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20+ Backyard Water Games That Are Incredibly Fun!

WooHoo! More backyard water fun ideas. This time it is all about backyard water games.

I was thinking back to when we used to spend a lot of time out in the yard and what types of games we played and I came up with a lot.

These are actual games to play, not just activities with water.

Looking for some fun summer play ideas you can do in your own backyard? Try these water games. Kids will keep cool, get exercise and have a blast!

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a small amount, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. All opinions are my own and I share things I think would be of interest to boys.

These games will give you a lot of neat ways to cool off on hot summer days.

Backyard Water Games

The object of the games? To get wet, cool off, have fun and make lasting memories with your kids! 🙂

Let’s get to them, shall we?

You do not want to miss these water games! There are more than 20 to choose from and you know we had to include water balloon games too because . . . they are way fun!

Water Balloon Games

Water Whack Pinata

Grab water balloons and hang them from a tree, on a pole, or on a playset and let kids whack them. You also need some sort of stick or pole to hit them with.

I recommend using different colored balloons for each child.

You can ask a question or have them do some sort of challenge before they get to go try to break each balloon.

Set the game up ahead of time and be sure to have plenty of extra water balloons ready.  Your kids will get love this!

Water Balloon Jousting

Grab some pool noodles, or if you don’t have those use long cardboard tubes or make a jousting stick and see who can knock the balloon down, jousting style.

Players stand at two different ends of the yard. Someone tapes the balloon to a pole and stands in the center of the two players.

Next, both run toward the balloon with jousting “poles” before them and they try to knock the balloon down.

They must hit the balloon as they are running past since they are suppose to be on horses! If no one knocks it down, they start again from the other end of the battle field.

Baseball Balloon Blast

Kids of any age will love water balloon baseball toss.

Grab a big plastic bat and a bucket full of water balloons. You get the picture!

The pitcher sends the water balloons flying and the batter has to try to hit them. Of course everyone will end up dripping wet.

It is a good idea to have a catcher in case the water balloon goes past the batter. He can try to save the water balloons from breaking on the ground, though he may end up getting wet himself.

Sprung a Leak

Sprung a leak is played by putting a tiny hole in the water balloon.

You want to toss the balloon around in a circle. Go quickly as you don’t want to be the one left holding the empty balloon.

BTW boys find this one exceptionally funny because of the other aspect to the word leak.

Grab the squirt bottles! It is time to play some easy squirt bottle games. The kids will be laughing and enjoying themselves in no time. (Part of more than 20 water games!)

Spray Bottle Games

Freeze Tag Flood

You need as many spray bottles as you have kids playing the game.

Play freeze tag but with spray bottles.

One player is “it” and chases the other players trying to freeze them with his freeze spray.

The player who gets sprayed is “frozen” until another non-frozen player sprays him and he is off to run away again.

The player who is it must freeze all the players to win. Once that happens a new person is chose to be it.

Float It Out!

This one is super fun. Grab a bunch of cups.  I think clear is best because you can see how much water is in the cup but you can just use whatever you have on hand.

Put something that floats in the cup. You could use corks or ping pong balls.

Player one holds the cup. Player two must spray from a few steps back to try to get enough water in the cup to get the item to float out of the cup and drop on the ground.

Can be played with a group of kids or even with just two. Lots of laughter and few stray oops sprays are bound to happen.

Fill ‘Er Up!

In this game players pick someone to be it. That person holds a bucket.

Set the timer for 5 minutes.

All players try to get as much water as possible into the bucket with the person who is it trying to move the bucket to block their water sprays (older kids can try this one with water guns as well.)

The person holding the bucket must have the opening of the bucket unblocked and in front of them at all times but they can move it around.

They also have to be careful not to spill a bunch of water out or they are disqualified. Put a piece of masking tape (after drying outside) or mark with a sharpie to indicate person’s initial and how far up on the bucket the water was.

Person with the least amount in their bucket wins.

Squirt Me Now!

This one is a hoot. You will need blindfolds (bandanas work great) and squirt bottles.

One person is blindfolded, the other is not. The blindfolded player has a squirt bottle.

Spin the blindfolded player around and have him start walking a few steps.  The other player says stop and then needs to give directions to the player with the squirt bottle to get them coming in their direction.

They need to tell them where to point the spray bottle in order to spray them.  Start at the feet, then knees, then belly, then chest, then each arm.

The other player needs to stand still while the one with the spray bottle is squirting and just give verbal directions.

There will be missing, laughter and squeals as this one is played.

If you are playing in teams, the first one to get all of the parts squirted takes the prize.

20+ awesome water games to play, including water gun games that you don't want to miss! All the backyard water play ideas to make your summer rock.

Water Gun Games

If you want to see the very best water guns go check out our water toys post!

Knock It Off

Knock ping pong balls off of a row of golf tees. Whoever gets theirs all off first wins. (My friend just messaged me and said she always has a hard time finding ping pong balls and golf tees so I linked to them on Amazon for her, and for you!, if you need them.)

You can go the easy route and just stick the golf tees in the ground but they do have to be rather level to hold the balls.

Or you can make a quick target by drilling holes in a board and putting the tees into the holes.

Shoot the Hoop

Tie a target on a hula hoop and see if they can hit it.

Each person gets to try 5 shots (streams of water.) Keep track of the score.

Younger players can be put closer to the target.

If there is a tie the players can keep moving back until one player can no longer make their shots.

You can use a ball, a balloon or make a target and laminate it.

Bowling Target Blast!

Set up some toy bowling pins.

Grab your water guns and see if you can knock down the bowling pins as fast as possible.

Get a stopwatch and go! Each person takes a turn.

The one with the lowest time wins.

