Come summer, and children enjoy playing in the water all day. Our post brings you some exciting outdoor water games for kids to enjoy to the fullest. These activities can keep them entertained for long and limit their screen time as well. Also, it gives them a chance to step outside and hangout with their friends.
This curated list of games can be enjoyed in the backyard and keep the little ones cool and fresh during the hot days. Also, you need not require any special tools or supplies. All that they have to do is put on their swim clothes and jump into the water to have a wild time.
30 Water Games For Kids
Most of these water games for kids are easy to carry out. Are you ready to have lots of fun with your little one? Let’s go!
1. Slip ‘n slide
Who doesn’t like a good slip and slide? You just need a plastic tablecloth or a large tarpaulin sheet to make a slide. Spread the sheet in your backyard and pour lots of water on it, or you may also place the slide near a sprinkler and turn it on. Add some soap to the water to make it slippery. See who can slide the farthest without rolling off on the grass.
2. Water balloon pinata
Water balloon pinatas are great for summer birthday parties or gatherings. Tie several water balloons on a clothesline. Blindfold the players and ask them to hit the balloons using a bat. While playing this water game, you may get all drenched. Therefore, you may want to dress accordingly.
3. Water balloon toss
Water balloon toss guarantees hours of fun and would also keep you cool in summer. Divide players into pairs and give each pair a water balloon. They must toss the balloon between them. Every time they catch the balloon, each of them has to take a step backward. Continue until the balloon drops and drenches one of them. Sounds fun? Try it now!
4. Ice cube painting
Let your children create masterpieces by painting with ice. Make some colored ice using food colors and water. Then spread some butcher’s paper or even newspapers in your backyard. Let your children pick ice cubes in the colors of their choice and paint. Dry and display it in your living room later.
5. Ice mold excavation
Take some water in a glass, put a small toy in it, and freeze it. Demold the ice and give it to your children with some tools, such as spoons. You can also give them some salt. Now ask them to chip the ice away to reveal the hidden toy. This is an activity that your child may enjoy immensely.
6. Pass the water
This is a game that will drench everyone completely. To play this game, make your children stand in a line facing in one direction. Place a bucket of water and a plastic cup at the beginning of the line and an empty bucket at the end of the line. The first player has to fill the cup and pass it over their head to the next player. Continue until the cup reaches the last player, who has to now pour the water into the empty bucket from over their head. If there are many children, make teams and see which team fills the bucket with more water.
7. Water gun fight
This is a classic game that never fails to entertain and helps with the squirt gun target practice. Get some water guns or spray bottles for each player. Divide the players into teams and let the fight begin. Each team aims to spray water on the shirts of the opposite team members. The player with the driest shirt is the winner. Spraying water on the players’ shirts is to ensure that no one mistakenly sprays on the eyes of players. Also, it is easier to pick your winner.
8. Drip, drip, drop
This is a variation of ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’ and is sure to get everyone laughing. One player becomes ‘It,’ and the others sit down in a circle. The ‘It’ goes around the circle with a glass of water saying, “drip, drip…” and putting a drop of water on each player’s head by dipping their fingers in the water. Then they say “drop” over a player and pour the water on that player’s head. Now, this player has to get up and run around the circle trying to catch ‘It’ before the ‘It’ sits in their place.
9. Water relay
Play a game of water relay race by dividing the players into two teams. Place two buckets for each team at some distance. One bucket should be filled with water and the other should be empty. Give each team a large sponge. One player from each team should soak up as much water as the sponge can hold and run over to the empty bucket and squeeze the water into it. Return to the first bucket and give the sponge to the next player. The team with the maximum amount of water in the second bucket is the winner.
10. Water balloon relay
This is a silly game, but children may enjoy playing it. Divide the players into two teams. Fill up some water balloons and place them in two buckets, one for each team. Place two plastic chairs at some distance from the buckets. One player from each team has to pick a balloon, run to the chair, put the balloon on it, and sit on it until it bursts. They have to return and tag the next player. The team that bursts all or most balloons would be the winner.
11. Water bucket race
Give each player a bucket and a plastic cup. Place the buckets at a short distance away from the start line. Now, place a bucket full of water behind the players. The players have to fill the cup, run across to their bucket, and pour the water into it. The player with the maximum amount of water at the end of the race is the winner.
Draw target circles on the sidewalk and points all around them. Let the players stand behind a line and toss water balloons or large sponges soaked with water onto the targets. The wet patches will show where the balloons or the sponges hit. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.
