25+ Fun Water Games And Activities For Kids To Play

Children love to jump, splash, and dive in the water during summer to beat the heat. So, here’s our list of water games for kids that are exciting and let them have the time of their lives. While it’s possible to visit the nearest water park for some great fun in groups, it’s also possible to have fun in your backyard. From water sprays to water balloons, many exciting water toys are available for a fun playtime with friends and siblings. So, go through the available options to choose a suitable game for your children.

In This Article

25+ Water Games Your Children Will Enjoy

1. Water relay

Image: Shutterstock

Your children wouldn’t want to miss this game with water.

You will need:

  • Water buckets
  • Bottles or plastic cups
  • Whistle

How to play:

  1. Divide the kids into teams.
  2. Fill one bucket for each team.
  3. Decide a start line where the buckets filled with water will be kept.
  4. Mark the end line at a distance from the start line. Place empty buckets at the end line.
  5. Put the bottles in the buckets of water.
  6. On blowing the whistle, the kids will run to scoop out as much water as they can in their bottles and run towards the end line.
  7. The kids need to deposit the water in the bucket on the end line, run back to the start and pass the bottle to the next team member.
  8. The team that fills up their end bucket first is the winner.

2. Balloons in the pool:

Image: IStock

Balloons, color, and foam are a no-fail trick to make kids happy.

You will need:

  • A kiddie pool
  • Water balloons of two colors
  • Color
  • Timer
  • Foam

How to play:

  1. Divide the kids into two teams.
  2. Two players from each team will participate at once.
  3. Fill up the kiddie pool with water and put a dozen small water balloons in it.
  4. Each team will have to collect balloons with one specific color.
  5. You can also add color and some foam in the water to make it a little difficult.
  6. Kids have to get in and pick out as many of the small balloons as they can within 30 seconds.
  7. Whoever picks up the most number of balloons first wins.

3. Water balloon pinata:

Image: IStock

Play this to find out how many balloons one can explode without seeing!

You will need:

  • Water balloons
  • Clothesline or rope
  • Blindfolds
  • Timer

How to play:

  1. Divide the children into two teams.
  2. Fill up the water balloons in half.
  3. Hang seven such balloons on the clothesline.
  4. One blindfolded player from each team will aim to burst all the balloons with a stick in two minutes.
  5. It is not going to be easy as the balloons are filled with water.
  6. The team that pops the most is the winner.

4. Wet bomb tag

Image: IStock

Tag games are always fun. But water adds more joy to it. This is an ideal outdoor water game.

You will need:

  • A timer
  • Water balloons

How to play:

  1. Mark an area where the players will run. Whoever steps out of the line is disqualified.
  2. Choose one player as the “it” who will aim the wet bomb (water balloon) on the other players.
  3. When the ‘it’ aims the bomb at the players, the players can run in any direction but within the boundary.
  4. Whoever gets hit with the bomb becomes the next ‘it’ or thrower.
  5. Remember, only hitting a player won’t make him/her the ‘it’. The balloon must pop.

5. Balloon and music

Image: IStock

Water balloons need not always be splashed. Play it with a twist.

You will need:

  • Water balloons
  • Phone/ Bluetooth speakers

How to play:

  1. Make the kids stand across.
  2. One player has to volunteer to play music. You can play music on the phone or Bluetooth speakers.
  3. Give a water balloon to the person who stands first.
  4. Play music and the players have to pass the balloon to the next player. This will continue as long as the music plays.
  5. When the music stops, the person holding the balloon goes out and bursts the balloon on themselves.

6. Slip and slide

Image: IStock

Hear your kids splashing in the water and roaring with laughter.

You will need:

  • Tarp cloth
  • Stakes
  • Hosepipe

How to play:

  1. Choose a sliding ground in the backyard or garden.
  2. Place a tarp and stake it about every 4 feet
  3. Start running the water with a hosepipe in full speed.
  4. Let your kids slide away in the water.

7. Water limbo

Image: Shutterstock

All you need is a bunch of kids willing to get drenched happily.

You will need:

  • Garden hose
  • Whistle

How to play:

  1. The players will run at the mark of the whistle. Turn on the running stream of water.
  2. The players have to run without getting wet.
  3. With each round, make the stream lower and lower so the kids have to twist and move hard to stay dry.
  4. Because there is no boundary line the stream can be aimed at any direction.
  5. The player who gets wet stands disqualified from that round. The game will be on until only one child is left dry.
  6. Alternatively, you can start with the stream of water low and then keep raising it so the kids have to jump up to avoid getting wet.

8. Water balloon treasure

Image: Shutterstock

Who wouldn’t love a treasure after a pop?

