15 Competitive Water Balloon Games for Teens, Kids, and Youth Active Play

During a hot summer day, fun water balloon games are a great way for the kids to beat the heat.

After much research, I’ve compiled the best list of water balloon games for teens and older kids that I could possibly find. They’re perfect for birthday parties, youth group activities, summer camps, family reunions, Vacation Bible School or just for fun. Even the adults who don’t mind getting wet can join in. (Those other adults probably don’t read my posts anyhow.)

15 best competitive water balloon games for teens, kids, youth activities. Red water balloons in bowl. Press Print Party

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Most of these fun games require very little prep except for filling up the water balloons. But you may need some buckets and towels on hand too.

At the bottom of the post I also go into several cool water balloon related products that you may want to try.

1- The Water Balloon Towel Relay Game.

For this game you’ll need plenty of water balloons, as many buckets as teams and a few beach towels. This is a great water game that we’ve played at several of our birthday parties.

Separate the party guests into teams. For each team, you’ll need one water balloon thrower at one end of the game area and a bucket at the other end. In the middle, place groups of two guests holding a towel from each end. Each group holding a towel will be restricted to a small area that they can’t leave.

The object of the game is to throw a water balloon into the first towel, then have the two people that are holding that towel by the edges toss their balloon into the towel next to them. That process continues, with the members not allowed to move their feet until the final pair can toss their balloon into the bucket.

The further each pair of towel holders are from one another the greater the chance for wild, balloon popping chaos. So adjust accordingly.

birthday party game for team and large group. water balloon towel relay game. Press Print Party

2- The water balloon back-to-back race

In this very fun game, team members pair up and try to hold a water balloon between their backs without bursting it. The goal is to take it to the finish line and drop it gently into a bucket. You can have the same people repeat the process, or play it as a relay game. The team to have the most balloons in a given amount of time wins. You could also say that the first team with 10 balloons in their bucket wins.

water balloon games back to back race take water balloon into a bucket Press Print Party

3- The water balloon toss game

In this super simple game kids pair up and toss a water balloon carefully back and forth. After each successful toss, each kid steps back and tries it again. You can play this game with just two people or in teams of two. The goal is to be the team farthest from each other when the balloon finally bursts. You could add some difficulty (and great hilarity) to this game by rubbing the participants’ hands with a bit of hand soap.

water balloon game 2 kids tossing the water balloon - Press Print Party!

4- The water balloon colander toss

This game is played in teams of 2 where 1 team member holds a colander on their head and the other team member tosses as many balloons as they can into the colander. To make sure the kids get totally soaked you can add a little bit of sandpaper to the bottom of the colander. Whichever team has successfully tossed the greatest number of water balloons into their teammates’ colander wins.

water balloon game colander toss. Press print Party

5- The water balloon roll race

This one can be difficult depending on the type of ground you’re playing on. Kids race each other trying to roll a water balloon all the way to the finish line. If the balloon pops, kids have to go back to the start line for the new water balloon. A nice long stretch of concrete is probably the best ground for this as water balloons may pop too easily on a lawn.

water balloon roll race girl at starting line. Press Print Party

6- The water balloons relay race

Divide the kids into teams and line them up. One at a time, kids try to burst water balloons by sitting on them. You can place the water balloons scattered on the ground or have a chair ready for each team with an adult adding a new balloon on the seat for each player. If you don’t want the kids to get their behinds all wet, you could also have them stomp on the balloons instead.

You can time this game or stop when the first team pops all their balloons.

water balloon relay race kids popping balloons sitting on them. Press Print Party

7- The water balloon spoon race relay

Just like a spoon race where the participants would balance an egg on a tablespoon, this game will require dexterity. You’ll also probably need to use bigger plastic or wooden spoons. Kids race alone or in relay teams balancing the water balloon on top of a spoon. A paper plate is a good alternative to a spoon as the water balloons tend to precariously waddle on them.

water balloons games for hot days. spoon race relay. Press Print Party!

8- Water balloon towel volleyball

Set up a volleyball net with two people on each side holding a towel between them. The goal is to use the towel to toss a water balloon over the net and to the other team. Just as in regular volleyball, count missed shots as points for the tossing team.

water balloon game for teens and kids towel volleyball - Press Print Party!

