Water is one of the least expensive, most readily available supplies for entertaining children of all ages. You can do a lot with water during the hot months to keep kids amused, even if you don't have a pool. Help your kiddos have a blast all summer long with this list of outdoor water activities they are sure to enjoy!
Outdoor Water Games for Kids
You can go big and messy with water games when playing outside since you won't have to worry about cleanup. Standard kid's water balloon games and party games for swimming pools are great, but original and new water games will get kids even more pumped to play.
Spray Bottle Tag
Give each kid a clean spray bottle filled with water.
- Play using Freeze Tag rules modified, so kids are "frozen" when the tagger squirts them.
- Kids who are "frozen" can only get "unfrozen" when another player allows the "frozen" player to spray them.
Squirt Gun Marco Polo
Enlist big kids or adults to act as barriers, so no one wanders into a dangerous spot while they're blindfolded in this backyard water game.
- Blindfold all players and give one a full squirt gun.
- The kid with the squirt gun walks around saying "Marco," and when he does, all the other kids have to say "Polo."
- The one saying "Marco" tries to squirt all the other kids.
- If you get wet, you sit out, and the last kid standing wins.
All you need is a sprinkler and kids who are ready to have a good time.
- Turn on a sprinkler that moves from left to right and make sure you've got the water pressure all the way up.
- Kids take turns trying to "limbo" under the arc created by the sprinkler when it moves to one side.
- Lower the water pressure each round, so the sprinkler's arc gets smaller.
Connect Four Sponge Toss
Similar to the board game Connect Four, you'll need a large group of kids or several family members to play this strategy game.
- Have 12 people get in three rows where the front row can sit down while the middle row kneels and the back row stands.
- Everyone should wear plain white t-shirts or tank tops.
- Two players will be the tossers.
- Soak six sponges in one color of water and five in a different color.
- Players take turns tossing a sponge at one person in the grid on each turn.
- The first player to color four people in a line is the winner.
Sponge toss is a fun game that's sure to cool you down.
- Cut sponges into strips.
- Use a hairband to tie them together to create a sponge poof.
- Create teams of two.
- Dip the sponge poof in water.
- Have the teams stand about five feet apart and toss it.
- After each successful toss, they must dip their poof in the water again.
- They then move back one step.
- If the poof drops, they must rewet it and start again.
- The team to make it the farthest in five to ten minutes wins.
Squirt Gun Races
Rather than just shooting each other with squirt guns, make a squirt gun race.
- Have each player choose a squirt gun and matchbox car.
- Use chalk to create a start and finish line.
- On "Go," each person needs to squirt the water from their gun to move the car to the finish line.
- The first one to the finish line is the winner.
Drop the Cup
Rather than a good ole game of duck, duck, goose, or musical chairs, play drop the cup.
- Everyone sits in a circle.
- One person is chosen to go first.
- That person is given a cup of water.
- Music is played, and that player walks around the circle.
- When the music stops, they dump the cup over the person closest to them.
- That person is now "it" and given a cup of water.
Squirt Gun Masterpieces
For this activity, you need a squirt gun and some pavement.
- Have kids use the squirt gun to create a fun drawing on the pavement.
- They should try to complete their masterpiece before it dries.
- Take pictures to preserve the memory.
Fun Outdoor Water Games Without a Pool
You don't need a pool to have water fun outside. Most of the time, you can cool down and have a lot of laughs with a few cups, some slip and slides, and buckets. Try these backyard party games on for size.
Cool off and have fun doing it. Grab the Twister game and a sprinkler.
- Put the Twister board in the yard.
- Turn on the sprinkler.
- Follow the normal Twister play rules.
Water Cup Races
Looking for a fun relay-style race that's great for summer? Try water cup races.
- Create teams of four or so players.
- Line the teams up 20-30 feet apart.
- Put a bucket at the end of each line.
- The first player must fill a plastic cup and run it to the next player.
- The final player must fill the bucket and run the cup back to the filler.
- The first team to fill their bucket is the winner.
Water Pass Sit Down Game
Looking for a fun water game without the running? This might just be it.
- Seat five to six kids in a line front to back.
- The start of the line has a bucket of water.
- The end of the line has the fill bucket.
- Each player must pass the water cup from front to back over their head to the next player.
- The final player must fill the bucket and send the cup back.
- The first team to fill their bucket wins.
Slip and Slide Kickball
Slide right into some summer fun... literally! You need lots of people, slip and slides, plastic pools, and a rubber dodge ball for this summer activity.
- Create two teams.
- Line up the slip and slides to create a diamond.
- Place small plastic pools as the bases at first, second, third, and home base.
- One team is the "kickers."
- One team is the "catchers."
- The "catchers" must place a player at each "base."
- The "kickers" kick the ball and slide to the base.
- The "catchers" must catch the ball and touch the players running to the bases.
- At three outs, the teams switch.
- The first team to reach 20 points wins.
Have a little frisbee fun in the summer.
- Fill a kiddie pool with water.
- Give each kid several frisbees.
- Have kids toss frisbees in the pool.
