Make a Playful Splash

Your guests have enjoyed all your great treats and décor, but what about the activities?

There’s nothing more fun than throwing water in the mix when it comes to cool party games (especially in the summer heat). The key ingredients to outdoor water fun: kids, sunscreen, hats and bathing suits, so make sure that your guests know to bring their swimwear (because these games are definitely all about getting wet).

Water Colouring
Best for: Ages 1 to 3

Even the littlest kids love to brandish a paint brush—so teach them about ‘water’ colours with this simple activity done with diluted water paints or with water.

You’ll Need:

  • A paintbrush per guest (try for medium-long handle and wider brim brush)
  • Four or five kids’ buckets (or a small sand bucket per guest)
  • A white bedsheet
  • Tempera paint (or skin-safe, washable body paint) in four or five colours
  • Sprinkler
  • String

How to Play:

  1. Tie up the sheet between two trees, or off a fence so it’s accessible height-wise to the kids.
  2. Fill up as many buckets of water as you have coloured paint. For the water/paint ratio, think 60% water, 40% paint. You can always add more/less paint to get the desired texture.
  3. Place the buckets close to the sheet, but not right next to each other, so there’s room to walk in between.
  4. Pass the guests the paint brushes and let them get creative on the sheet, themselves or each other! End the activity with a fun, cleansing run through the sprinkler.
  5. Another Option – For older guests, designate a water blaster for each bucket that can be filled up with the coloured water. Let them blast away at the sheet, or each other. Again, enjoy a run through the sprinkler at the end.
  6. Make sure to take a photo of the kids with their ‘masterpiece’ that the birthday guest of honour can keep as a souvenir.

Fill ‘Er Up
Best for: Ages 3 to 5

This relay race is a fun way to get ‘em wet and laughing all at once.
You’ll Need:

  • Four medium-sized buckets, two filled with water and two left empty
  • Two paper cups (optional: add a dime-sized hole to the bottom of each)

How to Play:

  1. Divide the guests into two teams.
  2. Place the full bucket of water at the front of each team line up. Place each empty bucket anywhere from 10 to 20 feet away from each team’s full bucket.
  3. The first runner for each team fills their paper cup from the bucket and runs the water over to the empty one, where s/he dumps whatever water remains. The runner then returns to the line and passes the cup to the next member of the team.
  4. The team that manages to get the most water in their second bucket, wins.
  5. An added challenge: for older kids, add a hole to the paper cup and have them hold the cup on their head as they run to the second bucket.

Musical Sprinkler/Freeze Dance
Best for: Ages 5 to 8

A twist on the traditional game, this is a great outdoor activity to heat them up and cool them down all in one.
You’ll Need:

  • A sprinkler
  • A large area of grass to play on
  • A portable music player (kept at a safe distance from the water play)

How to Play:

  1. Make sure your guests have their bathing suits and sunscreen on (or whatever they choose to wear to get wet in).
  2. Place the sprinkler in the centre of the lawn and have the players all mingle around it. Designate one adult to turn the sprinkler on and off, and another to do so with the music.
  3. Start the music and invite everyone to dance. If you have shy players, then give them silly instructions like: “Everyone walk around like a duck” or “Everyone take massive steps forward”.
  4. When the music stops, everyone must freeze in their position. The sprinkler turns on. The first person to move or squeal at the water hitting them is out.
  5. Turn the sprinkler off and the music back on again. Continue on with the game until you have a winner. Then, if you so desire, put the sprinkler back on along with the music and let the dance free-for-all begin.

Sponge Throw
Best for: All Ages

Similar to the carnival game, this one requires a courageous Mom or Dad who doesn’t mind getting a little wet in the name of a good party.
You’ll Need:

  • A large piece of thick cardboard (approx 4×4 feet)
  • Crayons/permanent markers
  • Box cutter (for adult use)
  • A large bucket filled with water
  • Four or five large kitchen sponges

How to Play:

  1. To begin, cut out a large hole that will be big enough for Mom or Dad’s head (or your brave neighbour or crazy aunt) to fit through.
  2. Create a funny picture underneath the ‘head’ hole that becomes the ‘body’ for Mom or Dad.
    Before you start the game, have each child put his or her head through, make a funny face and take a photo—that way, it becomes a fun souvenir in a ‘thank you’ card.
  3. Have your guests line up about 4 to 6 feet away from the board (depending on the age of the kids).
  4. Soak the sponges in the bucket of water. Each player takes a turn picking up a sponge and trying to hit Mom or Dad. The more theatrical Mom or Dad can get, the better.


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