20 Fun Backyard Water Games For All Ages


Summers right around the corner, which means we’re all rushing to hang up our winter coats and dive into some good old-fashioned fun in the sun. And what better way to beat the heat then indulging in some fun water games? People of all ages can enjoy the heat relief of a water fight or the excitement of hopping into a pool. Looking to shake things up this year? We’ve got you covered with 20 super fun backyard water games everyone can enjoy.

The Top 20 Fun Backyard Water Games For All Ages Include:

  1. Water Tag
  2. Sprinkler Obstacle Course
  3. Water Balloon Baseball
  4. Water Hose Limbo
  5. Kiddie Car Wash
  6. Dunk Bucket
  7. Slip N’ Slide
  8. Enhance Your Pool Experience
  9. Water Gun Battle
  10. DIY Sprinklers
  11. Human Bubbles
  12. Duck Duck Goose with Water Balloons
  13. Race Cars with Squirt Guns
  14. Kickball with Kiddie Pool Bases
  15. Water Balloon Dodgeball
  16. Water Balloon Tennis
  17. Water Wall
  18. Frozen T-Shirt Game
  19. Jump Rope
  20. Splash Play

With the heat starting to turn up, it’s no better time to turn up the fun, too! We are going to dive deep into the world of fun backyard water games that you and your loved ones will love.

Top 20 Fun Backyard Water Games for All Ages

If you are ready to beat the heat and have some pure, good old-fashioned fun in the sun, then keep reading. We have 20 instantly exciting games that anyone from 5 to 50 and beyond can enjoy. The best part is that a lot of these games only require one or two pieces of equipment and you’re ready to go!

1. Water Tag

I think we can all agree that tag is a childhood favorite that can be enjoyed at any age. The thrill of being ‘it’ and trying to chase down your friends running at 25 miles per hour is a classic! But during the summertime, it can be a little too hot to enjoy this timeless game. So what’s the next best option? Water tag!

You won’t be tagging people using your hand. Instead, bust out a spray bottle that’s loaded with ice-cold water and ‘tag’ people by spraying them down! It’s a great way to enjoy tag while also being cooled off while running around in the sun. You can also play freeze tag using the same method.

2. Sprinkler Obstacle Course

Obstacle courses are a great way to get some exercise in your day without feeling like you’re going for another boring old jog around the block. Plus, the whole family can get involved, which is always a major advantage! After all, who doesn’t love a good obstacle course?

With this fun backyard game, you can get creative as you’d like. Perhaps you have to crawl underneath a set of chairs that are being doused by the sprinklers, and end with a unique and exciting jump into a kiddy pool? The goal here is to be as creative as you can and introduce as much water to the obstacle course as possible. Get the whole family involved!

3. Water Balloon Baseball

Do you and your friends love playing baseball? Of course, you’re not alone. And in the spirit of baseball being on the tv set day in and day out throughout the summer, we suggest getting your own playtime with water balloon baseball!

This game is pretty simple. You can use the bats you already have on-hand, just make sure you have some softer plastic bats for the smaller kids who are playing. The game is played in the same way, except that the baseballs are replaced with water balloons. It makes for a water balloon popping adventure that sprays you down after a good hit. Tons of fun!

I wrote a more in depth article about Water Balloon Baseball because there are some variations and different rules that can make this game a blast. Use that article as guide to set up and play water balloon baseball in the most fun way.

4. Water Hose Limbo

Doing the limbo always makes us feel like we’re having fun at a luau on a Hawaiian beach. Well, whether you’re wearing your favorite hula skirt and puka shells or not, an easy way to have fun in the backyard is by playing water hose limbo!

Water hose limbo is just like regular limbo. However, instead of using a stick or pole, the water hose with a strong, steady stream will be used to set the mark. Remember that the same rules apply- no one is allowed to crawl or wiggle underneath the water; you have to arch your back and hope for the best!

This is not only a super fun game but a backyard water game you can put together in about 5 seconds. There is no setup or special equipment needed- just your trusty backyard hose!

5. Kiddie Car Wash

Now, this particular backyard water game is going to need a lot more preparation than the water hose limbo game, but it makes for one very fun game- especially for the little ones! But don’t worry- this can be just as much fun for adults, too, as they can ride their bikes underneath the ‘car wash’ or simply take a stroll and cool down.

Create a DIY Kiddie Car Wash that everyone can enjoy. As an added bonus, you won’t have to worry about scrubbing down dirty outdoor toys, which is always a bonus for the tired-out parents on summer break!

