Whether your children are 2 or 22, or somewhere in between, they will enjoy outdoor water games. Water has the power to make a traditional game, like Duck Duck Goose, silly and challenging, and a creative, active game, like Marco Polo, an activity that can last all afternoon. Water provides gentle resistance, splashy fun and cooling energy on hot days.
Water table games often take the place of sand at the sand table and may involve floating and sinking objects or making them travel through a passage. Small pool games, like tossing a beach ball in an inner tube, allow children to play from inside or outside the pool. Larger pool games range from sports like water volleyball to relay races and underwater dancing.
Water games often involve equipment. Use inflatable rafts to play bumper boats in the pool, or goggles to help in diving for rings. Some water games, like balancing contests on beach balls or noodles, require swimming skills while others, like playing tag with water guns or dodgeball with wet beach balls, do not.
In most water games, the object is not as much to win as it is to get wet. Make sure everyone has a chance to participate for a lengthy time by using games where no one is “out” or “frozen” for too long. Resist keeping score and focus on having fun. Mix up a game of kickball or volleyball in the pool by tossing in several beach balls or having the best players have to balance on kick boards while playing.
Water and pool games demand extra supervision. Watch out for potential hazards like slipping or going underwater. In addition, keep children in the shade or in sunscreen and well-hydrated. When supervising a large group, assign buddies who check in with one another or find each other when you blow a whistle.
You can adapt many games to be water games. Play musical chairs with the chairs under the sprinklers. Do the Hokey Pokey in a fountain. Play Ring Around the Rosie in the swimming pool. Do the limbo under the spray of hoses and use water balloons to play Hot Potato. Animal Charades have added dimension when played underwater.
- fountain image by Alan Pickersgill from Fotolia.com