Just Try to Keep Dry

Use this at the start of your water games or have some extra shirts around. Colored shirts tend to work best because it is easier to see where they are wet.

Give everyone water guns. You can use the little hand held ones but we like these a lot better.

The object of the game is to stay dry.

This is a great one for getting them exercising, let me tell you.

Whichever person was able to keep their shirt the driest at the end of the game is the winner.

Paint & Water War

I had to include this one because, it is great!

The game always messy so do be aware of that but it is also a whole lot of fun. The water cleans things up so don’t worry too much about the paint.

Do wear old clothes or bathing suits though because even with quality washable paint it can leave faint stains (at least that has been our experience.)

Grab your paints and let the kids paint each other on the arms and legs (not on faces.)  They can do circles, swirls, stripes, or even splotches.

Try to make sure that each child has around the same amount of paint on them.

Next, they need to grab the squirt guns and try to get all the paint off of the other person before all of their own paint is gone.

Running around is encouraged!

The Show-Down

Take whatever movie or show is popular with your kids and make a game out of it.

Let’s say they are big DC fans. You can go online, print out images of Batman, Robin, Batgirl, the Joker, the Penguin, and so on.

Next laminate the picture (this is the one we like best) and hang them up or tack them to trees in the yard.

Put some up high and some down low and also hide a few in harder to find places.

Set a designated home spot for them to return to after their adventure.

Kids grab their guns and go out to spray the pictures.

You could play that they only spray the bad guys or however you want.

First one to find all of the pictures, spray them, and return to the bat cave wins!

Stay at home and have a great time in your own backyard! There are over 20 backyard water game ideas to try including water cup games that you can play today!


Water Cup Games

Jumping Up Cups

Grab a large jump rope and two people to turn the rope.

You will also a couple of cups of water.

Players take turns jumping. Whoever can keep the most water in their two cups while jumping rope wins.

Note – no holding your hands over the cups 😉

Alley Oop Water Pass

The Alley Oop game sounds easy. Players simply pour water from their cup into another players cup.

However, there is a twist.

You need to pour the water backwards over your head into the cup of the player behind you.

I like this one as it is a cooperative game.

Kids can try to get from one marker to another while still having water in at least one of the cups at the end.

You can also do variations and have them pour the water from under their leg or from behind their back etc.

Anything that makes pouring water from one cup to the other harder than it needs to be is perfect!

Water Wanderer

Grab some big cups and fill them with water.

Set up a simple obstacle course. Throw down pool noodles, hula hoops, chairs they have to get up on and off again, and other obstacles they need to go around until you have a nice course set out.

Each player must cross the obstacle course while holding the cup of water on their head

They can use their hands to keep it up there but it can’t leave their head at any time or they are disqualified.

Plenty of water will spill out of the cups and onto the players to cool them off on a hot summer day.

Water Cup Race

Does this belong in water cups, water sprayer or water gun?  lol

Many of these games can cross over for sure.  We will stick with water cups on this one.

Try the water cup race!

To set up this game you need long pieces of string and some cups.

You have to shoot at the inside of the cup to get it moving along the string.

First one to get their cup to the end wins.

Water Sponge Games

You knew throwing wet sponges was coming, right?

You can use whatever sponges you have on hand, get these colorful sponges. or even make some sponge balls .

Make Your Own Sponge Balls

Sponge Toss Spash

First up is the simple sponge toss splash.

Two players toss the sponge back and forth. It is done in reverse to the egg toss.

You start out further away and slowly get closer together as you throw them.

The closer you get the wetter you get.

The bigger and wetter the sponges are, the better, and more fun this game is.

Sponge it Up

In sponge it up, you grab a sponge from a full bucket of water (a) and run to an empty bucket (b) set up a few yards away.

Players need to squeeze the water out of the sponge and into bucket (b).

The object of the game is to transfer as much water from your full bucket (a) as you can to your empty bucket (b).

The one with the most water in their bucket (b) at the end wins.

Sponge Ball Escape

Another fun idea is to take a game like dodgeball and play it with sponges.

For this game I recommend either the sponge balls or large sponges so people can get nice and soaked.

Place your sponge balls and buckets at the center of the playing field. Split the kids into two teams.

One team on each side of the field. Once you yell “GO!” the players from each side run to the center to get and dip their sponge balls.

They then throw the sponge balls at each other.

You are out if:

  • Someone catches a sponge ball that you threw.
  • You get hit by a sponge.
  • You cross the center line into the other players territory.

Once all of a teams players are out, the other team wins. Then you play again and again.

Sponge Add On

Gather some pails or bowls and place a value on them.

We used 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25. Put those items in a vertical row so 5 is at the front and go in order until 25 is at the back behind the rest.

You can keep them close together if you have younger kids or space them further apart for a bigger challenge.

Take your sponges or sponge balls and toss them into the pails.

Whichever pail your sponge lands in is the score you get. Add them all up and the one with the highest score wins.

Another way to play is to try to get a specific number such as 50. Two tosses into the 25 pails would win and so would other combinations such as five tosses into the 10 pail.

I hope you enjoyed all of these fun summer games to play.

Keep in mind that simply changing the rules on any of these games can make them into cooperative games as well. Make them work for your kids and for your family.

Most of all, have a blast with these water games!!

For more ideas try:

Backyard Water Fun Without a Pool! (50+ Ways to Stay Cool) for must have water goodies.

The Wettest (and Coolest) Backyard Water Play Ideas for more play ideas.

10+ Clever Science Experiments with Water To Try Right Now

If your kids don't want to go outside because it is too hot. Or, they keep begging for a pool. We have solutions!! We found the very best backyard water toys for keeping kids cool all summer long no matter how hot it gets. BONUS: They are off screens, having fun, learning and moving around!!