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Whether you’re looking to get competitive or just want a great way to keep everyone entertained, these super fun water games are great to play with friends and family at the pool, at the beach, or in the backyard.
1. Tug of Wa(te)r
Everyone loves a game of tug of war, especially with a splash of surprise! To play, first, draw a chalk line on a grassy surface. Get a rope, tie a knot at each end, place it along the chalk line, and put a sprinkler in the middle.
Divide the players into teams of 3 or 4, and let the games begin! The team that first pulls someone from the other team into the sprinkler wins.
2. Ping Pong Game
Don’t let the simple description fool you! Fill some cups to the brim with water and place one ping pong ball on top of each cup.
Each player uses a straw to try and blow the ping pong balls off the water. It’s difficult, believe us!
3. Slip ‘n Slide
You can’t go wrong with this game on a hot summer day. Use the official game or get creative and make your own!
Buy a plastic tablecloth and secure it to the ground with tent stakes or something similar. Add whatever you like, from water to soap or to slime, and get slidin’!
4. DIY Obstacle Course
Time to get creative and design your obstacles: use a PVC pipe to make a huge sprinkler, use your DIY slip ‘n slide, make hurdles from pool noodles, or hit targets with water balloons: the choice is yours.
5. Balloon Pops
Only play this if you’re fine with getting completely drenched. The only thing you need is yourself and lots of water balloons.
The goal is to pop as many balloons as possible without using your hands and feet. Get ready for lots of laughs!
6. Sprinkler Twister
Slide, laugh, and squeal in a slippery game of Twister. With the addition of a sprinkler to the giant plastic mat, your focus and coordination will be tested while trying to move from right-hand-red all the way down to left-foot-blue.
7. Water Tag
Are you ready for a showdown? Grab some water guns or plastic spray bottles and divide your players into 2 teams.
The goal is to ‘tag’ your opponents with water, trying to make sure that they end up more soaked than you. Whichever team has the driest shirts by the end wins!
8. Water Pass Over
Set up 2 teams and line your players up one behind the other. Fill the starting cups with water.
The first person in line will raise the cup overhead to pour the water into the next player’s cup and then joins the line back at the end. See which team finishes with the most water in the cup.
9. Splash Ball
Goooaaal! Show off your water gun and teamwork skills with this beach ball shootout.
2 teams must use their guns to move a large beach ball across the slippery ground, attempting to get it into the other team’s goal.
10. Back Balloon Race
Form 2 teams of 2 and challenge each other in an exciting balloon race. The teams must squeeze the ball between backs as they run to the finish line within a time limit.
Be careful, if the balloon pops mid-race, those players have to start over and run with a new balloon!
11. Frozen Treasures
Freeze small toys and treasures in large ice cubes or bowls, then give each party-goer a digging tool and a spray bottle to excavate their frozen prizes.
The first one to unearth all their treasures wins! It’s a unique and exciting twist on a classic digging game.
12. Refreshing Taste Test
Blindfold all players and have them guess the flavors of different summer-themed drinks, like lemon water or a strawberry smoothie.
You can also use fresh fruit and vegetables. This is a fun and healthy way to beat the heat on a hot summer day!
13. Water Painting
Unleash your inner Picasso with a game of water painting. Stock up on some water-based paints and large white paper.
Once ready, everyone can create beautiful works of art while enjoying the cool sensation of the water. You could even give out awards, such as “most creative painting,” and so on.
14. Ice Lolly Fun
Create your own refreshing fruit ice lollies! Simply blend your favorite fruits and freeze the mixture in popsicle molds for a delicious treat.
For more fun, see who can create the craziest and tastiest fruit mixtures. Feel free to add a splash of vodka for a boozy twist.
15. Origami Race
If you’re in the mood for a challenge, this game is for you. Every player folds their favorite origami shape and then races it to the finish line in a tub of water.
Blowing power is key in this strategic game. Can you outmaneuver your opponents and cross the finish line first?
Minimal or No Supplies Needed
16. Liquid Limbo
Limbo is always a good idea! Use a water hose on full blast as the limbo stick. Players take turns trying to limbo under the hose without getting wet. If you get wet, you’re out!
