When it's hot, it's a no brainer that you're going to want to have water involved with your play outside.
Water + sun + kids = happiness
It's true. (Oh and don't forget the sunscreen!)
So after an arduous search far and wide (aka an hour on the internet), I bring to you a looong list of great ideas for water play.
#1 Make grass soup. Only have a small bucket and a little bit of water? The clear answer is muddy water! Let the kids play and enjoy finding bits of grasses and weeds that smell or have different textures to add to their water. And of course dirt! Be sure to give them several kinds of spoons (there are very cheap plastic sets at Wal-Mart that might be good to keep outside) and watch as their imaginations take over.
#2, 3, 4, and 5 Childhood 101 suggests using bubbles in the water, teaching measurement, punching holes in a plastic bottle (genius!)--and this bottle could even be taped to your hose---and adding indoor toys to outdoor water.
#6 Hooray for aluminum foil! Camo and Bows had the idea to create a tin foil river through the front yard to float bath toys down. The stream is easiest when you start the water running on the flat foil and then create your river around that. The children can even change the flow of the river just by adjusting the foil.
#8, 9, and 10 Creative with Kids suggests using buckets of water, paintbrushes, paint sponges and sidewalk chalk for all sorts of fun play. Dip the chalk and then draw on the sidewalk, draw on the sidewalk and then paint over that with water, chalk up toys and then "clean" them with your paintbrushes and water. Excellent ideas!
Krazy Coupon Lady. Pour water into some kind of container, add water-proof toys and freeze. Then let those kiddos go after the block of ice with spoons and small hammers, etc.
Playing By the Book created this amazing water wall by recycling bottles, tubes and tubs. The kids can experiment with moving around the tubes and bottles to let the water run different routes. Water can be recycled by letting it run into bigger buckets at the bottom and then pouring it in again at the top. I think my big kids would really get into making this and I can see it being an ongoing project throughout the summer.
#13 I have never heard of water beads, but just looking at Play at Home Mom's pictures makes me want to put my hands down into them and squish them with my feet. I think my kids would love this!
#15 Last, but not least, here's another idea that is totally do-able. Go Kid Yourself suggests that you take a large piece of plastic sheeting (LARGE), fold it over, duct tape the edges to seal them, and fill the huge "bag" up with water. Kids can walk, bounce, lay and roll around on this huge, cool water bag. This would be especially great for the very young children.
Go get wet and have fun!