- The player to get the most frisbees in the pool is the winner.
Tag is a fun game for kids. Give them a bucket and fill a kiddie pool with water.
- Create two teams.
- Mark off an area of the yard.
- Give all the kids a bucket.
- The goal is the fill the bucket and splash the other team.
- If a person gets splashed with water, they are out.
- Gameplay continues until one team wins.
Fill the Cup
Fun times are had with some red Solo cups and a little water.
- Create teams of two.
- One person must lay on the ground with a cup on their stomach.
- The other needs to be about 20 feet away, next to a bucket of water.
- The first player fills their cup up with water and holds it on their head with one hand.
- They need to quickly reach the other person and fill the cup on their stomach with their cup never leaving their head.
- Continue to play until someone fills their cup.
Bucket Dump Game
There's nothing better than getting soaked on a hot day. This game really delivers the drenching.
- Line up three kids front to back in front of a kiddie pool.
- Give each a bucket.
- Put an empty bucket at the end of the line.
- The first player must fill their bucket with water.
- They must then dump the water over their head to fill up the bucket of the next person in line.
- Play continues until the last person fills the empty bucket on the ground behind them.
- Keep playing until the bucket is full of water.
Water Sponge Wars
You've heard of water gun wars. Well, this is sponge wars.
- Cut strips of sponge and tie them together to create a poof.
- Create two teams and have everyone wear a white shirt.
- Fill a few buckets with water for each team.
- Drop a few drops of blue food coloring into one and red into another one.
- Have the kids soak their sponges and start the war.
- The team with the final player who hasn't gotten hit by a sponge is a winner.
You are about to get a little cold.
- Put small toys or gummy worms in the bottom of a plastic bowl.
- Fill the bowl up with ice.
- Have kids try to fish the toys/worms out of the ice with their feet.
Make it a team sport by creating two teams. The team to get their worms out the quickest is the winner.
Exciting Outdoor Water Activities With Water Balloons
When you are looking for outdoor activities, water balloons never disappoint. Not only can kids have fun throwing them at each other, but you can also find a lot of different games to play at a family outing.
Fill the Bucket
Water balloons offer a great way to cool off and have a fun time doing so.
- Create teams of two.
- Give a bucket full of water balloons to one player.
- Give an empty bucket to the other player.
- Set them 10-20 feet apart.
- One player must hold the empty bucket while the other player tries to shoot the water balloons into the bucket.
- The team with the most balloons in their bucket wins.
Water Balloon Pop Game
Grab a bucket full of water balloons and your friends.
- Create teams of two.
- Each team gets a bucket of water balloons.
- Each team must use their arms and legs (no feet or hands) to pop the water balloons. For example, they can squeeze it between their thighs.
- The first team to pop all their water balloons is the winner.
Water Balloon Freeze Tag
Mark a small area to play tag and get ready to have some fun.
- Fill up a bucket with water balloons.
- Select an "it" person.
- The "it" person throws the water balloons as everyone runs around trying not to get tagged.
- The person hit with the water balloon is frozen.
- The last person to get "frozen" becomes the new "it" person.
Water Balloon Memory
Water balloons and plastic cups are a must to play this game.
- Fill up several colors of small water balloons and grab large disposable plastic drink cups to make your own water balloon memory game.
- Lay all the filled balloons out in a grid, ensuring an even number of each color.
- Set an upside-down plastic cup over the top of each balloon.
- Two to four players take turns, each lifting two cups.
- If the balloons under the two cups match, they can throw them at any player.
- If the balloons don't match, kids put the cups back on and play moves to the next person.
Dodge the Water Balloon
Play dodgeball, water balloon style.
- Fill several buckets with water balloons.
- Create two teams.
- Give each team the water balloons.
- Create a dividing line that each team can't cross.
- Start throwing.
- Any team member hit by a water balloon is out.
- The last team standing wins.
Don't Let It Fall
Little kids love to hit balloons and keep them in the air. Well, you can do this with water balloons too. Just grab a sheet and water balloons.
- Put a few water balloons in the center of a sheet.
- Put a kid at each of the corners.
- Have them start throwing the balloons in the air.
- Play continues until all the balloons pop.
Water Balloon Darts
Take darts to the water fun level.
- Use some chalk to create a few dartboards on the pavement.
- Have the kids throw the water balloons at the boards.
- Assign points to the different areas they hit. (i.e., 0 points for outside the board, 1 point for the outer circle, 3 points for the inner circle, 5 points for the bullseye).
- The player with the most points wins.
Water Balloon Pop
Ready to go wild with water balloon antics? Grab a bat, string, and some water balloons.
- Fill up several water balloons and string them to a tree branch.
- Put a blindfold on the kids.
- Spin them three times and give them a plastic bat.
- Allow them to swing three times.
- Have fun!
Have Fun With Water
Water games and activities for kids don't only include summer party games. If you live in a climate that experiences all four seasons, you can still safely play with water during the winter months. For even more fun, fill a bin with all kinds of water tools and toys, then challenge the kids to create their own water games and activities.