Are you planning activities for a summer camp program, or perhaps even a backyard summer camp for your own kids? Well, we have loads of cool ideas for you—emphasis on cool. With these water and ice summer camp activities, kids can beat the heat, have fun, and learn all at the same time. From sensory bins to fascinating science experiments, to water games and ice boat races, you’ll be able to fill their days with fun in the sun while keeping cool.
Water and Ice Summer Camp Activities
We’ve compiled ideas for a wide range of ages, from toddlers and preschoolers up through tweens and teens. Older kids will enjoy the science experiments and games, while younger ones will have a blast with all the sensory activities.
Make a list of your favorite Water and Ice Summer Camp Activities from the fun summer ideas below to start planning out your summer camp!
Fun Summer Camp Activities
When the weather is hot outside, come inside to make some icy art! This ice cube painting activity is lots of fun for summer. We made our paint pops with neon food coloring to make the colors brighter. Just grab a colored ice cube and swirl, draw, or color to your heart’s content. Using popsicle molds makes it easier for kids to grasp and use the colored ice.
Cool down during a scorcher with these fun frozen ocean activities. Kids will love diving in with their hands to explore the water beads, seashells, and ice blocks. Rescue the ocean animals from the block of ice using different tools and ideas!
Plan a glacial excavation with these super simple frozen dinosaur eggs. Aspiring paleontologists will love breaking through the ice and melting it with various tools to excavate the dinosaur inside.
Place ocean-themed toys like dolphins, octopuses, fish, jellyfish, etc., inside frozen ice balls for the kids to investigate. Try different methods to melt them, like pouring water over them, using tools to chip away at them, etc.
Teach kids how to make a musical instrument using just water, glasses, and something to strike the glass with. This is such a fun activity, and it really impresses the kids when they hear the various notes from each glass according to the water level inside. You can set up a simple xylophone with just a few glasses or a really elaborate one with long stretches of glasses.
It’s time to get wet and wacky with our homemade super soaker sponge balls! These are way more fun than water balloons. With water balloons, you can only use them once, and they’re done. These sponge balls can be reused again and again, which means the fun can keep going for much longer.
Simple science experiments like this one really go over big with the kids at summer camp. This is easy to set up using jars of water, shaving cream, and food coloring. It’s an easy way to teach children about how rain works when it falls from the clouds.
This ocean density jar is made up of four layers: a sandy ocean floor, the ocean water, the sky, and the clouds. Ocean animals live in the water and on the ocean floor, so don’t forget to put a toy fish or crab, etc., in there as well.
What do you think about these summer activities and fun outdoor games?
Whether you are looking for theme days, games for kids, rainy day ideas, or an outdoor activity, I am sure your children will love any of these activities.
Awesome Water Summer Camp Activities
Sponge Boat Craft from thecrafttrain.com: Make boats that really float out of sponges, popsicle sticks, and duct tape. This is the perfect summer camp craft! After the kids have designed their boats, it’s time to put them in the water and race them to see who’s boat comes out ahead.
Hot and Cold Water Density Experiment from steamsational.com: If you’re willing to risk a colorful, watery mess if you don’t do it precisely, this hot and cold water density experiment is super interesting. Kids will enjoy watching the colors stay separated at first and then mix together when the jars are flipped to put the hot on top.
Laminar Flow Experiment from steamsational.com: If you haven’t seen this on TikTok yet, it’s a really popular experiment where the water stream coming out of a balloon appears to freeze. The secret is to keep the flow at minimal disruption so it can gently pour out of the opening. Try it!
Super Foam Sensory Bin from inthekidskitchen.com: Whip up a bin full of super foamy water to play in. This is perfect for kids to practice with their kitchen tools like measuring cups and spoons for measuring and pouring or whisks for whipping up some foam of their own. Follow the recipe for the extra-fluffy foam!
Backyard Summer Camp Activities
Pipe Cleaner Magnetic Fishing Game from activelittles.com: Go fishing for pipe cleaners shaped into fish by using magnetic wands! This works in a glass, a plastic bin, etc. Kids will really enjoy making the fish and fishing for them.