With just a few pool noodles, some sponges, table cloths, plenty of water, and some elbow grease manipulating PVC pipes, you can create your very own car wash in the comfort of your backyard. Yes, it might take a little while to put together, but it will be well worth it as you can use the contraption all summer long.

Here’s a cool video from HGTV showing the basics of setting up a kiddie car wash. Use what they did to give you ideas, but you can make it your own with your own changes and additions.

6. Dunk Bucket

Dunk buckets give us that feel-good feeling of a classic carnival, only with this DIY dunk bucket, you get to be the one getting doused by a bucket of water. This means that you get to cool down in the summer heat, and your friends get to laugh their head off trying to hit the mark and drop the water on your head. It makes for an all-around good time.

All you need is some wood to cut, a 5-gallon bucket, a few washers and hinges, a bit of piping and a couple of balls, and your game is set and match. This video shows a pretty intricate system, but it’s cool enough to put here.

You can also use an old basketball hoop, as this video shows. This is set up is a lot simpler than the video above, but I’m a bit worried about the nail popping the balloons. I would use a thumbtack or something else around the kids.

7. Slip N’ Slide

When you think of summertime, what is one thing that always comes to mind? Your trusty Slip N’ Slide, of course! And while your Slip N’ Slide can be a blast on its own, it can get a little bit redundant after the 100th time. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to put it back in the garage for next year!

Here are a few great ideas to kick your Slip N’ Slide up a few notches:

  • Add baby oil. This will make your Slip N’ Slide insanely slippery, which means more wriggling and wiggling from start to finish. Can you make it to the end?
  • Add soap. Everything is more fun with bubbles, right? Adding soap to your Slip N’ Slide will end in a bubbly adventure that you won’t want to miss out on.
  • Place bowling pins at the end. Will it be a strike, a spare, or nothing at all? You can challenge your friends and family to see who gets the best score. The winner gets the biggest ice cream cone!
  • Toss some water balloons on. When you’re screeching down your Slip N’ Slide, wouldn’t it be fun to pop a few water balloons in the process? This makes for one popping ride that leaves you drenched in water and feeling cool- in more ways than one.
  • Make a PVC waterfall to pass under. The wetter, the better! While your Slip N’ Sliding, makes sure you’re staying wet and cool in the summer, adding a quick and easy PVC waterfall to pass under kicks things up to the next level of wetness and excitement.
  • Put paint on the plastic. What’s wrong with adding a touch of wild creativity and art to your Slip N’ Slide ventures? Toss on some different colored paints and see what incredible artwork you and your loved ones come up with.
  • Slide with your favorite pool floaties. Inflatable floaties aren’t just for the pool. Grab your donut and slide across the Slip N’ Slide, and you’ll be glad you did. Ready, set, go!

As kids grow older, they tend to out grow the standard Slip N’ Slide, and grown ups don’t typically fit on them either. Consider making your own giant water slide for everyone to use. I created a step by step guide on How To Make Your Own Water Slide to walk you through the process start to finish.

8. Enhance Your Pool Experience

There is nothing quite like dipping into a pool when it’s hot outside. Whether you’ve got a smaller inflatable pool in the backyard or have been blessed with an underground water paradise, there are some great ways to enhance your overall experience. Much like the Slip N’ Slide, there are plenty of easy and great ways to make your pool-time unforgettable. Here’s how:

  • Add some glow sticks. Everything’s better when it glows in the dark, right? If you’re looking to hop into the pool after the sun has gone down, then there’s no better way to have a remarkable experience than by tossing in some fun glow sticks.
  • Get a volleyball net. For larger pools, a game of volleyball is exactly what the summertime has prescribed. This is a great game for people of all ages (as long as they are big enough to stand in the pool) and might bring out your competitive side you didn’t even know you had.
  • Boat races. Have your friends bring their small RC boats over to your house for a boat racing competition. This is such a fun idea, and you can stay cool by getting in the water with your boats.
  • Add a slide. This can even work with kiddie pools- just make sure the pool is small enough so the slider can land inside of the pool. For larger pools, you can get more creative and opt for a looping, twisting slide that leaves you breathless.
  • Add a pool speaker. What’s more fun than swimming? Swimming while listening to music. And a pool speaker is the best way to bring the jams to your dives and backstrokes.
  • Add a waterfall fountain. Did you know that you can actually find some fairly cheap waterfall fountainsOpens in a new tab. on Amazon? They kick up your experience as you and your friends have a blast splashing underneath it.
  • Get some pool noodles. Pool noodles are always going to be a staple of any pool, big or small. Whether you’re pretending you’re knights or simply floating around enjoying the sun’s rays, you will be glad you bought some pool noodles for your pool.

