This column is linked from the care.com website and the story is linked HERE
Children love water, and they love to get wet. Water balloon games are the perfect way to indulge their love of water and encourage physical activity, too. Introduce several games, suggests Katie Winterhof, a physical education teacher and USustainable blogger, “because a variety of play opportunities boosts brain power.” Further, playing “builds connections with our children,” says Jean Miller, a certified Simplicity Parenting coach and counselor.
Here are 10 games to try:
- Water Balloon Hot Potato
Players sit or stand in a circle and pass a water balloon as music plays. When the music stops, the person holding the water balloon is out. The last person out is the winner. If the balloon pops, it just adds to the fun! Have several on hand if that happens.
- Water Balloon Tag
Give the person designated “It” a filled water balloon. He chases the other players and attempts to hit them with the water balloon. The person hit becomes It.
- Water Balloon Darts
Write numbers on filled balloons using a permanent marker. Hang the filled balloons by pushing a tack through the end into a piece of plywood. Players throw plastic-tipped darts at the balloons. When one is popped, the player is awarded the number of points written on the balloon. The winner is the one with the most points once all the balloons are popped.
- Water Balloon Stomp
Break players into teams of two and give each team an equal number of water balloons. On your mark, players stomp the balloons, bursting them. The winning team is the one who pops all their balloons first.
- Pass the Balloon
This game needs to be played with an even number of players. Divide the players into two teams and have them sit down in a line, arranging themselves close to the other players on their team. Give the first person in each line a balloon. The objective is to pass the balloon down the line using only feet. The first team to get their balloon to the end without popping or dropping it is the winner.
- Baskets and Balloons
Divide the children into two teams and provide each team with a large laundry basket and an equal number of filled water balloons. Have one team gather around the laundry basket so each player is able to help hold it up. The other team throws water balloons at them. The objective is to catch as many water balloons in the basket as possible. Once the first round is over, players switch positions. The winning team is the one that catches the most water balloons.
- Target Bulls-Eye
Draw a target on the driveway with sidewalk chalk. In each section, write a point value, such as 100 in the center and 10 on the outside ring. Players take turns withwater balloon target practice as described on the Mother on a Dime site and record how many points they earn with each toss. Points are only awarded if the balloon pops on the target. The winner is the person with the most points once all the balloons have been used.
- Slippery Balloon Catch
Divide your players into teams of two. Have each player wet their hands and rub a bit of dish soap onto their palms. Give each team a water balloon. The objective is to catch and throw the balloon without dropping it. The winning team is the one who is successful the longest.
- Water Balloon Pinatas
Fill water balloons and hang them from a clothesline. They are now water balloon pinatas, as described on the blog Scrap Happy Heather. Give the first player a baton and have her whack a balloon. If the player successfully pops the balloon, she gets another turn.
- Balloon Catapult
Divide players into teams of two. Give each team a towel, which they need to hold between them. Place a water balloon on each towel. Players then launch the balloons as far as possible. The winning team is the one who launches their balloon farthest.
Water balloon games are sure to create memories your children will treasure forever. “Think back to a time in your own childhood when you felt at peace and blissful,” says Miller. Chances are those memories included playing games outdoors — perhaps even with water balloons.
Sara Ipatenco is a former elementary school teacher turned stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. Ipatenco holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both in child development and elementary education. Ipatenco has been published in “Teaching Tolerance” and “Family Fun” magazines.