It doesn’t take long before the novelty of no schedule turns into a struggle to find something to do. Inevitably, this results in the words that no mom wants to hear, “I’m bored.” While being bored is an important part of growing up (check out this post on the benefits of boredom), sometimes it helps to have a few creative ideas in your back pocket.
That’s why our laundry room has a bin dedicated to summertime creative play. Inside is everything a kid could need for outdoor fun, from frisbees and soccer balls to stomp rockets and kites. AND of course, no backyard summer fun kit would be complete without water balloons (note: the fast-fill kind are the best unless you want to spend hours filling and tying teeny tiny water balloons)!
Backyard Water Balloon Games for Kids
Here are a few of the backyard games we came up with before a neighbourhood barbecue. There were more on the list, but some were rejected due to logistical difficulty or certain danger. For example, water balloon piñata sounds like a good idea in theory, but the reality is that the human piñata with a shirt full of water balloons gets walloped by her friends without any balloons breaking.
Fortress Balloon Battle: Set up a minimum of two balloon forts using a large plastic tote or storage bin and fill with water balloons and super soakers. For larger groups, add extra forts so all kids have easy access to balloons. To extend the fun beyond the balloon bursting, set up super soaker refill stations around the battle area or leave a hose on standby for quick refills.
Balloon Baseball: Grab a bat (or whatever bat-like object you have available) and start swinging for those water balloons in hopes that they burst. Our favorite bat substitutes included a pool noodle (slightly floppy, but fun to swing), and a surf board (very easy to hit with, but slightly unwieldy).
Water Balloon Bounce: Fill your trampoline with as many water balloons are you care to fill and let the kids bounce with balloons. Assuming the idea is to get soaked, the best method for bursting balloons on a trampoline is to do a bum drop directly on a balloon because as it turns out, the bouncy surface is not sufficient to break balloons on its own (which is fun too).
Balloon Belly: Wearing a large t-shirt filled with water balloons and tied off at the bottom with an elastic band or clip to keep the balloons from falling out, have the kids complete a series of obstacles to see who finishes with the most intact balloons. Fun options include: hanging hula hoops to climb through, play tunnels to belly-crawl through, and marker cones to jump over.
Dodge Balloon: Fill the trampoline with water balloons and play a game of dodge ball. One option is to bounce and avoid being tagged by a bouncing balloon, the other (more obvious option) is to allow the kids to throw the balloons at each other (as long as you have a safety net to keep kids from falling out while dodging balloons).