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Nothing beats the heat and the doldrums quite like playing in the water, and you don’t need a pool to have fun! Water balloons, squirt guns, buckets, and a garden hose are perfect substitutes if you’ve got a few tricks up your sleeve. Use these simple tools to keep the kids cool and entertained at home this summer with a few of these classic backyard water games!
1. Water relay
Use ladles and buckets to set up a relay game for a group. Place buckets or bowls for two (or more) teams at both ends of the back yard. When the game begins, players must use a ladle to transfer all of the water from one bucket across the yard to the other bucket. First one to move all of their water wins! This game can also be played with sponges or cups.
2. Water balloon towel toss
This is a game that requires at least two teams of two players and is loads of fun! Give each team of two a beach towel to hold between them. Once everyone is ready, toss one team a full water balloon. Their job is to pass the balloon to another team using only their towel, who will then catch it in their towel and toss it back (or to another team). Whoever gets soaked by a broken balloon loses the round!
3. Duck, Duck, Splash!
This game is like similar to Duck, Duck, Goose! but uses a balloon or cup full of water to tag the “goose.” Learn to play the game at The Kid’s Fun Review, or come up with your own fun version.
4. Water balloon target toss
Use sidewalk chalk to draw a large target or set of targets in the driveway. Players will toss water balloons (or soaked sponges) at the target, trying to hit the bullseye. For more of a challenge, suggest different ways to throw the balloons – facing backwards, with your “wrong” hand, with your eyes closed, etc. Get creative!
5. Garden hose limbo
Turn on the garden hose and use the water as a limbo “bar!” Kids can take turns holding the hose and limbo-ing under. Once all of the kids have passed under the water, lower it a little more and have everyone try again, repeating the process until all but one child has been splashed!
6. Roll 6 and Splash!
This is a game smaller children can really get into. Fill a shallow dish with water and provide a single die for the group. Each player will take turns rolling the die. When someone rolls a six, they get to splash the water in the dish, showering their friends! You can find more details for this game and a couple more at Toddler Approved.
7. Water gun tag
Play this game the way any game of tag is played, but with one difference – the person who’s “it” has a water gun! The It chases the other children and tries to squirt one of the them. Whoever gets wet is tagged and becomes the next It!
8. Balloon-on-a-spoon relay
This takes the egg-on-a-spoon relay to the next level! Organize two teams into two lines in a clear area of the backyard. Set up traffic cones or a sturdy object of some kind to mark the “turn around,” then place full water balloons on large wooden spoons for each team. The first person in each line will take the spoon to the turn-around and back, then hand the spoon off to the next person on their team until every person has had a turn. If a balloon is dropped, the player at fault must run to the sidelines and get another. Whichever team gets through all of its players first is the winner! Check out the cute spoons Two Shades of Pink created to play the game for a birthday party.
Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added four kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at Utterly Inexperienced, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.
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