How to Make an Aluminum Foil River for Summer

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Turn aluminum foil into a water activity perfect for pretend play in this aluminum foil river idea for kids! A super cheap way to keep your kids entertained this summer!

How to Make an Aluminum Foil River for Summer

And check out my short form crafting series Curious Crafting on TVOkids and TVOkids YouTube! Watch all the episodes here. Look for season 2 coming in the new year!

How to Make an Aluminum Foil River for Summer

How to Make an Aluminum Foil River for Summer
  1. Unroll your aluminum foil as long as you want your river to be. Unroll a second piece just as long as the first and lay it on top. Although the second layer isn’t absolutely necessary, I found it much easier to create and sustain the river with it. You can set up your foil river either on grass (and then the water flow on to the grass) or on a gently sloping surface outside. Be sure to press down the foil to get the river to flow on grass.
  2. Start to construct the river bed. Lay the aluminum foil flat on the ground and fold up the edges about 2-3 inches on either side to form the river bed. I used large rocks from my garden to help secure the sides of the river.
  3. Place the hose at one end and turn it on to fill the river and start the flow. The higher the water pressure the stronger the current.
  4. Place a bucket at the other end of the river to catch the water as it flows out. And watch as your boats (or anything really) flow down. Or place the other end in your garden or area that needs watering.
  1. Optional: Decorate your river bed with blue gemstones.
  2. Enjoy the river with either your favourite boat bath toys or boats you and you child craft together (Check out Sponge Boats Craft for ideas). You can also just find things in your backyard to see if they will float like leaves, flowers or even grass.
  3. When they are done playing, don’t toss that aluminum foil! Use it for more fun activities and crafts once it has dried. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Problem Solving

Fix any areas that are leaking water by bending the foil lip higher. This is a great problem solving activity that older kids can help with!

Saving Water or Water your Garden

If you don’t want to continuously run your hose you can also secure the ends and create a standing river! My kids a lot of fun with this idea as well!

This is also a great way to water your garden as well so set up your river so that it ends in your garden, and check one thing off your to do list!

How to Make an Aluminum Foil River for Summer
How to Make an Aluminum Foil River for Summer
How to Make an Aluminum Foil River for Summer
How to Make an Aluminum Foil River for Summer

Age Suitability for Aluminum Foil River

This activity is good for kids 3 years and up. My kids are 4, 4, and 8 year old. Any younger they tend to just want to step all over the river bed.

Mess Level

This is a mess level is low.

Difficulty to Create


Skills Developed in Aluminum Foil River

Sensory play, language development, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, imaginative play, creativity.

Supplies for Aluminum Foil River

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  • Aluminum foil
  • Toy boats
  • Rocks
  • Blue stones (optional)

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This show is all about fun and easy crafts for toddlers and preschoolers. 

Set in the ultimate crafting space, Curious Crafting is a short form pre-school age series about the joy of making crafts. I lead a rotating cast of adorable little preschoolers (including my own) making magic out of common household objects.

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Curious Crafting shares the adventure and joy of making art with takeaway lessons for creating crafts at home.

The Best Sensory Play Kits for Kids

Play is at the core of learning during the early years and it can take many forms. One of the most important of these is sensory play because it engages all of a child’s senses (taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing) and has a enoumous positive impact on brain development.

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