The Best Water Games to Play This Summer
Editor’s Note: We know raising kids can be hard. That’s why we’re dedicated to making your life easier with the latest and greatest parenting advice and products. We wanted to let you know that if you chose to purchase one of the items featured in this post, we may receive a small commission for it.
What’s the best way to beat boredom, avoid screen time and cool down? Play some water games, of course! No need for pools or fancy equipment, just head outside to the yard and get busy having fun. Kids of all ages, and even adults, will enjoy getting in on the action with these wet ‘n wild games and outdoor activities.
It’s a good idea to keep a couple of materials on hand, but most of these games are low prep. These are perfect to throw together quickly when the “I’m bored...” phrase gets tossed around.
Slip ‘N Slide
What kid doesn’t love a slip ‘n slide? If you don’t have one, you can easily DIY your own. Grab a sturdy plastic table cloth or a plastic tarp and pin it to the ground. Add water, a little soap if you really want to fly, and see who goes the furthest! If it’s not a real slip ‘n slide, set up your yard sprinkler to keep the plastic covering nice and wet. Take turns seeing who can slide the furthest.
If you’re not this DIY type, we recommend the JOYIN 20ft x 62in Slip and Slide from Amazon.
Water Balloon Toss
The most classic of water balloon games. Grab some water balloons and pair them off. If you don’t have an even number of players, then take turns facing the winner. Toss a water balloon back and forth, take one step backward for every toss for an added challenge. See how many tosses you can make it, or how far apart you can get before ultimately someone gets soaked! Water balloons can provide hours of fun for kids of all ages.
We recommend quick-fill balloons that attach to your hose like this set from Amazon.
Pass the Water
Divide kids by teams and have them sit in a line, facing forward. At the front of the line have a bucket full of water and an empty plastic cup. The first player fills the cup and passes it backward over their head to the next player. Continue to pass the cup backward overhead from person to person until you get to the final player. The final player should have an empty bucket that they dump the contents of the cup into. Send the empty cup back to the front and start over again. The team that has the most water in the bucket at the end of the line by the end of the game wins! Set a timer so that players have to go quickly, but carefully so that they don’t spill too much water!
Water Gun Tag
Get ready for a good old-fashioned water gun fight! If you don’t have water guns, grab a couple of inexpensive plastic spray bottles for a similar effect. Split into two teams and try to “tag” each other by spraying player’s t-shirts. The team with the driest shirts at the end wins! Aim for shirts so you don’t get someone in the face, and you can easily tell who got sprayed the most when the game is over.
You can also play water fun hide and seek. Have one kid be 'it' while the other kids hide. When the kid who's 'it' finds any of the other players, they get a wet surprise.
Drip, Drip, Drop
This is a fun take on Duck, Duck, Goose. Sit everyone down in a circle while one player stands with a large cup of water. They will dip their fingers into the water and place a drip on everybody’s head. When they decide who to “goose”, they dump the cup of water on their head! Chase each other around the circle just like in Duck, Duck, Goose, and start all over again. Anticipation will definitely be high!
All you need for this game are four buckets and two extra-large sponges. Split players into two teams. Each team has one bucket full of water, one empty bucket, and one sponge. Place the buckets a few yards apart. The first player will dip their sponge into the bucket of water, race to the empty bucket, squeeze out their sponge, and race back to the original bucket. Once they make it back, the next player will start, resulting in a relay. The team with the most water in their previously empty bucket at the end wins!
Water Cup Race
Divide players into two even teams and have players stand side by side in a line. The person at the end of the line has a full cup of water, everyone else needs an empty plastic cup. Start the clock and then have the players carefully dump their cup of water into the empty cup of the player beside them. Continue down the line until the player at the end. Once you make it to the end of the line, the team with the most water in their last cup wins!
This game is a wet 'n wild take on limbo. Just take a hose and turn the water on full blast. Use the stream of water as the limbo stick. See who can limbo the lowest without getting wet. Once you feel a splash of water, you’re out until the next round!
Fill some water balloons of varying sizes and hang them with string from a tree branch, clothesline, or swing set. Same as a pinata, blindfold your child, give them a stick or wiffle ball bat, and let them swing away. Once they strike the “pinata” they’ll be in for a big surprise! Add this one to your list for easy summertime fun.
Water Obstacle Course
When it comes to backyard water games, an obstacle course is a great way to test dexterity. You can get really creative making an ultimate sprinkler with PVC pipe, a hose connector, and a drill to make holes. Some other obstacle ideas are to pour water down a swing set slide, crawl under pool noodles while getting splashed with the sprinkler, hopping through hula hoops, spraying targets with a squirt gun, flying down a slip ‘n slide, or playing a round of water balloon pinatas!
Roll out your plastic Twister mat (or purchase one on Amazon), add a sprinkler, and get ready to slip and slide! Play the same way you would the regular game, but the added challenge of a wet surface will be sure to spice up your summer activities.
If you have a kiddie pool, fill it with bubble bath and a few bath toys. Not only will your kiddos enjoy some outdoor water play, but it will save you bathtime later! Bubbles can turn a boring swimming pool into super fun activities for little ones without much effort or necessary supplies.
If you have a swing set in the backyard, or even just a plastic Little Tykes slide like this one, add a little water and it becomes a whole lot more fun. Put the slide into a kiddie pool for an epic splash landing! Most of the time water activities don’t have to be extravagant on a hot summer day to still be fun and exciting. Take turns seeing who slides the fastest or makes the biggest splash. Children who are waiting their turn can be the judges.
You can take classic outdoor games, like volleyball, and turn them into easy pool games, fun for the whole family. If you have a pool you can purchase inflatable nets from Amazon for a rousing game of pool volleyball.
If you don’t have a pool, set up the sprinkler and use the spray as the “net”. Hit the ball back and forth through the water. If you have younger kids who want to play, turn it into a game of kickball through the sprinkler instead. Kicking a ball is usually easier than learning how to bump or set a volleyball.
Water Bottle Flip
If you want to engage in some competitive summer games without getting soaked, try a water bottle flip challenge. Every player needs a partially filled water bottle that they will flip into the air and attempt to land right side up. The bottle must flip at least one full rotation. Set a timer and see how many flips each player can successfully land in order to be crowned the winner!
Looking for more water fun? Check out our list of the Best Water Toys for Kids This Summer.