Kids love to play in the water and with water, so why not make it even more fun and educational? Whether you’re looking for a fun summer activity to do outside, teach your children a little about science, or have them create their own little pets, there’s something for you. Here are some of the best water crafts for kids.
Floating Sea Turtle
Source: By Jennifer @ Sugar, Spice and Glitter, “Floating Turtle Craft” (https://sugarspiceandglitter.com/floating-turtle-craft/)
This cute floating sea turtle is the perfect watercraft for your kids and their friends!
- Plastic fruit cups or applesauce containers
- Craft Paint
- Googly eyes
- Green Craft Foam
- Paint the plastic cups as they will be the turtle’s shell. Kids can use blue or green or paint them any way they like. As they’re painting, use the green craft foam to create the shape of the turtle. You can freehand it or find an outline on google, print it out, and trace it onto the foam.
- Once the cups are dried down, glue them upside down to the shape of the turtle. Add the googly eyes if you want to.
- It’s playtime! The turtles can float in the bath, or you can create a water table so everyone can play together.
Milk Jug Raft
Source: By PBS for Parents, “Milk Jug Whitewater Raft” (https://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-and-experiments/milk-jug-whitewater-raft)
The perfect place for your kids to let their toys float around in the water. The milk jug raft is an excellent addition to bathtime or fun in the pool in the summer.
- Empty milk jug
- Two cake pop sticks
- Single-hole Hole punch
- Duct tape
- Glue gun
- Start by cutting off the base of the milk jug.
- Using the base that you’ve just removed, punch holes in the opposite side of the walls.
- Use the cake pop sticks as paddles, using a small piece of duct tape folded over at the end of each stick for the flat part of the paddle. Trim the edges into the shape of paddles.
- Put the other end of the cake pop stick through the hold punched holes.
- Use the hot glue gun to keep the paddles attached to the jug.
Source: By Kalia Silva-Phillips @ eHow, “DIY Seasonal Sensory Bottles” (https://www.ehow.com/13726120/diy-seasonal-sensory-bottles?utm_source=pinterest.com;utm_medium=referral;utm_content=freestyle;utm_campaign=fanpage)
Sensory bottles are a great way to get your kids to calm down and focus on something to help them deal with sensory overload. You can make them with anything you desire, but these four mimic the seasons, so it’s a learning opportunity as well.
- Four clear water bottles
- Waterproof adhesive
- White glitter
- Snowflake glitter
- Gold glitter
- Foil metallic sequin confetti
- White pom poms
- Yellow pom poms
- Artificial flowers
- Blue pebbles
- White sand
- Blue food coloring
- Maple leaves
- Remove all the labels from your water bottles if applicable. If there is residue or you can’t remove it totally, use some rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball.
- For the winter bottle: You can add the snowflake confetti glitter and white glitter with the funnel into the empty bottle. Add in the white pom poms to mimic snow. Fill the bottle with water and use the waterproof adhesive when attaching the lid. Shake the bottle, turn it upside down for a calming winter snow effect. Ensure the inside of the cap is completely dry before applying the adhesive, even if you have to leave it overnight.
- For the spring bottle: Start by putting your artificial flowers in the bottle. You can add greenery or a variety of flowers to make it colorful. Once you’ve added all the components you want, fill it up with water and seal the lid with the adhesive. Ensure the inside of the cap is totally dry before applying the adhesive, even if you have to leave it overnight.
- For the summer bottle: Start by putting the sand in the bottom of your empty bottle. Add in any colorful rocks or seashells or anything else that reminds you of a beach vacation. Add in the yellow pom pom for the sun. When filling up the bottle after you’ve placed everything in it, leave a little room at the top to add in blue food coloring to change the water. You can also use some ink from a dark blue marker if you don’t have food coloring. Test out how dark you want the color by putting the lid on and giving it a shake. You can add as much coloring as desired, but start with a little and go from there. Seal the bottle with waterproof adhesive. Ensure the inside of the cap is totally dry before applying the adhesive, even if you have to leave it overnight.
- For the autumn bottle: Add the foil metallic sequin confetti, gold glitter, and maple leaves to your bottle. Be careful not to use too much confetti, as it’ll end up clumping together and won’t spread out correctly. Fill up your bottle and seal it with the adhesive. Ensure the inside of the cap is totally dry before applying the adhesive, even if you have to leave it overnight.
Create Art with Water Guns
Source: By Stephanie Dulgarian @ Somewhat Simple, “Water Gun Painting Art Project” (https://www.somewhatsimple.com/fun-summer-art-project-water-gun-painting/)
Is there anything that sounds more fun than this? It can get messy, so this is a great outdoor activity, or make sure the designated painting area is covered with garbage bags or something to protect your floors and walls.
