By: BJ Williston, SPARK Trainer and Curriculum Development Consultant
Water games are always a huge hit with kids and a nice touch to add to your Summer Camp program. Here are a few tips to make these successful:
- Set up these activities near the hose so you can keep a constant supply of water. Also, use a large trash barrel or trough to keep extra water available.
- Be cautious about the surface you place activities on. Any surface will be wet and slippery, so keep running to a minimum to avoid falls.
- Tell kids to wear clothes and shoes that are appropriate for water activities.
- Have them bring towels and a possible change of clothes if they are returning to inside after the water games.
- Prep all your materials beforehand. Buckets, trough, hose, sponges, cups, PVC pipes, water balloons, etc.
(Need one sponge and one small bucket [with lines marking ½, ¾, and one gallon] per group of four.)
With a large water bucket/trough in the center, have players create spokes radiating out to their own small buckets about 15-20 paces out. Groups of 4-5 form lines from the trough to their bucket. The object is to fill their bucket with water to a specified line (you call which one). They do that by soaking the sponge from the center trough and tossing it down the line. The player closest to their bucket squeezes the water into it, then runs back to the trough where they soak it up again and toss it down the line. There will be a new player squeezing the water into the bucket each round. If they get to the specified line too quickly, call out the next line!
Dixie Cup Relay
(Need 1-2 tiny cups [that hold about two ounces] and a small bucket with markings, as above per pair.)
Set up with trough filled with water in the center and pairs standing behind their buckets on the outer circle. One player at a time runs to the trough with their cup, fills it, runs it back, empties it into their bucket, then passes to their partner, who repeats. Continue until time is called. Who has the most water? You can vary this by having them put the cup on their head and balance it back to the bucket. Another variation uses flying discs as saucers to hold water. They can carry or put on their head.
Water Balloon Step Back
(Need one water balloon per pair.)
Pairs placed in two parallel lines across from their partner. Partners toss the balloon back and forth, taking a step back (away from each other) on command. The object is to keep their balloon from popping.
PVC Cooperative Fill-up
(Need one 2-3’ long, 1.5”-2” diameter PVC pipe [with at least 6, ¼” holes drilled into a random pattern all over the pipe], one small bucket with markings, and one plastic cup per group of 4-5.)
Set up with trough filled with water in the center and groups standing behind their buckets on the outer circle. All players run to the trough together, each with a role: One player will use the cup to pour water into their pipe, another player puts their hand on the bottom of the pipe to stop water from coming out if it, and all others put fingers on the holes to keep water in the pipe. Once they fill the pipe to the top, they all move as a group back to the bucket and carefully let the water pour into it. Repeat, changing roles each round, until the signal. Who has the most water?
Any of these activities can be reversed so all teams are moving from the outer circle to the inner to a common large bucket. The object is for all groups to fill it together.
Slip and Slide
Use a giant roll of thick visqueen (polyethylene plastic sheeting) to create a 10’ wide by 20-30’ long slip area. Allow students to go on their bellies (done over grass or other softer material, NOT blacktop or dirt) or use bodyboards to go on their knees or bellies. Use the hose to continuously keep the area soaked. Students go one at a time, then run back to the beginning. Create a few of these so the wait time is not long. Always a smash hit!
(Need one spray bottle per two players.)
Half of the students form two parallel lines about five paces apart. Each of these students have a spray bottle in hand (they form the Car Wash). The other half of the group is divided into two lines just outside the “corridor” of spray bottle holders. These are the “cars.” Turn on music and the two lines of cars move their way slowly through the Car Wash as the washers spray them mercilessly with their water. Once out of the Car Wash, cars move back to the beginning and continue again. Continue for a full song, then switch roles and repeat for another song.
Remember to teach kids safety first, and have fun with these!