adjust it to your children’s rough size and stature. We also like that the head rest, which is in a better place than most store bought pool loungers we’ve ever seen, gives them a supportive way to float and enjoy a resting moment in the pool where they’re not likely to roll out.
13. DIY pool ring toss game
Are you finding that the ideas we’ve caught your attention with the most thus far are the ones that keep your kids even more active than a pool already would, giving them something to do while they splash around? Well, just in case you haven’t quite seen one that’s kept your attention completely, here’s another cool idea for you to take a look at! Eva Lotte guides you step by step through the process of making a ring toss game that floats right on top of the water using PVC pipes and sections of pool noodles.
14. Tricycle car wash
Speaking of PVC pipes and sections of pool noodles, here’s another structured water game that our kids were absolutely obsessed with when we made it for them last year! Design Moms guides you step by step through the process of making a standing sprinkler that rains water down on your kids while they ride their bikes or tricycles underneath, just like a car going through a car wash. We love the way they used ribbons tied to the frame and hanging down to mimic the way fabric strips clean the outside of a car in an actual car wash.
15. DIY pool toy organizer
Perhaps you actually already have plenty of pool toys and and games that you and your family can play with in the pool, but you’re looking for a space efficient way to store those things now because they’re currently scattered across your backyard? We needed something to solve this issue as well, but we really didn’t have much room to work with so this vertical solution featured on Melina The Pinterest Queen was a saviour for us! Their tutorial video shows you how to make it happen using a wooden post nailed into the ground with a pool noodle slid all the way down to the bottom. Toys can be strung over and around it, but it’s soft and safe for kids.