15 Joyful Water Games and Activities for Kids

Two little girls playing with water guns

There is no denying that children love the water. Even the little ones enjoy splashing about in the pool, and it is a great family activity and an opportunity to increase bonding. The water is also gentle on children’s bodies, which reduces the risk of getting hurt considerably.

Water Games for Children

Children playing with water in a meadow

Which kid doesn’t enjoy splashing about in water? With summer having set in, here are some fun water games:

1. Water Bottle Relay

With lots of running involved, it’s a great way to make sure your kids get some exercise.

What Your Will Need

  • 3 large plastic water bottles
  • One large nail and a hammer
  • 6 buckets
  • Water

How To Play

Gather up all the kids in the neighbourhood and divide them into three equal teams. Mark a starting line and an end line about 15 feet away from the start line. Make each team stand in a straight line behind the start line. Give each team a bucket full of water and one plastic bottle with 4-5 holes at the bottom (use the nail and hammer for this). Place one empty bucket for each team at the finish line. The objective of the game is to fill the empty bucket at the end line using only the water bottle while only carrying the bottle lifted above the head. A child fills the bottle, holds it above her head and runs to the finish line to her team’s assigned bucket and empties out the bottle. She then runs back and gives the bottle to the next child in her team who must do the same. The team to first empty out the bucket with water entirely and fill the empty bucket wins.

2. Water Gun Tag

This rather simple game instantly becomes a favourite of everyone who plays it.

What You Need

  • One water gun

How To Play

Water gun tag is a play on the regular game of tag. Whoever is ‘it’ gets a bucket full of water and a water gun. This kid tags other children (and even adults) with a squirt of water.

3. Water Balloon War

A water-based version of paintball.

What You Need

  • Lots of water balloons
  • Water
  • Food safe colouring – Blue and Red
  • Two unbreakable cups in two different colours. Bonus points if the colours are blue and red

How To Play

Get two buckets full of water. Mix one bucket with the blue food dye and the other with red dye. Gather all the children and divide them into two groups – Red and Blue. The red team will fill their balloons with the red water, while the blue team makes water balloons with blue water. Demarcate an area for each team which houses the team’s cup. The objective is for each team to retrieve the other team’s cup while using the water balloons as ammunition. Any kid hit and dyed with the other team’s colour must stop playing. The first team to retrieve the other team’s cup wins.

4. Duck Duck Splash

This is a watery take on the classic game of Duck Duck Goose.

What You Need

  • Water balloons

How To Play

As in the original, the children sit in a circle. Whoever is ‘It’ takes a water balloon and walks around the circle calling duck at each child. When they are behind the child they want to tag, they yell ‘Splash’ and throw the water balloon on their head or back. The person tagged must then chase the first kid and try to catch her before she goes and finds her place in the circle.

5. Bull’s Eye

Check the accuracy of your kids through this game.

What You Need

  • Chalk
  • Sponges – one for each child
  • Permanent marker
  • Bucket of water

How To Play

Mark circles on the ground with chalk and write points in the centre of each circle. Give each child a sponge with his or her name written in permanent marker. Each child soaks the sponge in the bucket and aims at a circle. Once it lands, they get the points and can occupy that circle. At the end of stipulated time, whoever has the highest points, wins.

6. Water Dodge Ball

Great for kids who love to spend time in the pool.

What You Need

  • Beach ball
  • Coloured rope

How To Play

Make two teams and tie a rope in the middle of the pool in order to separate the two teams. Each team takes turns throwing the beach ball at the other team’s members who must try to swim away from the ball. If the ball touches a team member, then they will be out. Whichever team has the last man standing, wins? To make this game more interesting, do not get the team members who are out to get out of the pool. Instead, they can push away the ball from active team members in order to keep the survival rate of their team high. However, they can only use their elbows to do so.

7. Water Money

This game is ideal for kids who already know how to swim and want more practice with their underwater swimming abilities.