You will need:

  • Water balloons
  • Color(optional)

How to play:

  1. Blow up the balloon and then put an object inside it.
  2.  The object/treasure can be anything from chocolates to small trinkets that your kids love.
  3. You can also add some coloring in the water with which you are filling the balloons. That will make it difficult to see through the balloon.
  4. Keep all the balloons in a bucket.
  5. Whoever bursts the most number of balloons and collects the trinkets is the winner and he/she gets to keep the trinkets too.

9. Ice cube painting

Image: Shutterstock

One of the best water games is undoubtedly painting with cubes of colored ice.

You will need:

  • Ice cubes
  • Watercolor
  • Paper/ fabric

How to play:

  1. Take a few ice cube trays and fill them up with water.
  2. Add a few drops of watercolor on them and stir well.
  3. Put the ice trays in the freezer overnight.
  4. Now, hand the ice cubes to the kids for creating unique art.
  5. You can use paper or fabric for the drawings. Fabric will hold the colors better.
  6. As the ice starts to melt, kids will be able to draw designs out of their imagination.

10. Sponge toss

Image: IStock

Sponge toss is another fun way of playing water relay. It’s great for hand-eye coordination and teamwork skills.

You will need:

  • Sponges
  • 4 buckets – 2 for each team

How to play:

  1. Divide the kids into two teams, standing arm’s distance apart.
  2. At one end, keep a bucket full of water.
  3. At another end, keep an empty bucket.
  4. Give a sponge to the player standing in the front of the line.
  5. He/she has to wet the sponge in the water and pass it on behind the line to the other players.
  6. Each player will throw the sponge over the head of the other player.
  7. The last player will squeeze the sponge and pour water into the empty bucket.
  8. Whichever team fills their bucket first wins.

11. Frozen toe

Image: IStock

The frozen toe is not only fun but also a challenging game that brings confidence and joy to your child.

You will need:

  • Kiddie pool
  • Ice cubes
  • 2 buckets
  • A whistle
  • A timer

How to play:

  1. Have the children sit on the edge of the kiddie pool and give each of them an empty bucket.
  2. Fill the kiddie pool with water, and throw in a big pile of ice cubes.
  3. Set a time for a game, say 30 to 45 seconds.
  4. On blowing the whistle, the kids have to pick up as many ice cubes as possible into their individual buckets.
  5. The twist is, they can collect the cubes only with their toes.
  6. The player, who collects the most within a given time, is the winner.

12. Catch water bombs

Image: IStock

Throw, pop and you win the game!

You will need:

  • Water balloons

How to play:

  1. Have the kids stand in a circle or across.
  2. A water balloon is passed around from one player to another.
  3. The balloon cannot be passed in a circle but needs to be thrown to one another.
  4. If a player fails to catch it, or bursts it, he or she is out.
  5. However, if a player throws it hard intentionally so that it explodes, that player will be out.
  6. The game will get more exciting if the circle is wider and bigger.
  7. The game will continue until only one ‘dry’ player is left.

13. Water bomb target

Image: IStock

Get ready for some real splash fights with water bombs.

You will need:

  • Materials for the targets
  • Water balloons
  • Markers

How to play:

  1. Hang up targets on trees or poles in the playground.
  2. Hang some targets nearby and some more at a distance.
  3. You can make the targets out of anything – cardboard, paper plates or pie pans.
  4. Assign points to the targets depending on their position, using the marker.
  5. You can assign 5 points to the nearer ones, and 10 to the distant ones.
  6. Now, divide the players into teams and give them their share of water balloons.
  7. The players need to aim and hit their targets with the balloons to earn points for their teams.
  8. The team with the highest score wins.

14. Don’t get wet

Image: Shutterstock

After the game, turn the sprinklers on to let the kids.

You will need:

  • Sprinklers
  • Whistle

How to play:

  1. Mark a start and finish line and set up a number of sprinklers between them.
  2. This game has to be played in pairs.
  3. On the mark of the whistle, the kids have to run from the start to the finish without getting wet.
  4. One kid from the other team or an adult will control the faucet turning it on and off randomly.
  5. The one who gets wet before making it to the finishing line gets eliminated.

15. Red light green light with sprinkler

Image: Shutterstock

This is a fun variation of the red light green light game, with a sprinkler added.

You will need:

  • A sprinkler

How to play:

  1. Have one player stand at one far corner of the yard as the caller.
  2. The rest of the players will line up on the opposite side of the yard.
  3. Set up a sprinkler in between the yard and turn it on.
  4. The caller will turn his or her back and shout “green light”.
  5. On that note, the kids will move across the garden to reach the caller before he/she turns around and shouts “red light”.
  6. If the caller calls out “red light,” the players will have to freeze where they are.
  7. If they fail to, he/she will have to go back to the starting line.
  8. Whoever tags the caller first wins and becomes the next caller.
  9. The sprinkler adds loads of fun because the players never know when the caller will turn back, and they might be just in the middle of the sprinkler and soak themselves.

