Outdoor Water Games

Outdoor Water Games

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Summer is here and that means more hot days and more cool ways to entertain the kids. There are many ways to have fun in the sun and keep cool without a pool! Our water game guide is full of fun ideas for children of all ages.

Before You Play Water Games

Before playing any water games, make sure your child is familiar with the rules of each game. Some children may not like being sprayed with water or enjoy tossing water balloons. If this is the case, your child can still participate by being a judge or keeping score on the sidelines, away from the water. Also, be sure there is plenty of waterproof sunscreen to go around. Other than that, get out the kids' swimsuits and get ready to make a splash!

Dodge the Sponge

Sponges fly left and right in this fast paced dodge game.

What You'll Need:
  • 4 buckets filled with cool water
  • 4 medium-sized sponges
  • Towels
  • Cones or string (optional)

How to Play:
  1. In an open, grassy area, divide the children evenly into two teams.
  2. Mark the boundaries of the play area with cones or string if necessary.
  3. Space the buckets of water evenly in a row between the two teams.
  4. Each team should spread out in a single row on alternate sides of the buckets.
  5. Place one sponge in each bucket.
  6. Instruct the children that when you say "go," they should race to the buckets and grab the sponge before the other team.
  7. Once a child retrieves a sponge, they should throw the sponge at a player on the opposite team.
  8. Once a player is hit by a sponge they are out and must stand on the side lines.
  9. If a player catches a sponge, whoever caught the sponge may invite one of their team members back in the game and the person who threw it is out.
  10. Children can dunk the sponges back in the water at any time.
  11. The first team to eliminate all the players on the opposite team wins!

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Sponge Relay Race

Grab a sponge and run, run, run!

What You'll Need:
  • 1 small sponge per team
  • 1 bucket of water per team
  • 1 large bowl per team (they should all be the same size)

How to Play:
  1. Divide the guests evenly into teams and line each team up in a single file. (It's best to have three
  2. or four children per team.)
  3. Place a bucket of water and a sponge directly in front of the first player on each team.
  4. Approximately 20-feet from the first player on each team place one large empty bowl.
  5. When you say "go," the first person on each team must fill their sponge with water, run over to the other side, squeeze the water from the sponge into the bowl and then bring the sponge back to the next person in line.
  6. Each team continues until one bowl is filled to the brim with water. That team will be declared the winner!

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Wind-Up Toy Race

This is a great game to keep toddlers entertained in hot weather.

What You'll Need:
  • 1 wind-up toy per player
  • A wading pool filled with water
  • Prizes (optional)

How to Play:
  1. Stand each child on one side of the wading pool. They can stand inside or outside of the pool. If you have more than a few children playing, you may want to have smaller groups take turns racing.
  2. Hand each child a wind-up toy.
  3. Instruct the children that when you say "go," they should wind up their toys and set them into the pool.
  4. Encourage the children to make the water ripple with their hands during the race to help their toys get to the other side.
  5. As each wind-up toy makes it to the other side of the pool, award a small prize or give words of encouragement.

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Water Balloon Toss

Grab a friend and make a splash tossing water balloons together.

What You'll Need:
  • Several Water balloons, filled
  • Towels

How to Play:
  1. Divide your guests into teams of two.
  2. Instruct each team member to stand about 1-foot from each other.
  3. Give each team one filled water balloon.
  4. Instruct the children that when you say "go," the child holding the water balloon should carefully toss the balloon to their partner.
  5. If the water balloon breaks, or if the partner does not catch the balloon, that pair is out.
  6. Instruct all the remaining players to take a big step back. The pairs should be about 2 feet apart now.
  7. The children should commence tossing their water balloons back and forth with their partner.
  8. The same rules apply, if the balloon breaks or if one partner does not catch the balloon, that pair is out and each remaining team takes another big step back.
  9. Continue until one pair remains and are declared the winners!

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Water Limbo

How low can you go with water and a hose?

What You'll Need:
  • A garden hose with an adjustable nozzle
  • Party music
  • Towels

How to Play:
  1. Line up your guests single file.
  2. Have one volunteer, preferably an adult, hold the hose.
  3. Turn on the hose and adjust the nozzle so that the water streams in a long, steady line.
  4. Turn on the music and have your guests take turns ducking under the water stream.
  5. If a guest touches the stream of water or if they fall over, they are out.
  6. When all of the guests have had a turn, lower the stream of water.
  7. Continue playing until one guest is left standing and is declared the winner!

