It can be a challenge keeping young children entertained at home—especially for long periods of time.

Have you experienced this scenario? You’ve helped your children with their schoolwork. You’ve let them watch some television. They’ve eaten lunch. Now they’re asking, “What do we do, now?”

Well, we have some ideas, and it involves one of our favorite things—water. How about some indoor water games? You don’t need to head outside to have fun with water!

Check out this list of our favorite indoor water games. There’s something here for children of all ages, and don’t worry—these activities won’t cause (too much) of a mess.

Toy Car Wash


Do your young children have a lot of toy cars? Take them to the car wash. You can even make it “official” by creating a car wash sign with your child’s name, such as “Dan’s Car Wash.”

What You’ll Need:

  • Poster board or a large sheet of paper for the car wash sign
  • Markers, crayons or whatever you want to decorate the sign
  • A large pan to hold the cars
  • Sponge or small brush (cleaning tools)
  • Bubble bath or dish soap
  • Towel (for messes)

Design the car wash sign. Prop it up in the room where you plan to hold the car wash. This could be the dining room table or even the bathtub for easy cleanup.

Encourage the “customers,” which can be other child(ren) and of course adults who are willing to join in, to grab their toy cars. Everyone waits in line while the car washer uses the cleaning tools to scrub the cars. You can make this even more educational by allowing the child to “charge” play money for each car wash. They can count their earnings after the car wash closes!

Water Scrabble

Here is another great game that can appeal to tiny and even school-aged children. You can adapt the activity to focus on the skills your children need to practice, including numbers, letters, reading and spelling.

What You’ll Need:

  • Sponges
  • Scissors
  • Permanent marker
  • Large container (or head to the bathtub)

Collect your sponges and cut them into smaller squares. With a permanent marker, write letters on each sponge. Fill your container or bathtub with water and throw in the sponges. Now the fun begins! Depending on your children’s skill levels, ask them to create or read words. If your children are younger, have them practice saying each letter in the words that you create.

Inspired by this Swimming Pool Scrabble game.

Homemade Popsicles


Okay, this one does not include water, technically, but ice counts, right? Your kids will love making their own frozen snacks. It’s also easy to swap out and replace any preparation materials that you don’t already have at home.

What You’ll Need:

  • Popsicle tray or if you don’t have one, an ice cube tray
  • Food-grade popsicle sticks or plastic spoons
  • Aluminum foil
  • Your child’s favorite juice(s) or healthy smoothie

With your child’s help, pour the juice into the popsicle tray. You can even mix juices to create new flavors and cool colors. Insert the popsicle stick or plastic spoon inside each section. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on top of the popsicles being careful to poke each stick/spoon through the foil. This will help each stick/spoon freeze in place. Place the tray in the freezer and let freeze for at least three hours or however long it takes for the juice to freeze through. Enjoy!

Go Fishing

Even if you don’t have toy fish, this game is just as fun “fishing” for any toy as long as it’s made of foam, hard plastic, or another material that holds up well in water. It also reinforces your child’s skills in identifying animals, recognizing colors, counting, and fine motor development.

What You’ll Need:

  • A net (this can even be a bug net if you don’t have a fishing net)
  • Toy fish or whatever small animal toys you already have at home

Fill your tub halfway with water, so little ones don’t have to bend down too far to gather the fish. Adding bubbles to the water makes it even more fun for toddlers to find the fish. Bubbles seem to make most things more enjoyable! Equip your child with a net, and let the fishing begin!