Beach Ball Bull’s-Eye
In this carnival-style shooter game, each player gets a beach ball and a fully loaded water gun. The challenge: Use the spray from your water gun to push your ball through the yard to a designated goal. Whoever gets their ball there first wins! Of course, your ball may not cooperate, but watching players dash around the yard after errant beach balls is part of the fun.
Line the bottom of a wading pool or a plastic storage bin with small toys, marbles, rubber balls, coins, or anything that will sink. Fill the pool with water, then let your would-be pirate remove the sunken treasure by standing in the pool, grabbing the objects with his toes, and depositing them in a separate bin. Have kids work in pairs to see who can dig up the most objects in a minute. Or put some colored washi tape on the bottom of one of the toys. Since X marks the spot, whoever finds this super-secret treasure wins a special prize, like first pick of the ice pops.
Just as in Hot Potato, players sit in a circle on the ground — but instead of passing a potato, they pass a water balloon. When the music stops, whoever has the balloon gets to burst it over the head of his neighbor. For another way to play, prick the water balloon with a pin just as the game begins so that it slowly leaks as it’s passed around the circle. The object? Don’t get stuck with the empty balloon!
Wet Freeze Tag
In this version of freeze tag, the player who’s It chases down the other players, who have to freeze in place when they’re tagged. The summer-friendly twist? You get tagged by being sprayed with a water gun — but another player can un-freeze you by pouring a cup of water on your head. (Make sure to keep a bucket handy for easy refills!) By the time you’re done playing, everyone will be soaked.
String up a clothesline in your backyard, then fill two large containers with water and a supply of beach towels, old T-shirts, and cast-off jeans. Divide players into two teams and have them race, relay style, to see who can pin all their sopping-wet items to the line first. Extend the fun with a wet-shirt relay. Players from each team throw on one of the dripping tees, dash around the yard, then pass it off to the next kid in line to see which team finishes first.
After each player stands back-to-back with a partner, a referee deposits a water balloon between them. The challenge: Carefully walk the water balloon to a bucket on the opposite side of the yard. If partners get too close, they’ll pop the balloon; too far apart, and they’ll drop it. So, some solid teamwork is required to see which duo can complete the task first. Alternative way to play: Start with a pile of water balloons and challenge players to move as many as possible in 60 seconds.
Players sit on the ground in two single-file lines, with everyone facing the back of the person in front of them. At the front of each line, place a bucket of water and a large sponge; at the back, place an empty sand pail. When the referee shouts“Start” the first person in line dunks the sponge in the bucket of water and passes it over his head to the player behind him. Keep passing the dripping sponge backward down the line until it gets to the last person, who wrings it out in the pail and runs it to the front again. He becomes the first in line. Repeat until one team fills their bucket. No sponges? No problem. Use disposable plastic cups instead — and poke some small holes in the side for an extra challenge.
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