9- The water balloon Balancing Act obstacle course

Why not make a typical obstacle course a little more challenging by having the party guests balance a water balloon on their heads while going through it. Kids could also balance the water balloon on a paper plate or even a wooden spoon while going through the obstacle course.

water balloon obstacle course. games for kids and teens. Press Print Party

10- Water balloon darts

Use hula hoops on the ground to make targets, each worth a designated number of points. Have kids throw their water balloons and keep track of their score. Using a hula hoop is much better than drawing targets with sidewalk chalk, as the chalk would just run and disappear. Get creative with your targets, buckets, pots, rope, or a garden hose are all target material. With enough rope, you could even make a giant water balloon dartboard!

water balloon darts. water balloon games for teens and kids. Press Print Party

11- Water balloon dodge ball

Divide players in 2 teams, place a line in the middle and a territory line for each team 5 to 6 yards away. Place buckets or a kiddy pool filled with water balloons on the middle line.

Start the game with each team in their territories. When the game starts, every player goes and grabs a water balloon from the center line but has to go back to their territory before they can throw it to the opposite team. If a player is hit, he’s out. If a player from team A catches a balloon without it breaking, the player from team B who threw the water balloon is out and one already out player from team A can come back in.

Of course the players will have to reload by crossing their territory line and grab more water balloons making them vulnerable. The winning team is the one who eliminates all the players on the other team first.

Chaos and much laughter is sure to ensue in this fun water balloon challenge.

12- Water balloon hot potato

 Place the kids in a circle and pass a water balloon around until the music stops. Whoever is left with the balloon is out and has to pop it on their head. Start again with a new balloon until only one person is left.

13- Water balloon Duck Duck Goose

Have the kids sit in a circle and place a bucket of water balloons in the middle. One person starts outside the circle with a water balloon in their hand. They walk around calling each duck just like the traditional style of the game but they choose a goose by popping the balloon on the goose’s head. The goose, rather than running, has to pick up a water balloon from the bucket and try to hit the person that “goosed” them. If they miss they’re now the “Picker” and the person who picked them can take a seat. But if they hit the “Picker” the goose gets to return to their soggy seat and the “Picker” goes back to work.

14- Water balloons musical chairs

Put a twist on the classic musical chairs game. Place chairs in a circle facing out, one less than the number of participants. Start the music and have the kids walk in a circle around the chairs. While the music is playing, place a water balloon on one (or several) of the chairs. When the music stops, the player who can’t quickly sit on a chair is out. Repeat the game as usual taking one chair away each turn. The water balloons are there just for fun and laughs. 

15- Water balloon fight

Don’t you just love those new water balloon contraptions that fill 100 balloons at once! I remember the time when you had to fill them one by one! Oh the agony!

Filling up water balloon fast with bunch o balloons. red water balloons for water balloon games for kids. Press Print Party

So now you can fill a whole bunch of water balloons in no time and let those sweet crazy kids have at it. If you have some water guns, get those out and fill some buckets with water for easy reloading. Everybody will get soaked and have a great time doing it. Our party games always degenerate into a wild water balloon fight at the end. It’s nearly descended into a wrestling match once or twice. But it’s a ton of fun and the teens now expect it.

Keep in mind you could also soap up the balloons or the kids hands for more hilarious fun. Just be careful of all the slipping around.

Clever Water balloon clean up

The best way to clean up is to make it a game. I so wish I had done that at my last party. I’m still finding little water balloon parts around my yard a couple months later.

One way would be to ask the teams to pick up broken balloon pieces and the team with the most pieces gets first dibs at the ice cream!

At one church picnic, where water gun and water balloon fights are a staple, one dad kept guard on the water balloons and traded each filled balloon for 2 pieces of burst balloons. It was genius!

Water Balloons and related fun products

These water balloon products are sure to bring your water balloon fights to new heights.

I think you’ll agree that the Bunch of balloons products are just genius. They revolutionized the water balloon fight world! No more sore fingers!!! They’re easy, fast to fill, and self-sealing, making any water balloon activity a breeze. They come in all sorts of different colors creating a vibrant pile of balloons.

This individual water balloon slingshot launcher will make you feel like a regular Robin Hood for sure.

This bigger slingshot launcher can be used for water balloons as well as snowballs! You can use it by yourself or with 3 people and use it like a catapult. The fight possibilities are endless!

If you don’t want to buy water balloons over and over again, these reusable water balls may be a good option to try.

These water balloon game ideas are the perfect reason to get outside on a hot day. You may also enjoy my super fun summer bucket list ideas and free summer bucket list printable.

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