- Water guns with easy-to-pull trigger
- Finger paints or Tempera paint
- Sandwich baggies
- Painters tape
- Garbage bags, drop cloth, old sheet, or table cloth
- Create a 50/50 mixture of paint and water in one of the sandwich bags.
- Snip off the tip of one of the corners of your bag and use it as a funnel into the water compartment of your water gun.
- Create a design on the canvas with painter’s tape. You can make abstract designs, create your kid’s initials or their favorite animals.
- Let your kids spray them, and have a blast!
- Once they’re done, lay the canvas out on the ground until it’s completely dry.
- Remove the painter’s tape.
Source: By Chelsey @ Buggy and Buddy, “Science for Kids: Chromatography Butterfly Craft” (https://buggyandbuddy.com/chromatography-butterflies-separating-colors-in-markers/)
The butterfly craft is a lot of fun to make and also includes a fun experiment for your kids to learn about chromatography.
- Markers that are non-permanent, like Mr. Sketch
- White coffee filters
- Cups of water
- Pipe cleaners
- Dropcloth or newspaper
- Pick the first color you’d like to experiment with, and don’t worry, you’ll get to see them all.
- Cover your workspace with a drop cloth, table cloth, or old sheet in case of spills.
- Take a white coffee filter and use your chosen marker to create a thick circle around the center of the filter. Leave the very center white, so when it’s folded into a cone shape, the tip is still white. Use the pencil to indicate what color you’ve chosen, as it will change throughout the experiment and craft, and you’ll want to know what the original color was.
- Take the coffee filter and fold it in half twice, creating a cone shape.
- Fill up a shot glass with water. Pull the filter apart a bit, so it uses the glass for balance, with the tip of the cone just touching the water. You don’t need much water, just enough to cover the tip of the cone. You don’t want the colored portion in the water just yet.
- As the water begins to saturate the paper, you can watch the magic happen.
- Repeat with all the other colored markers.
- Once the water has completely saturated your filter, you can take it out and place it on the newspaper or drop cloth to dry. It can take a few hours, but once they’re dried down, the results are beautiful.
- Now that the science experiment is complete, you can create beautiful butterflies out of your coffee filters.
- Take your pipe cleaners and cut them in half.
- Take a coffee filter and pinch the middle together, creating wings.
- Use the pipe cleaner to secure the center and shape the ends into antennae.
- You can tie a string to the center, and they can hang from anywhere you like.
Water Bottle Boats
Source: By PBS for Parents, “Float DIY Water Bottle Boats” (https://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-and-experiments/float-diy-water-bottle-boats)
Take recycling to a whole new level with these water bottle boats that are fun to race.
- Duct tape
- Two empty water bottles
- Take the cardboard and cut out a rectangle shape. Cover it entirely in duct tape.
- Tape the two water bottles together to the bottom of the cardboard cut out.
- Cut out a cardboard triangle and cover it in duct tape. You can use a different colored tape to differentiate the boats.
- Use the triangle to make a sail.
- Fill a plastic container or the bathtub up with water, and have fun racing your boats.
- Test out whether or not the boats can float with action figures or small toys on top.
Aquarium in a Mason Jar
Source: By Toni @ Design Dazzle, “Mason Jar Aquarium” (https://www.designdazzle.com/diy-glass-mason-jar-aquarium/)
If your child loves to craft, loves aquariums, but isn’t ready to have real fish of their own, the mason jar aquarium is the perfect compromise.
- 32oz or 64oz Mason jar with lid. A wide mouth is ideal, but both styles will work.
- Aquarium plants
- Aquarium gravel
- Toy fishes
- Fishing line
- Sewing needle
- Food coloring
- Hot glue gun
- If your mason jar’s lid comes apart into two pieces, you’ll want to start by sealing that off with the hot glue gun.
- Take your plastic plants and glue them to the bottom of the jar.
- Add your aquarium gravel to the bottom of the jar until it’s completely covered. It’s typically around an inch tall.
- For adults only: take the sewing needle and heat the end over an open flame to make it just hot enough to pierce a hole in the top fin of the plastic fish. The hole is to be able to run a fishing line through it. The needle needs to be hot enough to pierce both sides of the plastic fin.
- Once the fishing line is through the new hole, you’ll want to leave enough slack that the fish hangs from the top of the mason jar at the right height. You can then hot glue gun it down when you have the correct height. Ensure the fishing line is entirely in the glue, and be careful not to burn your fingers. You can use a metal straw or old utensil if you need.
- When the glue is completely dry, you can snip off any excess line. Your fish should be happily swimming in the air.
- Once you have all the accessories you want in the jar, you can fill it up with water. Fill it up most of the way and add some blue food coloring into the water. Start small to make sure you don’t overdo it right away. You can add more if you need to.
- Secure your lid, and you now have an amazing little aquarium to call your own without the maintenance.
This craft is a great group activity for your kids and their friends.