As a kid, is there anything better than playing water games outside on a hot summer day? Being at home this summer has meant plenty of backyard games for my 2 and 5-year-old boys. However, the kiddie blow-up pool and the sprinkler I bought them this year, are starting to get old. Thankfully I researched and found plenty of creative and fun water games to play with kids, that don’t require a bunch of people or expensive toys. Some of them require minimal supplies like sponges, water balloons, or a jump rope—but others require nothing more than your garden hose. Here’s a list of my favorites–prepare to get soaked!
My kids have been obsessed with sidewalk chalk this year. We’ve had packs of 50 colors, glitter chalk, and even glow in the dark chalk. Pro Tip: When you get sidewalk chalk wet, it transforms into watercolor-like paint. Start by coloring in large shapes on the driveway, and then grab some water and a paintbrush to make your paint. Best part? When the kids are done admiring their masterpieces, clean up is as easy as hosing it down.
DIY Sponge Bombs
An excellent alternative to water balloons, you can use these sponge bombs repeatedly and they are super easy to make.
You are going to want quite a bit of sponges for this project– it takes about three to make one bomb. Cut each sponge into three pieces longways. Take nine sponge pieces and stack rows of 3 pieces, three times. Grab a rubber band, hair tie or zip tie and wrap it tightly around the sponges in the center. Arrange each piece so that they are not sticking together. After this – they are ready to be soaked! Grab a bucket of water and get ready for a fun water fight, or use them in a bucket toss game.
Frozen Tee Contest
If you’ve never seen a frozen t-shirt contest, it’s time. The difficulty of unfolding a frozen t-shirt is entertaining enough, but contestants must also put the t-shirt on.
Purchase large t-shirts– you don’t want anything fitted. Get all the shirts wet, and wring them out. The more water you leave on the t-shirt, the harder it will be to put on. Fold the t-shirt neatly and place it inside a freezer bag. Seal and freeze overnight. Only use one shirt per bag, or the shirts will freeze to each other.
Take the shirts out before the contest begins and hand out to the contestants. The player to unfold and put on the t-shirt first wins! Note: this may be tricky for younger kids. Allow them to dunk in the pool or a bucket of water to make it a little bit easier.
Water Jump Rope
This one is fun and easy– all you need is a jump rope, a couple of plastic cups, and at least 3 players. Give each player a full cup of water (plastic cups are best in case they are dropped), and they must jump rope 10 times holding the cup of water. The player at the end with the most water in their cup is the winner.
Ice bowling is a fun kid-friendly twist on the traditional game. You will need water balloons, food coloring, and plastic water bottles. Fill up 2-3 water balloons with water and add some food coloring before tieing a knot. Place the balloons in the freezer overnight — these will be your bowling balls. Gather 10 empty water bottles, ideally all the same size. Fill each of them with water, and food coloring for added fun. These will be your pins.
Once the water balloons have frozen, take them out of the freezer and cut the balloon off. You will be left with a frozen ball of colored ice. When you are setting up your bowling game, be sure to water down the cement so that the ice ball glides easily along the ground.
Water Obstacle Course
You can make this as complicated or simple as you want to. I used hula hoops, pool noodles, plastic solar garden lights, a plastic slide, a sprinkler, and a kiddie pool to create our course. I found everything I needed– aside from the pool, at the dollar store.
The first portion of our course was the hula hoops. Four were placed around a sprinkler, and the kids jumped from each circle around three times before moving to the next challenge.
After this, I created a series of tunnels using the pool noodles and plastic lights. Remove the top portion of the lights, and push the plastic stake into the ground — which provides a base that you can slide the pool noodle onto. The kids loved crawling underneath the tunnels and also jumping over them.
For the last part of our course, I placed the plastic slide on top of the kiddie pool, and they slid down into the pool.
There are plenty of other fun ideas you could add, including– a water balloon toss, slip ‘n slides, or even water gun target practice.
Water Balloon Piñatas
Skip the typical balloon fight, and opt for a new game that is cheap and easy to create. You will need water balloons, twine, and a plastic baseball bat. Fill each water balloon, tie it closed, and attached a piece of twine to each one. Tie the twine onto a tree branch at various lengths– within reach for your kid to swing at them with the baseball bat. Have your kids take turns hitting them, and cooling off with a splash of water.