Hot Outside? Here Are 13 Water Games to Keep Your Kids Cool

Beat the heat this summer and keep little hands occupied with these super fun and easy outdoor games. You don’t need any fancy equipment to pull off these aquatic activities, just an open space—whether your backyard, a park or the beach. Get ready for some fun in the sun with these 13 water games for kids big and small (go ahead and join in, you know you want to).

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young girl playing with garden water hose outside
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Liquid limbo
Replace the usual stick with a stream of water from your garden hose, and the classic game of “how low can you go” takes on a super entertaining and summery twist. Bathing suits encouraged. 

Jump rope splash
Here’s how to play: Two kids twirl a large jump rope and a third attempts three consecutive jumps while holding a plastic cup full of water. After the kids have all had their turn to skip, the child with the most water left in their cup is crowned the winner. Jump to it!

Ice treasure
For this sensory game, you’ll need to do a little prep work the night before. First, fill a balloon with water and a miniature toy and then freeze overnight. The next day, gently slide or cut the balloon away and enjoy as you watch your kids examine and play with their giant eggs to see what prizes they can find inside. (If you don’t have any balloons, this works equally well with an ice cube tray.)

Duck, duck, splash
Just like the classic version of the game, except whoever is “It” walks around with a cup of water that they dump on the “Goose,” before trying to make their way back around the circle. A fun way for everyone to get soaked!

young kids throwing water balloons
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Car wash
Three cheers for chores disguised as play. Fill a few buckets with warm, soapy water and a couple of sponges, and let kids rinse your car. They’ll love slopping water around outside and you’ll love getting a free wash. (If older kids need more of an incentive, you could always give them a couple of bucks for a job well done.)

Water balloon target practice
Get your kid ready for Little League by drawing a large target on the sidewalk with chalk and giving them some water balloons (or wet sponges) to toss. Whoever is the closest to the target wins!

Water gun tag
Normal tag is great and all, but throw some water toys into the mix and this game becomes all kinds of summer fun. The rules are simple—whoever is “It” gets the water gun and has to “tag” the other players with a jet of cool water.

young boy shooting water gun
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Water balloon fight
All you need for an epic battle is some balloons (pro tip: get ones specifically designed to be filled with water), and an open outdoor space. Just remember to lay some ground rules (like no throwing in the face).

Slip 'n slide
Place a stretch of plastic (garbage bags work well) on grass, douse in water and then let kids run and slide. Hey, it’s a classic for a reason.

Water kickball
Instead of regular bases, set up four kiddie pools that little ones have to jump into in order to be safe.

young girl playing in kiddie pool
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Water gun car race
Make a racetrack by setting up some small toy cars on the sidewalk and then give each participant a water gun. The aim is to push the cars to the finish line using nothing but a stream of water. Ready, set, squirt!

Water balloon piñata
Hang up filled water balloons and let little ones have a go at whacking them open to cool down.

Outdoor bath time
This one’s easy—set up a small inflatable kiddie pool outside to clean up and cool off. Rubber ducky, optional.

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Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...