16. Sharks and minnows

Image: IStock

Play this game and watch the sharks hunt their minnows down.

You will need:

  • Sprinklers

How to play:

  1. Make the players line up on one side of the garden. They will be the minnows.
  2. One player will be the shark and will stand in the middle of the garden.
  3. Set up a sprinkler in such a way that it will wet the players.
  4. The shark calls out to the players to swim across and the minnows run across the other side of the garden before they get tagged by the shark.
  5. If a player is tagged by the shark, he/she will be out of the game.
  6. The sprinkler too is a shark; so if a player gets sprayed, they become a shark too.
  7. The last minnow standing is the winner.

17. A chance bottle

Image: IStock

Whether one wins or gets splashed it’s going to be fun for all.

You will need:

  • Plastic bottles/ dixie cups

How to play:

  1. Keep a line of plastic bottles on a table. You may also use dixie cups.
  2. Fill half of the bottles/cups with water and leave the rest empty.
  3. Now mix them up so that the players don’t get to see the bottles.
  4. Each player takes turns to guess and choose a bottle with their eyes closed. You may also blindfold them.
  5. Once the player has chosen the bottle, he/she has to dump the contents on their head.
  6. If it is a filled bottle, they will be wet. If not, they continue to the next round.
  7. The kid who stands dry for the longest time wins.

18. Water windmill

Image: IStock

This game can be played anywhere from your backyard to the beach.

You will need:

  • A pail
  • A timer

How to play:

  1. Take a child’s pail (that has a handle) and fill it half with water.
  2. Have the kid hold the pail in one hand.
  3. The players will perform individually, and they will be timed.
  4. Keeping the arms stretched, the player has to swing the pail around in a circle.
  5. The goal is to swing without spilling any water, while the pail moves like a windmill.
  6. You can decide how many times the windmill should go around before the next round, and time them.
  7. The player who has the most water left at the end of the game is the winner.

19. Blindfold maze

Image: IStock

This game will teach your kid to coordinate and play in a team while enjoying themselves.

You will need:

  • Squirt gun

How to play:

  1. Divide the kids into two teams.
  2. In each round, two players will volunteer for the game.
  3. One of the players will stand in front with a water gun with the eyes closed. If the player opens the eyes, he/she stands disqualified.
  4. The player behind will have his/her eyes open.
  5. The players of the opponent team will be moving across the ground.
  6. The player with eyes closed has to tag them while listening to the instructions of his/her partner.

20. Duck Splash

Image: Shutterstock

This game is played with an amusing twist to the regular duck goose game.

You will need:

  • A bucket full of water

How to play:

  1. Make the children stand or sit in a circle.
  2. One of the players will be the It who will walk full circle tapping each player on the head, saying ‘duck’ every time until It decides to tap and call someone ‘goose’.
  3. As It chooses the goose, he/she drops a bucket of water on the player to drench them.
  4. The player who becomes the goose runs after It, trying to tag him/her before It can go back to his seat.
  5. If the player is unable to catch It, he/she becomes the next It.

21. Drop or pop

Image: Shutterstock

Drop it or pop it, fun is all yours.

You will need:

  • Water balloons

How to play:

  1. Mark a starting line and a finish line.
  2. On ‘go,’ the kids start running towards the finish line while tossing the balloons with their hands.
  3. At no point can a player walk or slow down.
  4. Whoever drops the balloon or pops it, stands eliminated.
  5. The player, who makes it to the finish line first without dropping the balloon, wins.

22. Balloon spoon race

Image: IStock

A regular game with a fun twist is worth a try.

You will need:

  • Spoons
  • Water balloons

How to play:

  1. Give each player a spoon to hold in their mouth.
  2. Place a water balloon on the spoons and let the race begin.
  3. Allow 1 minute to the players to make it to the finish line.
  4. Whoever reaches the finish point the fastest without dropping their balloon wins.

23. Water balloon dodgeball

Image: IStock

You will need:

How to play:

  1. Fill up some water balloons and keep them in a bucket in the middle of your garden.
  2. Use bigger balloons for this game as they do not pop easily when thrown.
  3. You can divide the backyard using tape or by drawing a line, keeping the bucket in the middle o f the line.
  4. Divide the players into two teams or into two players per round.
  5. On ‘go,’ the players will have to throw water balloons at each other from their side.
  6. Whoever gets hit, or whoever pops their balloon is out.
  7. If a player catches a balloon thrown at him/her, the player, who threw it is out.
  8. When that happens, the player who caught the water balloon can bring a player from their team back to the game.

24. Race like a dolphin

Image: Shutterstock

This game is especially for kids who love the swimming pool. Play this game in the shallow end of the pool with kids.