9. Water Gun Battle

Is any summer really complete without a water gun battle? This is simply a classic game that friends and families have been playing for ages, and the fun doesn’t have to stop now. The best part is that this is a game that is truly timeless and won’t get boring after a couple of rounds.

If you are dealing with some younger children who aren’t quite ready to duke it out on the lawn, you always have the option of doing target practice instead. Place some pictures of their favorite villains around the backyard and let them practice ‘shooting’ them with their water gun. Make it even more fun by dressing up like their favorite hero or princess.

10. DIY Sprinklers

If there is one thing that almost everyone can say they enjoyed doing in the summertime, it’s running through the sprinklers. Feeling the little squirts of water hit against your skin as you ran and laughed is one of the best moments of your life- and it probably still is.

Running through a sprinkler is one of the simplest, yet funniest backyard water games that everyone can truly enjoy. And if you don’t have sprinklers, there is no need to panic. You can actually make your own DIY sprinklers with a bottle or pool noodle.

You just need to pop some holes into these items and place the water hose inside. Viola! You have a makeshift sprinkler system that works wonders. You also have the option of buying a kid friendly sprinkler that sprays water around like there’s no tomorrow. I recommend this Sunny Patch SprinklerOpens in a new tab. (link to Amazon) for kids under 5 years old.

11. Human Bubbles

Who said you had to settle for the same old bubble games day in and day out? While bubbles are always fun, why not giant, life-sized bubbles.  You’ll need a kiddie swimming pool and a recipe for making huge bubbles.  After all, haven’t we all dreamed of becoming big, huge bubbles for a few seconds?

Don’t worry- it’s easy to turn mom and dad into bubbles. All you need is a kiddie pool, a hula hoop, and a bubble solution consisting of 5 gallons of water and 10 cups of Dawn dish soap. Simply dip the hula hoop in the mixture and bring it over the person’s head. It’s easy, but it’s going to bring so much laughter and excitement to your family.

Just make sure that there isn’t too much foam from the soap. Foam can hinder how well the bubbles work, and that would be a darn shame. Also, it seems to work best when the solution sits in the kiddie pool for up to a day. 

Check out this video for more ideas, and another recipe for stronger bubbles.

12. Duck Duck Goose with Water Balloons

A classic game of duck duck goose is enough to bring the entire party into a nostalgic zone. But let’s face it- running around in circles with the heat bearing down your back doesn’t sound like the most intriguing moment. That’s why we’re introducing you to duck duck goose- only with water balloons.

So how does this game work, exactly? Well, it’s simple. The game is entirely the same, only instead of running around trying to tag the opponent, you will be throwing water balloons at them. If they are hit, then they are it.

This is one of those fun games that the entire family will enjoy. The setup is simple, too, which makes it a quick and enjoyable thrill for kids and adults. This might be a great option for a kid’s summer party, too!

13. Race Cars with Squirt Guns

Whether you are 3, 13, or 33, something that everyone loves is a good race! This game ensures that you get outside and enjoy a thrilling race car game that introduces water into the mix. Hot Wheels cars work great, but any toy cars will work for this game.

To enjoy this fun game, you will line up your race cars and use squirt guns to get them across the finish line. When you’re done, finish off with a squirt gun battle to cool down. This is a great game that can bring people of all ages together, and you don’t even need any grass or a whole lot of room to do it.

14. Kickball with Kiddie Pool Bases

Some sports get put on the back burner during the summertime because it’s simply way too hot. But here’s a great idea to cool down in the sun with some kickball!

So how exactly can we make sure that we’re enjoying the classic game of kickball without being drenched in sweat and dehydration by the end? It’s pretty simple. Put some kiddie pools where the bases would be and have your friends hop in instead of just landing on the base. This gives everyone a quick cool down while still being able to enjoy a timeless sport.

15. Water Balloons Dodgeball

Another great sport that people of all ages love to play is dodgeball! But playing inside the house can certainly lead to broken lamps and windows, and that’s something we’re trying to avoid. To make sure that you can still enjoy this timeless game without damages to the home or becoming too hot, replace the balls with water balloons.