13. Sponge bomb fight
Cut a sponge into thirds and join nine such pieces together using an elastic band. Dunk them in a bucket of water and make water sponges. Divide the players into teams and let them throw these sponge bombs across the lawn to hit each other. The player who remains unhit or least hit is the winner.
14. Roll 6 and splash
This is a fun game for children to get drenched and learn to wait for their turn as well. Place a shallow pan filled with water and have children sit around it in a circle. Give them a die. They must take turns in rolling the die. The player who rolls a six gets to put their hand in the pan and splash water on the others. Refill the pan at intervals. Splash! Splash!!
15. Water jump
Add a fun twist to the regular rope jumping with this game. Give your child a glass of water and ask them to jump over a skipping rope. Set the number of times they have to jump or set a time limit. The children must jump carefully to avoid spilling the water. In the end, the child with the most amount of water remaining in the glass would be the winner.
16. Sponge toss
Divide the players into two teams. Place one bucket with water on one side of the backyard and an empty bucket on another side. The players can stand anywhere between the two buckets. Once the game starts, they cannot change their positions. The first player must dunk a sponge in the water and pass it on to the next player, and so on, until the last player squeezes the water into the last bucket. Then they pass it back. The team that fills more water is the winner.
17. Sponge run
Fill a bucket with water and place it on one side of the backyard and an empty bucket on another side. Give each player a large sponge. They have to dunk their sponge in the water, place it on their head, and walk to the other bucket and wring the sponge in it. Children can hold the sponge while walking, while adults should try to walk without touching the sponge. Sounds fun?
18. Water transfer relay
Divide the players into two teams. Poke a few holes near the bottom of a plastic cup. Place a bucket with water on one side and an empty bucket on another side. One player from each team must fill the plastic cup with water, run to the empty bucket with the cup on their heads, and pour the water into it. Then they must return to the starting point and pass the empty cup to the next player. The team that fills the most water is the winner.
19. Water cup race
You will need a long string, a plastic cup, scissors, tape, and a water gun or spray can for this game. Punch a round hole at the bottom of the cup with scissors or any sharp object. Pass the string through the hole and attach the two ends of the string between two walls using tape. Spray water through the cup to make it race on the string. The player whose cup reaches from one end to the other first is the winner.
20. Human wash
Build a human equivalent of a car wash by arranging the hose at different angles. The children can race through the hose either by running or on their scooters. They will be thoroughly drenched. Get ready for a laughter riot as your children get splashed from many angles. You can substitute this for a shower too.
21. Frozen t-shirt
This is a perfect game for the summer. Soak some t-shirts, wring them out, and fold them. Place baking sheets between each t-shirt and freeze them the night before the game. Give each player a t-shirt, and ask them to wear it as fast as they can. The player who manages to wear it correctly in the shortest time is the winner.
22. Tipsy waiter
This is a new addition to the world of water games, and it is super fun to play. Divide the players into teams. Place an empty bucket at the end of the game zone for each team. Fill some glasses with water and place them on a tray.
One player from each team must spin on the spot eight times. Next, the players must pick up the tray with water glasses and walk toward their bucket and empty the glasses into it. The other players may fill the next set of glasses until they return. Take turns to spin and fill the buckets. The first team to fill their bucket is the winner.
23. Water limbo
This game is a fantastic wet twist on limbo. Use a hose for this game. Turn on the water at full blast and hold it at a height. The players must pass underneath it. Lower the hose by a foot or so and have the players repeat the process. The player who manages to get the lowest without getting drenched is the winner.
24. Backyard bath
Children who hate regular baths may enjoy bubble baths. Take an inflatable pool to your backyard and fill it with their favorite bubble bath body wash and water. Throw in a couple of their favorite toys as well. When your children have had their fill, hose them down to remove all the soapsuds. This activity is great fun for them, and you can substitute it for their regular bath. Wink, wink!
25. Water twister
This is the classic game of twister played with water. Make your own Twister game on a tarp and spread it in your backyard near the sprinklers. Turn the sprinklers on when you play the game. With so much water, this game gets a lot crazier.
26. Water bottle toss
This game is similar to sponge toss. All you have to use are some empty plastic bottles for this game. Place a bucket at one end of the backyard. The players can stand anywhere in the backyard, but they cannot move once the game begins. The first player fills the bottle up with water from a hose and tosses it to the next player without putting its lid on. This continues until the last player catches the bottle and empties it into the mug. If there are multiple teams, see which team manages to fill more water in their bucket.
