Water Tables in the Fall: Fun Ways to Repurpose Outdoor Summer Toys

Water Tables in the Fall: Ways to Repurpose your Outdoor Summer Toys
Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Unsplash

Fall is here, but don’t store your summer toys just yet! Read on for some fun ways to repurpose your outdoor summer toys this Fall.

With the (slightly) cooler Georgia weather, it’s a dream to play outside right now. And when my kids are tired and bickering after a busy day of school, spending some time outside is what boosts everyone’s mood and gets us to dinnertime. These are the outdoor toy hacks that breathe new life into our summer toys when the weather turns cool.

Sidewalk Chalk

Sidewalk chalk is a year-round staple at our house. During the summer, we’d find a shady spot to draw in when the kids needed a break from the heat. Now that the weather is a bit cooler, we use sidewalk chalk to:

  • Create an Obstacle Course. This doesn’t have to be complicated! I’ll draw lines or arrows down the sidewalk and write instructions like “jump,” “dance” or “walk sideways.” Draw road signs for kids to follow on their bicycles and riding toys.
  • Decorate the side of the house, garage door, or a playhouse; or draw on a riding toy. Then use sponges to wash them off when you’re done.
  • Battle monsters. Draw monsters (really, a shape with eyes, stick arms, and sharp teeth works). Have your kids battle the monsters with squirt guns.
  • Here are several more ideas to use your sidewalk chalk this Fall!

Water Tables

Water tables make excellent sensory bins and places to experiment with messy things. We keep a storage container filled with measuring cups, old Tupperware containers that are missing lids, ice cube trays, and sand toys next to our empty water table. This Fall, repurpose your water table by filling it with:

  • Potting Soil or mulch. Plant something that’s easy to grow (lettuce and spinach are great!) and use your water table as a raised garden bed. Or add sticks, rocks, and construction trucks to make a construction site.
  • Rocks and sticks of varying sizes. Make habitats for toy animals, or use them as building blocks. Hunting for the perfect nature items is half of the fun!
  • Ice Cubes. Make “nature ice” by freezing berries, leaves, and rocks in water using an ice cube tray. Smash them on the pavement with a toy hammer. Melt them with squirt guns. Play restaurant with the ice cubes as ingredients.
  • Legos (our mega blocks now live permanently outside). 
  • Rolled socks. (Trust me on this one.) Roll individual socks into balls (use up your mismatched or worn socks, or buy some cheap white ones so they look like snowballs). They’re great for building towers or for hosting a “snowball fight.” 

Pools & Splash Pads

If you have a hard-sided kiddie pool, use it as you would a water table (see above). For some other ways to use your inflatable pool or splash pad this fall, try adding:

  • Shaving Cream. Let your kids draw on the bottom with shaving cream, or let them use it to wash their riding toys. Since your splash pad already has a sprinkler feature, rinsing is easy!
  • Stuffed Animals. That inflatable pool makes a great pirate ship, castle, or beach for your kid’s plush toys. 
  • Pillows and blankets to create an outside reading space. 
  • Cardboard boxes and tubes. An inflatable pool makes a great landing zone for a ball run or car ramps.

Beach & Pool Toys

To repurpose your summer pool toys, rafts, kickboards, and pool noodles this Fall, try using them to create:

  • Forts and hideouts. Add in lawn chairs or an inflatable pool to make a massive structure.
  • Obstacle courses.
  • Field Day Games. Walk across the driveway with a pool noodle between your knees or elbows. Try to throw a pool raft across the lawn. Balance a pool raft on your (or two people’s) heads and walk down the driveway.
  • I-Spy Digs. Bury your seashells, pool diving toys, or fun objects you find on a nature hike in a pile of leaves. Then let your kids hunt for them using their sand toys.

Let us know how you repurpose your summer toys for some crazy fall fun! 

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Hayley was born and raised in Atlanta. She attended Agnes Scott College, then Emory University's MAT program before beginning her teaching career. She and her husband have lived in Boston and New Haven before becoming parents and moving back to Atlanta to be near family. Now a SAHM of two kiddos, Hayley enjoys reading, cooking, and finding her way through the consistent challenges of parenting.