From water games to sensory activities, there are so many ways to extend the fun of the kiddie pool! This blog post will share 15 different kiddie pool activities for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
The kiddie pool is a summertime staple. The perfect hot day activity to stay cool. If you’ve ever wondered, “how can I make my kiddie pool more fun?” then this one is for you
Top Reasons to Use a Kiddie Pool
- They’re affordable and can cost as little as $12.
- You have a range of options.
- Inflatable kiddie pools come in a wide variety of sizes and multiple shapes.
- Hard plastic pools come in different sizes and can even include built-in slides.
- Inflatable pools do not take up much storage space.
- They are versatile for indoor and outdoor use.
Kiddie Pool Activities for Babies
- Sensory Mat
- Create a full-body sensory play activity for your baby by turning a kiddie pool into a sensory mat. Tape down contact paper, bubble wrap, felt, drawer liners, or paper for your baby to roll, sit, or crawl on. Layer different fabrics and pillows for your baby to explore.
- Gross Motor Ball Pit
- Using plastic balls, you can turn a kiddie pool into a tiny ball pit. Support your baby’s gross motor skills by stacking pillows up and over the sides of the kiddie pool. Then your baby can crawl in and out of the pool. You can also add a bucket in the ball pit for filling and dumping.
- Splash + Pour
- Turn a kiddie pool into an immersive pouring station that your baby can sit inside.
- Add a couple of drops of food dye or liquid watercolor to add an extra sensory element.
- Pool in the Rain
- If you’re already going to get wet, why not explore and enjoy a rain shower.
- Start with an empty kiddie pool and let your baby experience how the water level slowly increases.
- Start with a kiddie pool with an inch or less of water so your baby can watch the raindrops hit the water.
- Exploring Wet Textures
- Babies can explore the different sensations of varying levels of wet and dry.
- Start in a dry kiddie pool with dry sponges, washcloths, and loofahs.
- Slowly add a little bit of water, so your baby can use the sponges to wipe and soak up the water.
- Once the sponges are soaked, your baby can explore squeezing the wet sponges and feeling the water steam out.
Kiddie Pool Activities for Toddlers
- Ball Pit
- Instead of plastic balls, use cut-up pool noodles or stuffed animals.
- Add blankets and pillows to make a softer landing.
- Add a step stool for climbing and jumping.
- Add pails, shovels, or ladles for scooping and pouring.
- Full-Body Art
- Cover the bottom of the empty pool with a sheet or large pieces of paper.
- Set out markers, crayons, or paints.
- Invite your toddler to create art in new ways using their entire body, their feet, or lying down.
- Suds + Bubbles
- Turn a kiddie pool into a bubble bath.
- Use only a couple of inches of water and add bubble bath.
- Add whisks, sponges, and loofahs to help create the suds.
- Life-size Sensory Table
- Paint Prints
- Create art in a dry pool.
- Put paints into squirt bottles or squeeze bottles.
- Or offer flyswatters or plungers and paint on trays.
- Let your toddler paint the bottom of the dry pool.
- Before the paint dries, place sheets of paper on the art. Then gently peel them up, creating paint prints.
Kiddie Pool Activities for Preschoolers
- Build a Fort
- Option 1: Use a dry kiddie pool as the room of a fort, propped up on crates or chairs.
- Option 2: Create a blanket fort overtop the kiddie pool. Set a chair in the center of the pool or drape blankets across the sides of the pool.
- Cozy Reading Nook
- You can turn the fort into a reading nook.
- Or add cushions, blankets, and a basket of favorite stories inside the kiddie pool for a cozy reading space.
- Obstacle Course
- Use a kiddie pool as part of a water-themed obstacle course. Children can slide into or crawl through it. Other ideas for the obstacle course could be sprinklers and slip + slides.
- Immersive Stargazing
- Float in the pool at night and look at the stars.
- Make it an immersive experience by adding glow sticks in the water.
- Plastic Egg Scavenger Hunt
- Hide prizes treasures inside plastic eggs (they float!), and kids can scoop out eggs with nets to find the treasure.
100+ Ice Play Ideas for Toddlers + Preschoolers
Inflatable Kiddie Pool vs. Hard Plastic Kiddie Pool
Inflatable (or foldable)
- Can fold up and store in a closet or small space
- Easier to travel with
- Soft sides provide a softer landing
- Often more expensive than hard plastic pools
- Blowing up and disassembling take more time
- Can get punctured or rip
- Durable and can last multiple summers with proper care and storage
- Easier to clean when used as a sensory bin
- If not properly stored, can crack
- Hard sides and bottom could be a painful landing
Safety + Care for Kiddie Pools
No matter which type of kiddie pool you choose, always be sure to follow these safety and care tips:
- Never leave children unsupervised near standing water, even if it is just a few inches deep.
- If reasonable, pour water out of kiddie pools after use. If not, cover for extra security.
- Inflatable kiddie pools need to be completely dry before deflating and storing away.
- Hard plastic kiddie pools should be stored in a shed or garage to prevent cracking during the winter months.
- Check out Nicole’s pool & beach hacks on Organized Chaos Blog.