17. Frosty Shirts
You only need some large t-shirts and a freezer. Wet and fold the t-shirts, and place them in a Ziploc bag filled with water 1 day before playing.
Players or teams will have to use their hands and bodies to defrost the t-shirt as quickly as possible. The first one to put on their shirt wins!
18. Shark Attack
Dive into this thrilling water game! One player is the shark, standing in the middle of the pool.
Other players must try to swim safely from one end to the other without getting caught by the shark. But beware, if the shark catches you, you’ll join their ranks and become a shark too.
19. Bucket Race
Set up a start and finish line and arm each player with a large cup or small bucket.
Fill each with water and see who can race to the finish line in creative ways, like running, skipping, or hopping! Whoever has the most water left in their cup or bucket at the finish wins.
20 Hose Jump
This water hose game will test your speed and agility. One player holds the hose and sprays the water close to the other player’s feet, who have to jump around to avoid it. Mix up the rules for an extra challenge, like jumping with one leg only.
For Small Groups
21. Pyramid Challenge
Are you ready for a classic water game showdown? Set up a pyramid made of plastic cups and let players take turns trying to knock it down with water from your water guns. Whoever knocks them down the fastest is the winner.
Players form teams of 2 and hold a towel tightly between them. First, place a water balloon on top of each towel.
On the signal, both teams use their towels to throw the ball toward the other team and try to catch it with the towel. Be warned, this game will bring out your competitive side!
23. Water Bowling
Test your sports skills with a cool twist on traditional bowling. All you need is a set of game bowling pins and frozen water balloons.
Set up the pins and use the water balloons as the bowling ball! Track your scores and see who can score a strike first!
24. Watery Direction
Teamwork makes the dream work with this blindfolded water game. One player is blindfolded and equipped with a squirt bottle, while the other gives them directions to spray water on their arms, head, knees, or toes. Laughter and fun are guaranteed!
25. Aqua Tic-Tac-Toe
Combine your best tic-tac-toe strategy with water balloon fun! Fill up some buckets with water balloons and set them up at either end of a large tic-tac-toe grid.
From a far distance, take turns tossing a balloon into the grid, trying to get three in a row and claim victory. If you miss, your opponent gets a chance to turn the tables.
For Large Groups
26. Water Balloon Toss
Pair everybody off with a partner and hand them one filled water balloon. The players have to toss the balloon between them, taking one step back after every toss to make the game more challenging.
How many tosses can you make before someone gets soaked?
27. Wet Hot Potato
All you need is some water balloons and friends with good musical taste! Have everyone sit in a circle and pass the balloon around while music plays.
When the music stops, the person holding the balloon has to pop it over their head and is out of the game. Good luck!
28. Balloon Battleship
Head to a large grass field, divide players into 3 teams, and assign 1 captain per team to play this epic water game.
Captains are the launchers and will try to hit players from other teams with water balloons while also defending their own players from incoming balloons. Players must stay in designated spots. The last team standing wins!
29. Dodge Ball-oon
Create 2 teams and draw a line down the middle of a field. Fill a tub with water balloons and place it in the field center. On the sign, both teams race to the tub to grab a water balloon.
Players throw their balloons at each other, and if a player is hit, they have to sit out until their team catches a balloon from the other team (without popping it!).
30. Musical Chairs: Water Edition
Drench your friends in this fun twist on the classic game! Place one less chair than the number of players, each with a water balloon waiting to be thrown.
When the music stops, players race to find a seat. The last one without a chair is the target for the group’s water balloon toss.
31. War of Dye
Divide players into 4 teams and give each one trash cans filled with dyed water in different shades like blue, red, green, and yellow. Arm your players with squirt guns and let them battle it out for the ultimate victory.
32. Leaky Bucket Relay
Make a splash with this exciting water relay race. Players must carry water from one pool to another using a bucket with holes poked all over it. The fastest player wins the game!
Be sure to make a memorable splash (or several) with family and friends by playing these water games.
Whether it’s a fun summer gathering or a big birthday celebration at a pool, there’s no end to the fun you can have with these great water-based games.
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Looking to plan some fun at the beach, a pool, or a garden party? Keep these water games for safekeeping by saving this article to one of your party planning boards.