Rainbow Walking Water Experiment from messylittlemonster.com: Did you know that you can make water “walk?” It’s true! As you place one end of the paper towel into the colored water, it begins to travel to the other end into the empty jar. Connect a series of jars to make a rainbow. Isn’t it pretty?
Summer Camp Theme Ideas
How to Make a Solar Still from theresjustonemommy.com: This isn’t just a fun summer STEM activity. Knowing how to distill water is a useful survival skill if you have no clean, fresh water available. The sun causes the water to evaporate, condense onto the plastic, and then drop into the collection jar. Voila! You have clean water that’s safe to drink.
Ocean Small World Sensory Play from danyabanya.com: Set up a small world sensory tub for the littles. This oceanic theme comes together with ocean animal toys, foam seaweed, water beads, and anything else you can toss in that goes with the ocean them. A watering can for pouring looks like rain over the ocean.
Sensory Soup with Pool Noodles from simplefunforkids.com: What do you get when you combine ice, colored water, and pool noodles? Sensory soup! Scoop, pour, and whisk away until all the ice is melted. You could also add leaves and flowers to the mix.
Water Summer Camp Theme
Sprinkler Water Games from thimbleandtwig.com: Kids always have a good time when they’re running through the sprinklers, but you can make up some games for them to play as well. Sprinkler Sharks and Minnows is one of our favorites from this list!
Milk Jug Water Wheel from jdaniel4smom.com: Construct a water wheel using a plastic milk jug, chopsticks (or a dowel), and some water. Experiment with the flow rate of water to see how to turn it efficiently.
Water Density with Grapes from jdaniel4smom.com: Using water, sugar, and grapes, experiment to see how much sugar it takes to make the grapes float near the top of the water. Don’t forget to record your observations on the sheet or in your science journal.
Coral Reef Sensory Bottle from findingyourselfyoung.com: This is a fantastic activity for toddlers who need a little calming down. Once the sensory bottles are made, the kids can flip the bottles upside down to watch the ocean animal toys and glitter slowly drift through the liquid. It’s so relaxing.
Easy Ice Summer Camp Activities
Chalk Ice from thebestideasforkids.com: Make sidewalk chalk paintsicles for the kids to cool down while creating some lovely sidewalk art. This is a wonderful process art activity for all ages; kids will love watching the colors melt and mix together after making their creations.
Disney In Ice Water Table Escape from lorenaylennox.com: Instead of Disney on Ice, how about Disney toys trapped IN ice? Set them up at a water table to let toddlers and preschoolers melt the ice away with water in squirt bottles or pouring containers.
Ice Lantern from ourfamilycode.com: Use cups of different sizes to make an ice lantern decorated with pipe cleaners. Once it’s frozen, put a battery-operated tealight inside to watch it glow.
How to Make Frost from steamsational.com: Make frost in a can using simply water, tin cans, and ice. Will the frost form faster on the can with or without salt? How can you make the frost form faster? This is a simple and easy experiment to set up in just a few minutes.
Ice Boat Race from 123homeschool4me.com: Make sails out of paper and straws to stick into ice cubes to make these fun ice boats. Make a whole fleet of them! Then, create slides out of tubing, foil, cardboard, or whatever you can find to see which materials allow the ice boats to slide farther or more quickly.
Backyard Summer Camp Activities
Lego Ice Play from craftsonsea.co.uk: Grab a Lego ice cube tray to make these fun ice blocks in the shape of your kids’ favorite toys. Add them to a bin or water table along with some actual Legos and see what their imaginations can come up with.
Frozen Flowers Sensory Play from craftsonsea.co.uk: Gather some pretty flowers from the backyard or around the campsite to freeze into ice blocks for playtime. Use water, tools, or the sun to melt the ice and rescue the flowers. How did they hold up to being frozen? Record your observations!
Glowing Ice Cubes from gosciencekids.com: Make fluorescent, glowing ice cubes that you can actually eat! This will be a HUGE hit with the kids. You’ll need tonic water and a UV light for this simple but spectacular experiment.
We hope you enjoyed this list of water and ice summer camp activities. Pin it so you can come back to it later when you’re ready to set up your activities.