Frugal (and FUN!) Outdoor Water Games To Keep Kids Entertained All Summer Long

Filling colorful  water balloons with water


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Filling colorful  water balloons with water

Splashin' on a Budget

For those super-hot days when simply breathing makes you break a sweat, the task of keeping kids entertained might feel particularly daunting. The best way to have fun and keep cool during summer is to play in the water, and you don't have to pay to put in a pool or buy tickets to a waterpark to beat the heat. There are tons of creative ways to set your kids up with fun water-based activities on a budget. 

Multicolored balloons filled with water, hanging on a tree
Valerii Gomeniuk/istockphoto

Water Balloon Piñatas

Water balloon fights are fun, but they're often over too quickly. If you want to mix things up and draw out the fun a bit longer, tie a bunch of balloons together and use some string to hang them from a tree. Blindfold the kiddos and have them take turns using a stick to try and pop the balloons. 

Boys run and jump over sprinkler on hot summer day
SDI Productions/istockphoto

Backyard Water Olympics

Think relay races with water-soaked sponges, a water balloon toss, a water limbo competition, etc. Set up a variety of water-themed games and obstacles in your yard and put on your own kid-friendly water olympics.

We're the Best of Friends

Homemade Slip & Slide

Grab a tarp (the bigger the better), roll it out on an incline, and use a garden hose to run water onto it. Add some dish soap to make things extra slippery, but remind the kids to be careful!

Laughing kid playing with squirt gun in park

Water Gun Painting

Fill up some squirt guns with watered-down paint and grab some canvases from the dollar store. Set them up and let the kids play Picasso (or maybe it's more like Jackson Pollock?).

Scavenger hunt this way signpost in lush forest woodland
Gareth Webb/istockphoto

Water-Themed Scavenger Hunt

Set up a scavenger hunt for the kids and include tasks that focus on water. Some ideas? Find a puddle to jump in, find the most unique rock on the riverbank, collect seashells at the beach ... 

Father And Son At Home

Kiddie Car Wash

Fill buckets with soapy water, grab a bunch of towels and brushes, and line your kiddos' Cozy Coupes, tricylces, and scooters up so they can run their own kiddie carwash. They'll have a blast and all of the ride-on toys will be squeaky clean when they're finished.