Backyard Water Play Ideas if You Don’t Have a Pool


backyard water play ideasIn Arizona, it’s basically 100% necessary to have water play for kids. With the temps as high as they are, and the kids need for physical activity and vitamin D, your only choice is to get out the water! 

If you’re like me, and you don’t have a pool, sometimes it can be hard to come up with some easy backyard water play. 

Here are some of our personal favorite no-pool backyard water play ideas to beat the AZ heat! 



Kiddie Pool

backyard water play ideas kiddie poolThe easiest and simplest water play is the kiddie pool. With all different shapes, sizes, and material, choosing one is really the hardest part! We just have a small round plastic pool, we chose plastic because we felt it would be more durable for the summer and easier to clean for me!

For extra fun, regardless of which pool style you go with, add a small slide! This little tikes fold up slide is the perfect addition to almost every kiddie pool. 

Slip N Slide

If your kids are a tad older, you may want a slip N Slide! It was definitely a staple in my childhood, and I’m sure yours as well! Slip N Slides do require more room than a kiddie pool so if you don’t have a lot of space this may not be the choice for you!

My kiddos are 4 and 2, so they still have not figured out the proper way to slip N Slide, but they do have a blast just running around this one our friend has- it sprays water on the sides. If you have a wide age range of kids, a Slip N Slide may be a fun choice! 

Mini Splash Pad

backyard water play ideas mini splash padThis one is probably my kiddos favorite! Imagine a very very thin water bed with lots of holes on top, and the water coming out. (Wait, am I too old? Do people remember water beds?).

These are the cheapest, and very simple to hook up. All you need is a round space, and a hose. Be aware that with the splash pad option, you’ll have to run the hose for the full duration of play, and there will be lots of water everywhere. (It’s also not great if you have turf, because the water just pools on top of the turf.)

But if you don’t want to put on the water shoes and head to a crowded public splash pad, this is a fun alternative. 

Water table

My oldest got a water table for her first birthday, and we are still using it three+ years later.

backyard water play ideas water tableMy biggest complaint is storage when not in use (winter) but other than that, it’s fun and easy to set up and clean up. You can also fill your water table with different elements for a great outdoor sensory table.

Bubble foam by busy toddler is one of our favorites, but you can easily just add some bubbles, use water beads, rice (when it starts to get cooler), really anything you put in your sensory bins!

Old fashioned sprinklers 

If you’re like me and have a big grass patch, the easiest of all for backyard water play ideas is just good old fashioned sprinklers! When the sprinklers go off, let the kids outside to run! Cons to good old fashioned sprinklers are really just that there is a time frame and time limit to them! 

There are also sprinkles you can buy from target or Amazon that hook up to your house for longer sprinkler play, but be aware that just like the splash pad these will need the hose to run the whole time! 

Honestly if you have the time, energy, and resources- set up a few of these options at once! Our favorite summer activity is to set up a few when we know we have a few boring days in a row- and leave it all up for multiple days.

That way you aren’t tearing down and setting up a million times. You will need to empty and refill water but, it makes the set up much better if you are leaving it up for a few days! 

If you’re looking for more ideas for summer entertainment, be sure to checkout our roundup of the best indoor memberships for kids 0-4 years old! 


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Ashley is Disney-Obsessed Momma to 2 adorable little ones (Charlotte & John) who are both in their toddler years. She has two fun and lovable rescue pups, and an amazing husband whom she first met in second grade. Together they all enjoy hiking and supporting small local businesses. In her free time Ashley is a basic mom who, like most, enjoys Target, coffee, and wine! She also enjoys traveling to Disneyland and eating Pineapple Dole Whip frequently. She loves eating all things sweet, and loves the rain! She is a HUGE fan of watching Disney movies and drinking iced coffee year round. It’s never too cold for iced coffee, seriously, she drinks it in the snow. Ashley’s perfect day (besides a day spent in Disneyland) would be snuggling on the couch watching a Disney movie with a great cup of iced coffee, and the door open to the rain outside!


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