7 simple and inexpensive water toys

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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Live on the cheap.

If you associate outdoor play with water toys, you might be looking for simple, inexpensive ways to help your little ones cool off this summer. You don’t have to buy that fancy inflatable pool, slip-n-slide, or Super Soaker. You can easily turn things you have around the house – or that are cheap to buy – into accessories for summer water fun.

Here are seven items you probably have on hand that you can turn into simple, inexpensive water toys.

1. Baby or toddler tub

children playing outside in the bathtub
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If your children are still small enough to fit in small portable baby and toddler tubs and you still have such tubs around the house, you can take the tubs outside, fill them with water and transform them in small instantaneous pools.

But what if your children can no longer squeeze into such tubs? If you’ve still got them gathering dust in storage, summer is the perfect time to turn a small bathtub into a DIY water table. Simply place the tub on a small table or chair; fill it with about an inch of water; add cups, buckets and scoops; and watch your child splash.

2. Plastic trash can

plastic storage bin
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If you don’t have a small bathtub in the house, a plastic storage tub can work just as well. Fill a large, deep plastic tub with water, and it can double as a little backyard pool for the baby and toddler set. Meanwhile, a shallower plastic tub can work just fine as a DIY water table: See instructions above. (Note that plastic bins also work great for indoor play.)

3. Large Bowl

Baby playing with water in a bowl
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If you don’t have or need a small bathtub or plastic tub, a large kitchen bowl can also be used as a setting for a DIY water table. Simply place the bowl on a firm surface, fill it with water and toys, and watch your kids have fun in the water.

4. Sprinkler

Water sprinklers on the lawn
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Simple sprinklers make perfect water toys – depending on the sprinkler model, kids can race through the oscillating waves of water or jump over the spinning jets. If you have a simple sprinkler around the house that you use to water your garden and lawn, consider hooking it up to a hose and letting your kids enjoy the stream of water.

But what if you don’t have a sprinkler yet? Well, there are many inexpensive sprinkler models that can be worth buying to use as garden toys. Or you might consider making your own sprinkler out of a water or soda bottle, duct tape and a plastic hose. by following these instructions.

5. Balloons

water balloons
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Assuming your kids are old enough to play with balloons (i.e. balloons are no longer a choking hazard), buy some inexpensive balloons and help your little ones fill them with water. The water balloons can then be used for a good old fashioned water balloon fighting game or a water balloon throwing game.

6. Sponges

girl playing with water and sponge outdoors
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Sponges aren’t just for cleaning. If you have a few unused sponges around the house, easily turn them into water toys. Simply fill a bucket with water, toss the sponges into the water, then let your little ones go wild squeezing and playing with their new homemade water toys.

7. Garden hose

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If you have a hose around the house, why not let your kids play with it? There’s no better easy water toy than the constant stream of water from a hose.

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