16. Water Balloon Tennis

If you couldn’t tell by now, we’re on a roll with some summertime-friendly sports that get a makeover using water! This means we can spend more time outside enjoying the sports we love, without the worry of heat exhaustion taking us over. The next one on the list is water balloon tennis.  Watch this video, and you’ll know all you need to know.

Now, you might be thinking that playing tennis with a water balloon is impossible as it will pop immediately- and this is true if you fill it all the way up. Here are some tips and tricks to making your water balloon tennis match last longer:

  • Don’t fill the water balloon up all the way.
  • Stand closer together.
  • Play in a circle when more than 2 people are playing to make it a group activity.

17. Water Wall

Fun backyard water games don’t always have to be about running through sprinklers or jumping into pools. The water wall shows us a unique way to utilize our minds using water, too. And trust us- this is a mind game you and your loved ones will actually want to play!

Using pool noodles zip-tied to a pegboard, you can create some truly tantalizing designs that will keep little (and big) brains occupied all summer long. When the water reaches the bottom, place a bowl there and dump it on your head to cool down from time to time. In that way, you’re not only enjoying a cool pool noodle water maze but staying nice and refreshed, too.

18. Frozen T-Shirt Game

If I told you that you could enthrall an entire group of people of all ages with nothing more than a frozen t-shirt, you might think I’m insane. Well, it’s not some crazy theory or gimmick- it’s a really fun backyard water game that is sweeping the internet (and our backyards). This game literally requires nothing more than a t-shirt while producing endless laughs.

How To Play The Frozen T-Shirt Game:

  • Acquire as many t-shirts as needed. Don’t worry about what’s on them.
  • Douse them in water and then wring them out. Get as much water out of the t-shirt as possible.
  • Place the t-shirts inside separate plastic bags, then put them in the freezer. This simply makes it easier to keep them from sticking to each other.
  • Wait a day or two for the t-shirts to freeze.
  • Take the t-shirts out of the freezer and give one to each player. You can also play this game using teams, in which case you might want to give different colored t-shirts to each team playing.
  • The first one to thaw and put on their t-shirt wins.

This is seriously one of the simplest setups, but it makes for one wacky backyard game. It’s hilarious to see what people do to thaw their t-shirt. Perhaps what is funnier is watching people trying to put on a frozen t-shirt far before it’s ready. Did we mention endless laughter with this frozen t-shirt game? 

If you can’t picture how this works, check out this video.

https://youtu.be/RQUcJgjsK-E

Just make sure you plan ahead of time. The t-shirts will need a fairly long time to freeze entirely, so this is not an ‘on the spot’ fun backyard water game.

19. Jump Rope

Sunshine means busting out the jump ropes. Young and old alike can attest that jumping rope is one of the more fun activities they have ever experienced, and it only requires one thing- the jump rope! And needless to say, those are very inexpensive, which means you never have to worry about a high price tag for hours of fun.

But what about on the hottest of summer days? Nothing kills a spirit more than trying to jump around in the heat, and that’s why the new and improved way to jump rope includes a big cup of water.

With this unique take on jump roping, the person jumping holds a cup of water for ten turns. Each player takes a turn jumping 10 times with their cup of water. Whoever ends up with the most water at the end of the game wins! It’s a super fun game that is going to get you wet.

20. Splash Party

Do you love to splash? Well, of course, you do! Who doesn’t? Splashing around in the water and getting yourself nice and wet is something everyone can agree on that sounds great during the summer months.

You’re basically going to line up a few tubs of water and place some fun toys and buckets inside. Scoopers, cups, squirting ducks, and even squirt guns can all be a part of the mix. There is no limit on what you can do with your splash party. The main goal is to have tons of fun and get each other as wet as possible.

Bonus

Having fun with your friends and family members during the summer months while staying cool has never been easier. Whether you’re gearing up for a wild game of water balloon dodgeball or settling down with an intriguing water wall, you can rest assured your summer is going to be jam-packed with tons of water time fun.

Our favorite games all include water balloons, and we like games that are quick to set up. Check out this list we put together of 10 Fun Water Balloon Games You Can Set Up In Under 10 Minutes for a list of some fun games that you can set up and be playing in no time.

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Robert Sampson

I'm Robert Sampson and I live in Colorado where I spend a lot of time in the backyard with my family either grilling, playing games and sports, or working on a project to make our backyard a better place to be.

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