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Wet Rover

Red Rover, Red Rover, get soaked as you run over!

What You'll Need:
  • A sprinkler
  • Towels

How to Play:
  1. Divide the children into two equal teams and select a captain for each team.
  2. Have the teams stand in two opposing lines that are a good running distance from each other.
  3. Have the teams face each other with team members standing shoulder-to-shoulder and holding hands.
  4. Place the sprinkler an equal distance between both teams.
  5. Turn on the sprinkler.
  6. The captain of the first team selects a person on the opposing team and, along with his or her teammates, calls out, "Wet Rover, Wet Rover, send [Lauren] right over!"
  7. The chosen player then runs through the sprinkler toward the calling team and attempts to break through their line of arms and linked hands.
  8. If the player is successful, he or she chooses a member of the opposing team to bring to their team.
  9. If the player is unsuccessful, he or she joins the opposing team.
  10. Play then alternates between the two teams until time is up.
  11. After a designated period of time, the team with the most players wins.

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Slip and Slide

This crowd-pleaser will keep the kids busy until the fireflies come out!

What You'll Need:
  • 3-4 plastic trash bags, sliced down the middle and taped securely together to form a long slide
  • A hose
  • Towels

How to Play:
  1. Choose a wide flat area outdoors to lay out your trash bag slide. Make sure there is absolutely nothing under the slide (no rocks, sticks, tree stumps, etc).
  2. Once the slide is prepared, turn on the hose and allow the slide to get really wet.
  3. Line up the children single file and have them take turns belly flopping down the slide!
  4. Make shorter slides for smaller children and longer slides for older children.
  5. Be sure to keep the slide wet with the hose after each child has a turn.

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Whack and Splash

This water balloon game is sure to be a big hit!

What You'll Need:
  • Water balloons (several dozen, filled)
  • A plastic baseball bat
  • A plastic bucket or a small clean trash can
  • Towels

How to Play:
  1. Place the water balloons inside the bucket.
  2. Choose one player to be the pitcher. That player should stand next to the bucket of water balloons.
  3. Instruct the rest of the children to stand in a single file line approximately 10- to 15- feet away from the pitcher. Give the first person first in line the plastic baseball bat.
  4. Make sure there is plenty of room for the batter to swing and not hit the child next in line.
  5. When you say "throw" the pitcher should toss one water balloon for the batter to hit.
  6. After the batter has had their turn, they get to be the next pitcher. The current pitcher goes to the end of the batting line so everyone has a turn at bat.
  7. Continue until everyone has had a turn or you run out of balloons!

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Splash Tag

Don't get sprayed or you're out during this water tag game!

What You'll Need:
  • 1 spray bottle filled with water
  • 1 small water gun, for each player, filled with water

How to Play:
  1. Select a playing area outdoors and set boundaries (e.g. certain landmarks, such as trees, or a roped-off perimeter). The more players you have, the larger the play area should be.
  2. Choose one player to be "the tagger" and hand them the spray bottle filled with water.
  3. Hand out the small water pistols to the rest of the players and instruct them to spread out on the field.
  4. When you say "go," the tagger should try to spray each player with the spray bottle. If a player is sprayed, they must freeze in place.
  5. A player can only be unfrozen if a friend squirts them with water from a pistol.
  6. Since the water pistols are small, they will eventually run out of water. Once they run out of water, that player will no longer be able to unfreeze players.
  7. Play until only the tagger and one last person are left! That player is the winner!
  8. Play the game several times so different children get to be the tagger.

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Water Pinata

Release a wave of water with this homemade pinata game!

What You'll Need:
  • A small trash bag filled with water
  • Heavy-duty string
  • A broom stick or plastic bat
  • 1 blindfold (a cloth or bandana will work)

How to Play:
  1. Hang the water-filled trash bag from a tree. The bag should hang just at the guest's eye level. Also, make sure there is plenty of room in the playing area for the guest to swing.
  2. Stand the children single file several feet from the pinata.
  3. Have the first child step towards the pinata and give them the bat. Blindfold the child and ask them to turn around three times.
  4. The blindfolded child then has three turns to hit the pinata. After the third attempt, the child goes to the end of the line.
  5. Continue playing until the pinata bursts open and causes a tidal wave!

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