Planning a Summer Water Party

Every year we plan a big 4th of July bash with our kids, complete with lots of water games to stay cool.  In past years the prep has included filling hundreds and hundreds of water balloons, a process that takes hours. In contrast, the breaking of the balloons is done in minutes– good fun surely– but it’s over incredibly fast for the effort expended.  This year the kids asked if we could skip the tedious balloon-filling, and so I had the challenge of coming up with some new water games.

Water games for summertime

The first game of our particular party actually had nothing to do with water at all.  It involved much admiring of our newest family member, little Wilona, who had chosen our gathering to make her grand debut on the world scene.  She was angelic, looking around alertly during her big event, and then sleeping during most of the rest of the games.  If you do not happen to have a week-old baby with which to grace your event, you may have to skip this game.  But it comes highly recommended if you can arrange it.   🙂 (Click on any pictures to enlarge.)


Once baby-watching and dinner-eating was accomplished, we moved on to the games we had planned for the evening.


Water Hazard Kickball (Team Game)

The first real game that we played was kickball, with water hazards. Here’s how we arranged it. You of course could arrange it how you wish.

  • 1st base– sprinkler.  As long as you have water falling on you, you’re on ‘base’
  • 2nd base–cooler of ice water.  My idea was that you stand in the bucket til you can run to the next base.  However, most folks just chose to dip a toe in, then stand next to the ice water.
  • 3rd base– pool noodle waterfall.  We set this up in a tree.  And again, if you had water falling on you, you were considered on ‘base’.
  • Home base– my original idea for home base was a slip ‘n’ slide, but I wasn’t sure if the adults playing could pull that off injury-free, so we opted for a kiddie swimming pool as home base.

We played three innings.  Each inning ended when every person on that team got to kick.   Highest score at the end wins.  This game ended up to be great fun for a wide range of ages.  As you can see by the pictures, we had two teams of dads with babies, plus one pregnant momma playing.  They each got TWO runs for crossing home plate, which was a fun twist.  The babies had a great time trundling around in their daddy’s arms, kicking the ball and playing a bit in the various water hazards.  The spectators on the sidelines had a good time too.



Ping Pong Ball River

The original idea for this ‘race’ was that folks would use squirt guns to propel ping pong balls down two rivers whose courses were made of aluminum foil.  It ended up being difficult to make the foil smooth enough for this to work with squirt guns.  So we used a hose and a watering can at the top of each river, and declared this to be a game for the littlest children.  They thought playing with the ping pong balls in the river was a lot of fun, though we did find them reluctant to let loose of the balls and had to give them more immediately.  I think they would have played with the water and balls quite a bit longer than they got to.



Jump Rope Water Splash  (Individual game)
For this game you’ll need:

  • Long jump rope that needs two people to turn it
  • Cup of water for each player
  • At least 3 people, taking turns jumping and turning the rope

I forgot to take pictures of this game, but the object is to hold a full cup of water while jumping a jump rope that is being turned for you,and trying to spill as little water as possible during 10 consecutive jumps. When all of the players are done with 10 jumps, the game repeats to 15 jumps, etc. The last player with water in their cup wins. We ended up not requiring ten consecutive jumps, since not everyone was able to do that easily. Quite a few people thought this was a fun game, and we’ll probably do it again next year.




Wet Sponge Over/ Under Relay  (Team game)
We ended up not having time to do this one, but I’m going to remember it so we can try it next year. You need:

  • 2 large buckets
  • 2 small bowls
  • 2 sponges

Form two teams.  Each team makes a line.  There is a bucket in front of the first player and a jar behind the last player.  The first player fills the sponge and with two hands lifts it over his/her head to the next player.  The next player takes the sponge and hands it under their legs to the next player.  Continue to hand it back over and under until you reach the last player. The last person squeezes any remaining water into the bowl, then runs towards the front of the line to fill the sponge again, so it can be passed through the line again.  The first team to fill the bowl to overflowing wins.


We also ended up doing just a couple things with water balloons. The first was Guess the Weight of the ‘Babies’, a game that everyone could participate in. I chose three water balloons of varying sizes, weighed them in private, then set them into bowls so that everyone could guess the weight. The closest guess got a prize.  The other game we played was the water baby gauntlet.



Water Baby Gauntlet (guys against the girls)

  • Large water balloons
  • Water cannons, bowls and buckets

This was the last game we played, and we did it girls against guys.  The guys each got a very large, very full water balloon and have to run through a course for a designated number of minutes while all the girls are try to break their water balloons by squirting them with water cannons, hoses, or buckets of water.  Any guy who keeps his ‘baby’ safe gets a prize. Girls get a prize if a guy’s balloon breaks for any reason.

This game was fun, but the balloons we used were regular balloons, not water balloons.  They were really sturdy, and the girls’ weaponry ended up being very ineffective.  We either needed more fragile balloons or more robust weapons, or both.  Nevertheless, good fun was had by all.  And the babies ended up being sturdy enough that several of the kids took them into the swimming pool to play with them longer.


Do you have water games that don’t involved hours spent filling water balloons?  I’d love to hear about them!  (Note: Click on an individual picture to get to a comment box.  My comment function is still a little wonky at the moment.)

More about fun in the summertime

Balancing time with family and neighbor kids

Fun water balloon games for people of varying ages

Pin It


  1. […] Bombs– This idea is something I might try for our annual 4th of July bash.  Filling water balloons takes SO much time, and these sponges can be filled and tossed over and […]