Having trouble finding a pool for summer camp, or can’t get a lifeguard to keep your youth safe? Here are some great games your youth can play to keep cool and have fun on dry land!
SOAKED SPONGE GAMES
Soaked-Sponge Toss – Youth hold a hoola-hoop at their waste while other students throw soaked sponges to see how many they can get in. To change the challenge-level and increase the fun, try having the youth stand at different distances or use smaller hoops, or small buckets filled with water. This can be done in pairs or teams.
Items List: large sponges, hoola-hoop, buckets with water (to replenish sponges).
Sponge Tag – Played like regular tag, youth form two teams, a few who are “it” and most of the students who are not it. Instead of tagging, youth have to use a soaked sponge and squish it against a student’s back, arm or shoulder.
Items List: Large sponges, buckets of water (to replenish sponges).
Soaked Sponge Relay – Youth form two or more teams. Each team lines up behind a starting line, and youth run with a sponge, one at a time, to a water bucket. Once there, they have to soak the sponge, and then they run back to their team to trade off the sponge to complete the relay. The next youth runs to the bucket, and the process repeats. The object of the game is to get back to the first person who ran the fastest. A neat twist to this game is to keep an empty bucket at the starting line, and the team with the most water in the bucket after all their team members run or fills it first wins.
Items List: Sponges youth can run with easily, two buckets.
Sponge Toss – Youth form teams, and each team then forms a zig-zag line with youth standing about 10 feet apart. The first youth in the line has any number of sponges and a water bucket. The youth grabs one soaked sponge at a time and tosses it to the person across from them in a zig-zag manner. Once the sponge reaches the bucket at the other end, the last youth in line yells, “NEXT!” and the first student can start again with the next sponge. The goal of the game is to get all the soaked sponges in the bucket at the end of the zig-zag line first. To up the challenge level of this game, have youth form smaller teams, use one hand only, or spread the youth out farther (or all three).
Items List: Sponges youth can throw easily, two buckets.
Toy Wash – This is a great activity for lower elementary youth. Just like a car wash, have the youth take their larger, water resistant toys outside for a good cleaning.
Items List: Sponges, buckets, soap, toys. Hoses optional.
*Remember, losing or winning teams, can get “sponged” or “soaked,” whichever your youth choose.*
Double-Dare Water Relay – Youth form teams, and each group for each team needs a bucket with water. Acrosss the playing field is an empty bucket. The first player gets a large plastic cup or small/medium sized plastic container that has small holes punched in the bottom. The youth dunk the container in the bucket, fill it with water, and then they run to the empty bucket with the container over their head. Once the youth dumps the water into the bucket, they have to run back to their team and exchange with the next person in line. The goal is to fill the empty bucket first.
Items List: Large Cup/Plastic Container, buckets
Drip, Drip, DROP! – This game is like “Duck-Duck-Goose.” Youth form a circle, and one student is “it.” The student who is it walks around the circle holding a cup of water saying, “Drip, Drip, Drip…” When they select a student, they say, “DROP!” and pour the water on their head. The youth then chases the pourer around the circle.
Items List: Cups, Bucket (for water to refill the cup).
Squirt-Bottle Tag – This game is tag, except instead of youth touching each other, they have to squirt them with a squirt bottle. To make the game more challenging, have youth wear a target that has to get soaked (a piece of paper safety-pinned to their shirt can work).
Items List – Squirt Bottles, Buckets (to refill bottles), Paper, Safety Pins
Water Balloon Baseball – This game isn’t about scoring runs. A steady pitcher tosses water balloons to a batter. Either they hit it and get soaked, or the steady catcher is there to keep it from possibly breaking. This is a great game for the steady catcher, so it might need to be swapped out for another student regularly. Expect lots of wet feet.
Items List – Water Balloons, Wiffle Ball Bat.
Fill It Up! – Youth form pairs. One youth has a small cup or bucket, and the other has a squirt bottle. The idea is to have the students stand 5 feet apart or farther, and try to fill the cup with the squirt bottle. The pair that fills the cup first wins.
Items List – Squirt Bottles, Cups (with a line on them).
Water Balloon Toss – Youth toss a water balloon back and forth until it breaks. Have youth start standing three feet apart. Each time they catch it successfully, they take a big step backward. Repeat; the first team that gets 10 steps apart wins.
Items List – Water balloons.
Soaked Paper Fashion – Youth work in teams to soak pages of newsprint, paper bags, etc. to create a fabric. They apply the soaked fabric to a student to create different fashions. Youth can take turns as the model.
Items List – Buckets with Water, Lots of Paper.
What water games do your campers play that do not require a pool? Feel free to leave them in the comments!
By Tyler Richendollar