Keep kids entertained and cool this summer with some creative water balloon games! Simple to set up…hours of summer fun!
Playing with water balloons is a classic and summertime activity for kids, but traditional water balloon fights can easily use up hundreds of balloons in just a few minutes…and often end in someone crying.
If you want to avoid tears and have your water balloons last more than 37 seconds, try some of these creative water balloon games for kids instead!
They’re low-prep, adaptable for a variety of ages and group sizes, and fun! Plus, they’re a great way to keep kids entertained and cool during the hot summer months. Play these games at your next neighborhood party, summer birthday party, or just an average Tuesday in your own backyard.
Here we go!
Water Balloon Games for Kids
1. Water Balloon Toss: Stand in pairs and toss a water balloon back and forth, taking a step back after each successful catch. Last pair left with an intact balloon wins!
2. Water Balloon Dodgeball: Play dodgeball using water balloons instead of balls. This one is a lot like a water balloon fight, but you can limit the chaos by giving each person a limited number of water balloons so they have to be a little more strategic with how they throw them.
3. Water Balloon Basketball (or basket toss): If you have a basketball hoop (a little kid one works great) have players stand behind a “free throw” line and see if they can make a basket. Don’t have a hoop? Just grab a laundry basket, bucket, or trash can and use that instead.
4. Water Balloon Spoon Race: Balance a water balloon on a spoon while racing to the finish line. If the balloon breaks and pops, go back to the beginning and try again! (This one is also good as a relay race.)
5. Paper Towel Tube Relay: Similar to the spoon race about, set up a relay race where the kids must balance a water balloon on the end of an empty paper towel tube.
6. Water Balloon Splash Contest: See who can create the biggest splash by dropping water balloons from a height. It’s also fun to see who can throw their balloon highest before letting it splatter on the ground.
7. Water Balloon Volleyball: Set up a net and play volleyball using a water balloon as the ball and have pairs of people hold a towel to catch and launch the balloons.
8. Heads Up: Have pairs of players stand a distance apart. One player holds a bucket (or better yet, a colander) on their head while the other player tries to toss water balloons into the bucket. The team who successfully catches the most water balloons without popping them wins!
9. Water Balloon Obstacle Course: Create an obstacle course where participants must navigate while carrying a water balloon.
10. Water Balloon Tower Building: Use water balloons to build towers, seeing who can make the tallest or most stable structure.
11. Water Balloon Ring Toss: For this super simple game, just have one person hold a hula hoop while another tries to toss their water balloon through. To make it harder, take a step back after each successful throw.
12. Water Balloon Target Practice: Instead of holding your hula hoop up in the air, place a hoop (or several of different sizes) on the ground and challenge players to toss water balloons into the hoop(s).
13. Water Balloon Leap Frog Race & Toss: Set up sports cones (or any other kind of marker) in a line. Have players work as pairs to move a water balloon from one end of the course to the other. The catch? They can’t run with the water balloon. Here’s how to do it. Person one runs to the first cone, and person two throws them a balloon from the starting line. Then person two runs to the second cone (running past the first person). Person one tosses the balloon to person two, and then runs to the third cone, and so on. Continue until the team reaches the last cone! If the team pops their balloon, have the person who dropped it race back to the start to pick up a new balloon (and then race back to pick up where they left off).
14. Human Conveyor Belt Race: This game works best with a bigger group (8+), but can be modified to work with fewer players. Divide players into two (or more) teams and have each team sit in a straight line (this is the conveyor belt). Race to pass water balloons down the line as quickly as possible, without dropping and breaking them. See which team can get the most into a bucket at the end of the line by the end of one minute. For an added challenge, space team members farther apart so they have to toss the balloons instead of just handing them to each other.
15. Back-to-back Race: Two players stand back-to-back and put a water balloon between their backs (interlace arms to stay together). In this position, the team must race across a set distance without allowing their balloon to drop or break. If it does pop, the team must return to the start line, pick up a new balloon, and try again.
16. Sit-n-splash Contest: Set up some (waterproof) chairs and place a water balloon on each one. Each player stands in front of a chair, and when you say “go” each player must try to pop the balloon as fast as possible by sitting on it. If you have a large group, you can do this tournament style, where the winners from each round advance to the next level.
17. Sit-n-splash Relay Race: Same as the game above, but this time make it a relay race where each person on the team has to race from the starting line to the chair, pop the balloon, and race back to tag the next person in line.
18. Frozen Water Balloon Ice Excavation: This one requires a little advance planning, but it’s so fun! Before filling your water balloons, place some small plastic toys (like little dinosaurs) inside them. Then fill with water, tie them off and place them in the freezer. Once frozen, remove the balloon, and you’ll be left with an ice “egg” full of toys waiting to be rescued! Invite kids to use warm water, plastic knives, medicine droppers, etc. to excavated the toys from the ice!
19. Water Balloon Hot Potato: Play this group game just like traditional hot potato, but whoever is holding the water balloon when the music stops must smash it over their head!
20. Under Over Race: Divide players into two (or more) teams and have each team stand in a straight line, facing the same direction. Race to pass water balloons down the line as quickly as possible, with the first person passing the balloon OVER their head, and the next person passing it UNDER their legs, etc. See which team can get the most into a bucket at the end of the line by the end of one minute.
21. Water Balloon Tag: Play a game of tag where the person who is “it” must hit others with a water balloon to tag them. For added fun (and chaos), play “infection tag” where those who get tagged become “it” as well and must try to hit others with water balloons.
Tip for Easy Clean Up:
When you’re done playing water balloon games (or you’ve run out of balloons), bring out some popsicles or another snack/treat of your choice! Invite kids to trade you 30 broken water balloons (or however many you think will get the job done) for their treat! It’s a great way to motivate kids to clean up and save yourself a LOT of work.
So grab your water balloons, turn on the sprinklers, and get ready for a summer full of wet, wild fun!
Want more ideas for summer fun with kids? Try these:
- How to beat the heat: 9 ice play activities for kids
- 5 tips to make summer fun for your family without burning yourself out
- Summer Plan for Fun: your simple guide to a fantastic summer at home
- Super easy 3-ingredient sidewalk chalk paint you can make in one minute!