Use these 28 wet and wild summer ideas for your children’s ministry!
We’ve got plenty of mix-and-match plans to help you keep kids shrieking in delight with wild, wet fun all summer long. Plan one big Summer Splash, or combine activities for multiple events. You could have Wet and Wild Wednesdays in July or Saturday Summer Splashes.
Open up the fun to your entire community. Most of these activities are affordable and easy enough to do with big crowds of kids. If you want to, charge an “admission” of one bag of water balloons or a single sponge to creatively let the community know what kind of events you’re sponsoring.
5 BEACHY CRAFTS
Sand Castle Clay
You’ll need a big kettle (check thrift stores for a throw-away), water, cornstarch, fine grain sand, and a large plastic bowl. In the kettle, bring 4 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add 3 cups of cornstarch and bring to a boil again. Gradually add 6 cups of sand, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Transfer the mixture into a plastic bowl, and let it cool. This is enough clay for about a dozen kids to make small sand castles or other sculptures. Air dry the finished creations.
Wash an old sheet in the washer and spin dry it. A blue sheet is best! Store it damp in a plastic bag until you’re ready to use it. When children arrive, hang the sheet in an area where it won’t catch too much wind. Keep it moist by occasionally spritzing it with plain water. Put one part tempera paint and two parts water into various spray bottles. Have the kids create an aquarium scene by spray painting fish and sea plants on the sheet. The imperfect form of the sea life makes it look as though you’re really looking through water!
Line the bottom of a small inflatable pool with butcher paper. Put tempera paint in pie tins. Have kids roll tennis balls in different colors of paint, then toss them into the pool. Have them work in teams to move the balls inside the pool, creating cool free-form paintings.
Water Shadow Art
After a dip in the pool, have kids lie down on a warm sidewalk, and quickly get up. Before the water shadows dry, have kids outline their bodies with sidewalk chalk and fill in their features.
You’ll need plenty of bags of ice cubes for this cooperative craft!
Form groups and give each group a bag of ice and a box of salt. A tiny sprinkle of salt between ice cubes makes them stick together and allows children to form walls, towers, and lookouts. But work quickly before the supplies melt away forever. (This is a great craft to do during an indoor break.)
5 YUMMERIFIC SNACKS
You’ll need Fruit Roll-Ups fruit rolls, strips or packets of a fruit snack, paper plates, and plastic knives. Have each child use a roll-up and contrasting fruit snacks to design and form a swimsuit.
Triple Slushie Snacks
You’ll need three flavors of juice, one small resealable plastic bag for each child, wooden blocks, clear plastic cups, and plastic spoons. Pour the juices into the bags, keeping the flavors separate. Freeze these bags.
Form groups of three. Give each group a wooden block, three clear plastic cups, three plastic spoons, and three bags of frozen juice, making sure each group has all three flavors. Show children how to use the block to crush the juice. Then tell them to layer each of the three crushed juices in the clear cups to make this yummy refreshing snack.
For each child, you’ll need a small paper cup, a Tootsie Pop sucker, and about 4 ounces of a lemon lime soft drink. Unwrap the suckers and place one in each paper cup. Pour the soft drink into the cups. Freeze the cups until solid. Children can tear off the paper cups and hold the Pop Drop Pops by their sticks to eat them.
For every six kids, you’ll need a new, clean sand bucket (with a clean shovel); a quart of vanilla ice cream; a 2-liter bottle of root beer; straws; and spoons. (Individual cups are optional.) Have kids use their shovels to scoop ice cream into their sand buckets, then pour root beer over the top. Add straws and enjoy!
Big Fish Snacks
You’ll need vanilla wafers, vanilla pudding, blue food coloring, whipped topping, chocolate wafer cookies, clear plastic cups, and plastic spoons. Crush vanilla wafers to form a layer of “sand” in the bottom of each cup. Spoon in vanilla pudding made with a few drops of blue food coloring. Top with whipped topping “sea foam.” Create a big fish floating in the “water” by pushing a chocolate wafer cookie halfway into the pudding sea.
AN OCEAN OF DEVOTION
Split Sea Soup
Put two bed sheets in the bottom of a small inflatable pool, bunching up one edge of each sheet in the center so you can grasp and separate the two. Fill the pool with water balloons. Have one child walk across the water balloons, lifting each foot high above the balloons between steps. Then read the story of God separating the Red Sea in Exodus 14:21-31. Say: When the Israelites looked over the water, all they saw was how it would crash over them, like the water from the water balloons crashed over our friend’s feet. But God had a different plan. Pull back the bed sheets to separate the water balloons, leaving a path through the pool. Have the kids walk across the path.
Say: God did a miracle to keep his people safe. We remember this story because it helps us know just how powerful our God really is. Use the sheets to remove the water balloons. Then form two teams for kids to use up the water balloons on each other.
Nowhere to Hide
Choose a child to be “It.” Arm this child with a water-filled squeeze bottle. Have children hide while It closes his eyes and counts to 40. It will hunt for the hiders and squirt them when found.
Afterward, gather the children and read aloud Jonah 1:1-17. Ask: Who can hide from God?
Say: God was counting on Jonah to carry his message. God counts on us to carry his message today, too. There’s no way to hide from God, even if you’re just a little squirt!
Squirt the rest of the bottle into the air, letting the water fall on your listeners.
Walking on Water
You’ll need two hoses hooked up and ready to go. Shoot the hoses toward each other, forming a “water bridge.” Perform these “walking on water” feats.
- Challenge kids to step onto a 1-foot-high water bridge with both feet.
- Form a 5-foot-high arc of water and have kids walk under it.
- Form a 1-foot-high bridge for kids to step over.
Afterward, ask: Why couldn’t you walk on the water bridge, even though you could go over it or under it?
Read aloud Matthew 14:25-32. Ask: What do you think it took for Peter to walk out to Jesus? What has Jesus asked you to do that seems impossible?
Say: Peter had to keep his attention on Jesus to do what Jesus asked. We need to keep our attention on Jesus too! How can you do that this week? Once children have answered, squirt all of them.
You’ll need several aluminum pie plates, water-filled spray bottles, a water hose with a sprayer, and a loud air horn or whistle.
Tell children that as soon as they hear your loud signal, they’re to instantly stop whatever they’re doing and run to a designated spot. Then have kids use the items to create a high intensity storm. After a while blow the whistle. Then gather children and ask: Why did you stop the storm?
Say: You stopped out of respect for me and the rules we established. Listen to what happened in Mark 4:35-41. Read the passage. Ask: How is the way the wind and waves stopped at Jesus’ command like the way you stopped when I asked you to? How is this Bible story different from what we experienced?
Say: Jesus has power over everything, even natural things such as storms. What does that tell you about Jesus’ power for your life?