During summertime, the biggest thing that any parent has on their mind is how they’re going to entertain their youngsters without breaking the budget. When school’s in session, it’s easy to make your kids happy by driving to the park on a Saturday afternoon, but summer means that they’ll need to be entertained all day long, and they’ll look to you to come up with new and exciting things to do.
Most kids want to spend a lot of time at the pool when class lets out, so that’s an easy activity to do together during the day. It won’t be enough, though. Your kids will get bored playing the same pool games every day, and you will too. A big problem for most families is that money goes towards necessities like food and education. Entertainment often doesn’t make it into the budget.
This summer, make fun water activities a priority without breaking the bank with these seven awesome games and making what can’t be bought — memories that will last a lifetime.
If you have a yard, chances are you have a sprinkler lying somewhere around the garage. You’re already spending the money to keep your lawn green, so let the kids have some fun without spending any extra cash. While the sprinkler is running, let the kids run back and forth through the water in their bathing suits or old clothes if you want them to have some extra fun.
Challenge them to games by seeing who can jump the highest over the sprinkler, or join in with your camera, at a safe distance of course. Have your kids jump across the water and make silly poses. Afterward, whoever had the best photo taken can pick a popsicle from the freezer first.
Water Balloon Towel Toss
For this game, you just need two towels and a pack of water balloons. Fill the balloons and put them in two different buckets. Each towel goes to a team, and those two teams stand at a decent throwing distance apart. One team places a water balloon in their towel and tosses it to the other team, who tries to catch it. Each team takes a step back if either one catches the balloon with their towel. If not, time for a new water balloon!
DIY Slip and Slide
Slip and slides have been providing kids fun in the water for years now, but they can get pricey and puncture easily. Instead, if you have a slide in your backyard, place a tarp between the slide and your grass and get your hose out to make an easy DIY slip and slide. If the hose is laid at the top of the slide to keep it wet, your kids can slide down and across the tarp for a guaranteed afternoon of fun.
Water Balloon Spoon Races
To do this activity, you’ll need to make sure that when you pick up water balloons at the store that you get the smallest ones you can find. Your kids can set up obstacles and race around with spoons in their mouths, balancing the water balloon on the spoon, but if the balloon isn’t filled up enough, it won’t pop when it falls. If you’ve got them filled just right, this game can last the whole summer, since the rules and obstacle courses can be changed over time.
Bouncing Water Blob
Maybe you’re reading these options and can’t help but think about how your water bill is going to rise with all the repeated water play your kids will be doing this summer. The bouncing water blob may be just what you’re looking for.
This activity only requires a painter’s plastic sheeting and duct tape, as well as an iron. Cut the sheeting to whatever size blob you want to make, iron the sides shut to make a leak-free seal and then fill the sheet with water.
This activity is great because you can add food coloring or sparkles to the water to give your blob some character, and once it’s full, there’s no need to turn the hose back on. It can be used for a couple of days too — just store your blob somewhere cool when the kids finish bouncing around on it, so the water doesn’t evaporate too quickly.
Parents can trick their children into thinking doing chores is fun in a few ways, and washing the car in the summer is one of those ways. Car washes get the kids outside and moving. Lather on that sunscreen and blast some music to add to the bubbly fun! They’ll be rinsing off the car — and themselves — in no time.
Duck, Duck, Splash
For those kids who want to get outside and splash around but don’t feel like getting into a pool, there’s a new twist on a classic game.
Duck, Duck, Goose is a favorite for little kids, and when combined with some summer fun, it turns into Duck, Duck, Splash! The game is played the same way, except whoever is walking around the outside of the circle holds a jar of water. Whoever is picked as the “goose” gets water poured on their heads!
This game is sure to tire any kid out because of the sun and the game’s short sprints. If you limit their water usage to one big bucket, they know to take a break when their water runs out. Alternatively, you can make this game a challenge by saying that whenever someone gets tagged, they have to go jump in the pool. This new rule will narrow down the group to a single winner and keep the fun going even when the game ends.
With enough imagination and creativity, there are endless ways for any parent to find something fun for their kids to do in the water while the summer heat blazes on. If you ever come to a point where you feel like you can’t possibly come up with any other games, ask for their input! Kids are always creating new ways to play, and then you’ll have a game tailored to what your children like to do, and you won’t have to spend a whole lot of money to do it.