27. Toe fishing
Fill an inflatable pool with water and put small toys and trinkets in it. The players have to fish out the objects using their toes. You can add a bubble bath to the water and make the game a lot more entertaining. The player who manages to fish out the most items is the winner. Apart from being an entertaining game, it is an excellent way to develop your child’s motor skills.
A variation of this game is ‘Go Fish.’ Meagan, a stay-at-home mother of two, recounts the enjoyable experience of transforming a simple water and ice cube play into a fishing game with her son and daughter. She shares, “We happen to have a silicone ice cube tray shaped like fish, but you certainly do not need the ice to look like fish. I added a little food coloring to water and poured it into the ice cube tray.
“I filled up a large bin with cold water and dumped the fish in. Go Fish! The munchkins grabbed their fishing gear and dove right in! The colored ice did come in handy with teaching Mr. B (son) his colors. We would ask him to find the purple fish or the blue fish. So, it was a fun learning experience for him. Little Miss (daughter) tried to make her own little fish bowl. She kept asking why the fish were “getting smaller”. We talked about the ice melting and turning into water. So, it was also a great learning experience for her (i).”
28. Water balloon dodgeball
You must have played regular dodgeball at some point. Water balloon dodgeball takes fun to the next level. Divide the players into two teams. The players of one team stand in a circle, while the other team players stand in the center of the circle. Provide the first team with ample water balloons. They should throw the balloons on the players of the opposite team who try to dodge them while staying within the circle. When all the players in the circle are drenched, the players change spots.
29. Water volleyball
Volleyball gets a funnier twist when you add water to it. When you know that the ball could burst at any time and drench you, you will have lots of fun. Set up a net in your backyard and keep several water balloons ready. Toss the balloons one after another over the net towards the other team just as you do in volleyball.
30. Pass the water parcel
Keep some water balloons ready and ask the players to sit in a circle. When the music starts, a player picks up a balloon and passes it to the next player. The players keep passing the water balloon until the music stops. The player holding the balloon has to pop the balloon over their head and is out of the game. The last player to remain in the game wins.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are some of the benefits of outdoor water games for children?
Apart from keeping children busy and away from screens, the other benefits of outdoor water games for children include improved hand-eye coordination and body control, increased concentration and focus, encouraged physical fitness, and enhanced gross motor skills. Additionally, outdoor water games can allow children to socialize and communicate with others. Moreover, you can also include water games that teach mathematical and scientific concepts to make this fun time educational for children.
2. How can I make water games more challenging for children?
As per the children’s age, maturity levels, and skills, you can increase the difficulty level of the water games. You may add a time limit and more tasks, and also a competitive element to make the session more challenging and engaging.
3. Do I need a swimming pool to play outdoor water games?
No, while some water games like water volleyball may require a swimming pool, there are many water games that can easily be played in the backyard using bucket water, water guns, water balloons, and ice.
4. Are there any water games where children can learn important survival skills?
Yes, from simile swimming races to water safety relays and water obstacle courses incorporate abilities such as swimming, patience, endurance, collaboration, and teamwork, which are considered important survival skills.
5. How can parents encourage their children to participate in outdoor water games?
By getting involved in these water games personally with them, choosing games as per their interest, calling over their friends, and including rewards and other fun elements, you may encourage your kids to participate.
6. What are some of the most important safety rules for children when playing outdoor water games?
When children are playing outdoor water games, make sure to have adult supervision at all times, do not let them be wet for a long time, and make certain rules, such as wearing safety gear and avoiding running or pushing each other near water.
These ideas on outdoor water games for kids will make the most out of tour child’s summer days. Not only on weekends or vacations, but you could also arrange for the games and activities on your child’s birthdays or play dates and take the fun up a notch. These activities require minimal supplies, and you can easily set them up in your backyard and have a fun time for the little ones. However, ensure that you dry them properly after playing in the water so that they do not catch a cold, cough, or fever.
Infographic: Water Games For Children
Are you planning to host a splash party, invite your child’s friends over for a play date, or just want to have some fun family time? If yes, check out our list of fun water games to help your child have a great time with friends and family.
- Outdoor games help children explore nature and improve their physical and social skills.
- Water balloon toss or water balloon pinata can help cool your child during the hot summer months.
- Water gun fight, sponge bomb fight, and other interesting games have been listed below.
Let the kids have some fun in the sun with these 9 awesome outdoor water games! Perfect for summer days and backyard parties.
Personal Experience: Source
i. Go fish water play!
- The Benefits of Water Play for Childhood Development.