When summer comes around and it gets hot, our thoughts naturally turn towards new ways to cool off. Refreshing salads, cool showers, and ice-cold drinks are some great ways to beat the summer heat. There are lots of fun outdoor water games for kids that help your young ones enjoy time outside, without getting too warm.
No yard? No problem! Bring a couple games to a Millenia park, or check out the interactive fountain at Stylus Park. It’s perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day.
1. Homemade Slip ‘n Slide
Every kid loves a water slide, and it’s easy to put together! All you need is:
- A plastic tarp
- Landscape anchor pins
- A garden hose
Secure the tarp to the ground with the pins, and run the hose at one end so the water runs down the tarp. If you have a sprinkler head, you can attach it to the hose to create a shower effect along the tarp. Then get to playing! Add some liquid soap or detergent to make it extra slippery.
2. Pool Noodle Sprinkler
Most kids love to play under a sprinkler on a hot summer day. If you have garden hose, you can turn the sprinkler-factor up to 11 with a pool noodle, a skewer, and some duct tape.
Start by cutting off one end of the pool noodle. Then cut the cut-off piece into four smaller pieces, and use them to fill in the cut end of the noodle. Finally, use duct tape to keep those pieces in place and make sure end of the noodle stays fully shut. This prevents all the water from spraying out the end of the noodle.
Next, use the skewer to poke holes in the length of the pool noodle. You can poke holes all over the noodle, but the more holes you make, the shorter the streams of water will be. Start with one or two rows of holes, then adjust after testing with the hose. You can always make more holes if you like.
Once you’ve finished making holes, stick the hose into the open end of the noodle. Use duct tape to temporarily hold the hose in place.
Lie the noodle down flat on the ground, and turn the hose on.
3. Water Balloon Toss
The simplest water balloon game you can play is to toss them! And all you need is to fill some balloons with water.
To play, split off into pairs. Each pair throws a water balloon back and forth to each other. Each time they complete a back-and-forth, each player in the pair takes a step backwards, getting further and further away from each other over time. The game continues until the balloon break and then starts again from the beginning.
4. Water Balloon Piñatas
Fill up several big balloons with water, and knot them to close. Use short pieces of string to tie each balloon to a clothesline, tree branch, or other horizontal support that’s elevated off the ground. Let the kids take turns with a Wiffle® Ball bat or similar item to try and hit the balloons while blindfolded—so that breaking a balloon provides a refreshing burst of cold water!
5. Water Balloon Relay Race
Designate a starting line on one side of the yard, and then place two chairs at the other end. Fill up water balloons, and split them into two piles at the starting line. Finally, split the kids into two teams. To run this race, each player in turn grabs a water balloon, runs to their team’s chair, and sits on their balloon until it pops. Then they run back to their team and tag the next person. The winning team is the first to pop all their balloons.
6. Water Balloon Baseball
To play this game, you’ll need at least four players, along with:
- Several dozen water balloons filled with water
- A Wiffle Ball bat
- A basketball
- A garbage can
- Two items to serve as bases
Place the two bases at either end of the yard, and place the garbage can behind home base. Then designate a “shooting line.” This line represents how far away the fielding players have to be to attempt to shoot a basket using the basketball.
To play, separate into two teams. The game proceeds like a normal baseball game except that water balloons are thrown in place of the ball. When a batter hits their balloon, they run from home base to second base and then back to home. Meanwhile, an opposing team player tries to land the basketball into the garbage can, bearing in mind they must be at or behind the shooting line to make the attempt.
If the batter gets back to home base before the opposing team lands a basket, they get a point and another shot at hitting a water balloon. If the opposing team lands the basket first, they get a point, and the batter is out.
7. Sprinkler Twister
If you have the Twister® game and a hose and sprinkler, this game is a blast for both kids and adults to play! Follow the rules of Twister, but with the sprinkler directed at the plastic mat to make things interesting. For an extra-challenging game, pour a little liquid soap or detergent onto the mat!
8. Roll 6 and Splash!
For this game, you need a shallow pan or tray and one dice. It’s also useful to have a bucket of water handy to refill the pan.
To play, have the kids sit in a circle. Put the pan in the center, then fill it with water. Players take turns rolling the dice until someone rolls a six. That person then gets to slap their hand into the pan of water and splash all the other players. Refill the pan after each splash, and play until everyone’s had at least one turn at splashing.
9. Spray Tag
Tag is always fun, but in the summer heat, playing a modified version is even better. Grab a clean spray-bottle, and fill it up with cold water and a few ice cubes, if they fit. Play the game as normal, by choosing someone to be “It”. Then, instead of It touching someone else to tag them, they spray with water instead!
10. Sponge Race
Grab a bucket, and fill it up with water. Place it on the ground, along with several sponges—one for each kid who plays the game. Nearby, place some smaller containers. Then challenge the kids to each use a sponge to fill up a container with water as a race. The winner is the one who fills their container first, using their sponge to transfer water from the bucket to their container.
11. Take a Bath Outside
Make the most of the warm weather by bathing babies or toddlers outdoors. Even if they’re too young to enjoy outdoor water activities with the older kids, they can still have fun splashing in cool water while you supervise. After they’ve had a chance to play in the kiddie or inflatable pool, you can finish up indoors with their normal bath routine.
12. Flavor-Guessing Competition
Keeping kids hydrated is important once the weather starts getting hot, but sometimes it’s hard to get them to slow down long enough to encourage them to drink water. Make it a fun habit with this simple competition idea. Pour several glasses of water, and flavor each one with something different. For instance, use cucumber slices, different kinds of berries, crushed mint leaves, and other natural flavors.
To play the game, each child wears a blindfold, then tastes each glass of water, making a guess about the different flavors. The winner is the person whose guesses are the most accurate.
Check Out the Water Fountain Park at Stylus, Stay Cool, and Have Fun This Summer!
Playing outside during the summer months usually means kids get hot quickly. These outdoor water games for kids will help them cool down and have fun at the same time. You can do them in a yard (Check out other yard games here.), or bring some to the park! Did you know that Stylus Park has an awesome water fountain park? It’s perfect for dashing through for a game of tag or just hanging out for a while and cooling off.