With the summer, water becomes a huge draw. It is a shame that on there own most cameras do not do well in a water environment. In order to work around this a good camera housing is required. My first one was a special one made specifically for the camera. It was a hard case with water proof buttons lined up with buttons on the camera. It was nice as all push buttons and controls were easily accessible.
However, every time I upgraded cameras I would need to get a new housing as well. As these are generally expensive (over $300) that makes it difficult to justify the cost (just bought a new camera, and need to come up with another $300+ for a water housing). In order to save some money instead of buying a second dedicated water housing, I bought the one pictured below from Ewa Marine. I have had this for many cameras and many years. It is still available under $100, and stands up to almost anything (may not look it, but the rubber is quite thick).
This works with any small camera (and not so small). I currently use this with the SX210. It does not support the full zoom range, but lets me do some zoom. Though it is not as easy to operate all the controls on this generic housing as on a dedicated one it does gets the job done. The rubber is soft enough that most controls can be operated with some playing. This approach has saved me considerable money as I continue to upgrade to get the latest and greatest camera, but can continue with the same water housing.
The folded up paper in the housing is actually silicon gel packets. These are helpful for two reasons. The first is that they keep moisture out of the casing, so the lens does not fog over. The second is that they are good to place around the camera, in order to hold it in place so the camera lens lines up with the lens in the housing.
A final advantage of this housing is that it floats (so if you do let go of the camera, it will go to the surface). Additionally, if you need to go deeper, the housing will accommodate this (within reason). All you need to do put more air inside the housing with the camera, and it will support deeper dives (though the controls might get harder to operate).
Even with the housing, there are still obstacles to getting good water fun pictures. For example, it is tough to see and time pictures well inside the housing (or underwater), so sometimes you have to try a few times to get a good picture. The picture below is a fun example. I snapped lots of pictures of the little guy diving/falling and jumping into the pool. Though I did fairly well percentage wise, not all were equal (for example some just had a splash, no little guy). The one below was just as the arm was starting to break the water and really looks fun.
In order to get this picture, it was obvious that both I and my camera were going to get splashed. Well, I was already wet, so no worry there, and the camera was safely protected inside of its housing (so we were good to go).
Of course,with the housing, one can also go under the water (no reason to just hang out on top). Though this picture below is a little boring, you get the idea. We have had lots of fun posing for and taking pictures under the water.
I would like to show one final shot. The picture below was taken way back in 2oo5. Though it was a different camera, it was the same housing (that's why buying a generic housing is so nice). We are here standing in the ocean, getting hit in the back by a large wave (the little guy's facial expression is great). I shot this myself, and the wrist strap is really handy in these cases (obviously holding onto the kid is more important than the camera, but with the wrist strap, you can let go of the camera if necessarily). Obviously, I would not want to take this picture without some protection for the camera.
The water housing makes a nice addition, as it gives you a good reason to cool off while you are still snapping photos. As you can see, though the generic housing has some drawbacks regarding ease of use, I definitely have gotten alot of use from it. I find the housing a necessary part of my camera kit, and allows me to have alot of fun with my photo hobby.