Whether you’re 6 or 60 years old, if you’re looking for some ways to have a bit of fun in the sun, these backyard water games are where it’s at! Most can be done with household items or inexpensive store-bought supplies, and they’re great for busting summer boredom.
Below we’ve included activities of all kinds too. Some will get you downright soaked with water while others will allow you to stay relatively dry, so pick your preference! In the end, they’re all super fun and can be played right in the backyard. And there’s no pool required for these fun ideas!
1. Water Tag
This water game is simple. One person is “it” and has to spray another player with water to free themselves. Once they spray someone, they become the new “it” player. No tag backs!
You could also spin this into a hide and go seek game. One person searches for players and has to spray them to get them out of the game. The last player found wins!
If you’re thinking, “Well I don’t have a water gun, I can’t do this one.” Don’t worry! You can literally use an empty spray bottle for this. Or, even better, water balloons for water balloon tag!
PS: If you’re using water balloons, use this DIY water balloon pump trick to fill them up hassle-free.
2. Water Wars
If you prefer an all-out water brawl rather than a game of tag, give everyone a spray tool of choice (hose, water gun, spray bottle, etc.), and even some water balloons, and have a free for all! Whoever gets wet has to sit out until the next round.
You could also do a team game if you have enough players. The winning team gets to spray the losing team with even more water!
Need to fill up a ton of water balloons at once? Check out these quick fillers from Amazon.
3. Slip and Slide
Although you can buy pre-made slip ‘n slides on Amazon, you can also try making your own if you need a custom length (or if you’re just feeling crafty)! This can potentially save you some money too.
To learn exactly how to do it (and for cheap), check out this post from All Things Thrifty.
Once you have your slip and slide ready to go, there are a ton of fun water games you can play on it! Just sliding down it is fun enough, but you can also try slip and slide bowling, sliding down on different items, or even try doing spins as you slide down. Just be careful!
4. Duck, Duck, Splash!
Yup, you can probably already guess how this water game works. It’s just like duck, duck, go, but with water! Here’s how to play:
- Everyone sits in a circle except for one player who is “it”
- The “it” player must go around the circle with a cup of water, tapping people on the head, until they choose to dump the cup of water on someone’s head
- Once they dump the water on someone, they must run around the circle back to the empty spot before getting tagged by the player they dumped the water on
- If they make it all the way around, the new player is it. If they get tagged before making it around, they remain it.
Simple but fun! This is a game the entire family can get involved in too.
Thanks for this idea, Inspiration Made Simple!
5. Fill the Bucket
I love this idea! It’s a competitive water game, so you’ll need at least two players. You’ll also need a large bucket, two big sponges, and two containers for the players to squeeze water into.
Once you have those things, how the game works is simple: each player fills their sponge with water from the large bucket, then has to run to their empty container and squeeze the sponge into it. The game ends when one player fills their bucket, or when the main bucket of water runs out.
Thanks for the idea, The Resourceful Mama!
6. Pool Noodle Water Wall
If you or your kids don’t want to get too wet but still want to play with water, this idea is perfect. All you need are a few pool noodles, zip ties, and a pegboard, and you’re in business!
Just zip tie the pool noodles to the pegboard, set up some containers below, and pour water into each noodle to see what happens. This is really simple but the kids will have a lot of fun watching the water move.
Thanks for the idea, Teaching Mama!
Love games with pool noodles involved? Check out these 15 Pool Noodle Activities!
7. Water Blob
You can’t go wrong with a DIY water blob on a hot day! It’s inexpensive to make and entertains the kids for hours. It won’t get you wet either, but it will definitely cool you down!
It’s almost like a homemade water bed. You can lay right on top of it, jump on it, slide on it, roll around on it, whatever you want. It’s no big deal if it breaks either, you can make another one pretty quickly!
Get the full tutorial: How to Make a Water Blob.
8. Toddler Fishing & Color Hunt
Toddlers need to have some fun water games to play too! Here are two ideas that will keep your toddlers cool and occupied while outside:
This one is great for toddlers as it’s a bit of a sensory activity and it also helps them build some coordinational skills. If you wanted to get really creative you could even make a DIY fishing pole to hook the fish out of the water. Just use a paperclip or something attached to a string. A net will work too though!
Speaking of DIY fishing toys, you could make this even easier with one of these fishing bath toys!
Thanks for the idea, I Can Teach My Child!
I really like this one as it doesn’t require many supplies, and it’s a great sensory activity. For young toddlers, they can have fun scooping balls out of the water. Older children (e.g. preschoolers) can try sorting the different color ping pong balls into sections.
So yes, while this is a great toddler game, older kids will enjoy it too! Just note you’ll want to supervise your kids while they play this one, of course.
Thanks for the idea, Toddler Approved!
9. Cup Race
Grab a plastic cup, water gun/spray bottle, some string, and tape, and you’re ready to set this game up! Two players can face off against each other to try and move the cup to the end of the string by squirting water into it.
This idea is SO simple but I guarantee it will entertain adults and kids for hours. It can be replayed over and over again! You could even time your races and keep track of the fastest times for a bit of friendly competition.
Thanks for the idea, All for the Boys!
10. Ice Chalk
Last but not least, we’ve got ice chalk! This activity involves a bit of science, DIY, art, and sensory experience all in one! It’s definitely one of my favorite summer activities.
You won’t get super wet by playing with ice chalk, but it is really cool to watch the colors melt into the pavement on a hot day. When you’re finished you can wash away the art and cool yourself down with the hose!
Other Backyard Water Activities
- Run through the sprinkler – This is a fun way to cool down, and you can challenge your kids to try to jump over the sprinkler entirely without getting wet!
- Put the sprinkler under a trampoline – If you have a trampoline, you’ve got to try this! It’s a great way to cool down and the water looks really cool bouncing on the trampoline.
- Water balloon dodgeball – Similar to the water wars idea, you can organize a game of dodgeball with water balloons!
- Water bombs – You can make eco-friendly, reusable water bombs (sort of like water balloons). Check out the tutorial here.
- Water gun target practice – Set up some cans or plastic bottles and try to shoot them down with a water gun!
Now that you have some fun water games in mind, you could put together an entire backyard Olympics if you wanted! Just pick some of the activities above and have a friendly competition
Have any other easy and fun water game ideas? Comment them below!
Posts to check out next:
- Too hot to go outside? Try these DIY summer crafts!
- Try these rock painting ideas and seashell crafts too!
- Sunburns? Cool down with this natural DIY after sun spray and lotion.
- Check out these 60 Super Fun Summer Activities for Kids!