What You Will Need

  • Lots of change in coins

How To Play

Get the children into a circle in the pool. Toss in coins in the centre of this circle. The children will dive towards the coins and retreat how many ever they can in a span of ten minutes. The kid with the most amount of money wins. The best part, the kids get to keep the money they have retrieved.

8. Water Balloon Cricket

Just like normal cricket but with water balloons as the ball instead of a regular ball.

What You Will Need

  • A sponge or plastic bat
  • Water balloons

How To Play

The batsman has to be careful while hitting the balloon ball or they will be soaked, and the fielders must be careful while catching and throwing the ball to team members. The only rule? The bowler must toss the balloon ball gently.

9. Water Volleyball

The water-version of volleyball

What You Will Need

  • A small beach ball
  • A net

How To Play

Set up the net in the middle of a swimming pool and divide the kids into two teams. The rest of the game follows the same rules as that of volleyball.

10. Water limbo

What You Will Need

  • Water Hose

How To play

This is played exactly how traditional limbo is except that here we do not use a limbo stick. Instead, use the hose to create a line of running water. You can increase or decrease the height to adjust for difficulty levels.

Water Activities for your Child

Maybe the above games aren’t what your child wants. Here are a bunch of water activities that your child could try instead:

1. Water Treasure Hunt

This is one of the best water activities for pre-schoolers as they will be engrossed by how the melting ice reveals their favourite toys!

What You Will Need

  • Ice tray
  • Small water-resistant toys
  • Water
  • Freezer

How To Play

Place a single toy in each mould of the ice tray. You can, in fact, ask your child to pick the toys. Pour water into the tray and freeze overnight.

2. Painting on Water

This game goes well for kids who are intrigued by visuals rather than physical activity.

What You Will Need

  • Large glass tray
  • Permanent marker
  • Warm water

How To Play

Ask your child to draw a simple figure on the bottom of the glass tray. Then gently pour in the warm water and watch as the water magically lifts up the drawing and floats on top of the water! Your child can use different colours to create a more stunning effect.

3. Ice Cube Painting

Bring out your child’s artistic side!

What You Will Need

  • Ice trays
  • Water
  • Food colouring
  • Plain white t-shirts

How To Play

Place water in an ice tray. Place different food dues in each mould and mix well. Let the coloured ice set overnight. Give your child a plain white t-shirt and different coloured ice cubes. Watch as they use the melting ice to paint a funky t-shirt!

4. Slip and Slide

A fun activity where you can join in if you so wish!

What You Will Need

  • Large flex cloth
  • Running water from a hose
  • Pegs

How To Play

Place the flex on a slight slope leading to the pool and secure to the ground with pegs. Make sure that the hose is always running water over the flex. Kids can run up to the flex and slide all the way down to the pool.

5. Swimming Pool Scrabble

This activity helps to improve your child’s vocabulary as well as lung capacity.

What You Will Need

  • Sponge sheets
  • Permanent Markers

How To Play

Cut out 2inch by 2inch sponge squares. Write out individual alphabets using the permanent markers on the sponge squares. Throw them into the pool. Call out a word and get your child to bring the alphabets that spell out the word. You can increase the difficulty based on their age and skill.

Safety Tips for Playing Water with Kids

  • Under no circumstances should you leave your child unattended near the water. This holds true even if you are turning away for a minute or the water in question is the bathtub.
  • Make sure that all the kids understand the rules of playing in the swimming pool. Tell them that under no circumstances will ducking underwater be tolerated.
  • Make sure that any and all caregivers are trained in giving CPR.
  • Ensure that your child always goes to a pool with lifeguards present and accounted for, do not let them swim at the deep ends of the pool if there are no trained lifeguards present.
  • Make sure your child is always within eye-shot if you aren’t in the water and they don’t swim to a place you or their caregivers can’t see.

Playing with water is always a fun and enjoyable time for kids and adults alike. This summer, be sure to use SPF protection and keep your child safe from sunburn. Before starting any activities, ensure that your child has all his shots up-to-date and has medical clearance.

Also Read:

Indoor Games for Kids
Summer Activities for Kids
Outdoor Activities for Kids