You will need:

  • Beach balls
  • Swimming costumes for each kid

How to play:

  1. Divide the kids into teams.
  2. The first player from each team will swim down and back the length of the pool.
  3. While doing so, they have to push the ball with their forehead or noses.
  4. If they touch the ball with their hands or any other part of the body, they need to go back to the starting line.
  5. The player who comes next has to do it the same way until one team stands as the winner.

25. Pool goals

Image: Shutterstock

Watch your kids score goals in this water game.

You will need:

  • Pool noodles
  • Beach balls
  • Basketball hoop

How to play:

  1. Divide the kids into two equal teams.
  2. Set up hoops for each team on the opposite sides of the pool.
  3. Players can use only their noodles to hit the ball into the goal of the other team.
  4. One goal gives 5 points to the players.
  5. Play up to 20 points for one round to finish.
  6. The player, who makes the maximum number of hits, wins the game.

26. Water balloon volleyball

You will need:

  • Two players on each team with a beach towel
  • Water balloons
  • A volleyball net

How to play:

  1. Children team up in pairs, each with one beach towel and a good supply of water balloons.
  2. Each pair uses a beach towel to catch and toss the water balloon. They hold the short ends of the towel, spreading it out between them.
  3. One pair places a water balloon on their towel and then quickly lifts their hands to pop it toward another pair.
  4. The receiving pair tries to catch the balloon in their towel without letting it pop.
  5. For more players, you can set up a volleyball game with an even number of pairs on each side of the net. The aim is to land the balloon on the opposing team’s side.
  6. A team scores a point if the balloon lands, pops, or is tossed out of bounds on the opposing team’s side.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do kids like playing in the water?

Children like playing in the water as it is fun and gives them a sense of freedom. Getting wet, splashing water, and squeezing through mud fascinates them. Also, water play is calming and can stimulate their senses. It also strengthens their fine and gross motor skillsiXAbilities that let us do tasks where one needs to engage the large muscles in the legs, arms, and torso .

2. Is water play sensory play for kids?

Yes, waterplay provides sensory stimulationiXActivation of one or more of the body’s primary senses, such as sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch for kids. Water play can stimulate all senses such as taste, touch, hearing, smell, and sight. Water play also helps proprioceptioniXA sense of the body’s position, movement, and orientation in space, also referred to as the sixth sense and stimulates the vestibular systemiXA sensory system responsible for coordinated movement, partial orientation, and balance (1). You can add scented herbs, flavored oils, flowers, ice, and other natural materials to enhance the sensory experience, just like blogger mom Gemma Paul from the UK did when her children engaged in some fun water playtime. She says, “We love to play with water outside in the summer and indoors in the winter. My children spend hours, splashing, pouring and scooping the water into and out of recycled containers, bottles and tubs… I find that warm water (make sure it’s mild and not too hot) brings out the smell and scent of citrus fruit more strongly than cold water does. Lemon, lime and orange slices all add bright splashes of color, flavor and scent to water play (i).”

3. What are the benefits of water activities?

  • Physical fitness: Water sports and activities like swimming help improve cardiovascular fitness and strength.
  • Coordination and balance: Water activities require children to use their whole body to float and move through the water. This helps improve coordination, balance, and fine and gross motor skills.
  • Confidence and self-esteem: Learning to swim or participate in watersports and aquatic activities can give children a sense of accomplishment and boost their confidence.
  • Safety: Knowing how to swim and being familiar with water safety can be a lifesaving skill.
  • Stress relief: Water activities can be a fun and relaxing way for children to unwind and de-stress.
  • Socialization: Many water activities, such as swimming classes or team sports, are done in groups. This can help children develop social skills and learn teamwork.

Children love visiting water parks and being surrounded by the refreshing sight of a flowing river or lake. So arranging some great water games for kids in your backyard could be fun. They are a great way of entertaining children while beating the heat. You can easily set up the place with a few buckets, plastic bottles, water balloons, tarp cloth, an inflatable kid’s pool, and hose pipes. Select the games from the list provided or create others with some twists. However, ensure the surroundings are safe, and the children are always under adult supervision while they play.

Infographic: Cool And Exciting Water Games For Children

Splashing in the water can get children all excited and happy. So, this summer, try adding some fun water activities that are easy to set in your backyard. To help you with that, we bring you a list of fun water games your children will love and enjoy.

backyard water games for your children final (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Playing and splashing in water during summer is the perfect way to beat the heat.
  • Playing in the water gives children a sense of freedom, calms them, stimulates their senses, and strengthens their fine and gross motor skills.
  • Water parks are a great option, but you can also have fun in your backyard.
  • Set up water games in your backyard using buckets, plastic bottles, water balloons, tarp cloth, an inflatable kid’s pool, and hose pipes.

Bring the fun of water play indoors and outdoors with these 10 easy ideas! Get creative and explore the possibilities of water play with your kids.

Personal Experience: Source

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Water Play: The Ultimate Sensory Experience for Kids
    https://napacenter.org/water-play/
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