Texas Living

Field Day: Water Games for Kids

By Abi Grise Morgan 6.7.24

The dog days of summer are sizzling on the horizon. Beat the heat-induced boredom with wild water games for kids that you can play in the backyard!

Water Balloon Hot Potato

Supplies: bucket, water balloons, music, and a speaker

Fill a bucket with water balloons. Begin the water game with everyone sitting in a circle in the yard, except for the DJ, who has the speaker and should sit separately and face away from the circle. One person in the circle holds a water balloon. Players pass the water balloon around the circle once the DJ starts the music. When the DJ pauses the music, whoever is holding the balloon must pop it over their head and leave the circle. The last person left dry wins!

Tip: Stretch balloons before filling them with water. Slowly fill balloons until they are about 90% full, so you have room to tie the end.

water games for kids

Sprinkler Red Light, Green Light

Supplies: Sprinkler

Set up a sprinkler in the middle of the yard. Designate one person, the “caller,” who stands at one end of the yard. The rest of the group lines up on the opposite side. The caller turns their back to the other players and calls, “Green light!” Players run toward them. When the caller turns back around and says, “Red light!” the players must freeze. (As you can imagine, the person closest to the sprinkler gets soaked!) If any players don’t freeze on time, they’re sent back to the starting line. Whoever crosses the yard and tags the caller first wins!

water games for kids

Kiddie Pool Goalies

Supplies: small inflatable pool and ball pit-style plastic balls

Set up a 10-foot perimeter around the inflated pool filled with water. Have two players stand inside the pool, and two players stand around the perimeter. Each player outside the pool has a bucket of plastic ball pit-style hollow balls. The players’ goal is to throw as many of the plastic balls into the pool while the two players inside try to block them. Once the balls fall in, they stay in. If they fall out, they stay out. When you run out of balls, count the number of balls in the pool. Have the teams swap positions and play again. Whichever team gets the most balls into the pool wins!

Tip: Fill the kiddie pool and cover with a tarp until play time to keep bugs and debris out.

water games for kids


Supplies: store-bought or DIY giant slip-and-slide and easily grabbable items (i.e., diving rings, beanbags, etc.)

Place items along the sides of the slip-and-slide. For a single-lane slip-and-slide, the players on each team take turns sliding down as many times as possible in one minute, grabbing as many items as possible. Players must have the items in hand at the end of the slip-and-slide for it to count toward the total item count. For a double-lane slip-and-slide, have teams compete next to one another. After all players have slid, the team with the most items wins!

water games for kids

Minute-to-Win-It Water Games For Kids

Do you have a small group of kids? Or perhaps younger ones without a long attention span? These water games can be played in under a minute with as few as two players.

  • Cup Balance: Give each player a plastic cup of water to balance on their head. The player who keeps their cup upright the longest wins!
  • Blind Inflatable Pool Grab: Put 10 pingpong balls into an inflatable pool filled with water. Blindfold the person playing. Give them one minute to find and remove as many pingpong balls from the pool as possible.
  • Spit Ball: Give each player a straw, cup of water, and pingpong ball. Place the pingpong balls in the grass, equidistant from the finish line. Have each player suck water into their straw and then spit it out toward the pingpong ball to move it through the grass. The first one to reach the finish line wins!

Themed Prizes

Motivate teams with adorable, water-themed prizes:

  • Packs of goldfish crackers
  • Gummy sharks
  • Bubbles
  • Rubber duckies
  • Sunglasses
  • Inflatable beach balls

Make a point to drink plenty of water, too, while you play. Stay hydrated through summer dry spells with these tips.

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