A Summer Spin on 5 Traditional Sports

splashing water balloons

It's that time of year again: summer! And quite frankly, being outside can feel like you're melting. If you have an active child or you like to spend a lot of time outside, the heat can be overwhelming and discouraging.

These summer spins on some traditional sports will prevent overheating, but they are also super fun! So, whether you're planning a day outside for the kids or a silly grown-up gathering, these games should do just the trick—assuming no one has a problem with getting a little wet!

1. Water Balloon Basketball

She shoots, she's soaked! The crowd goes wild! It can't get more fun than water balloon basketball. This is an activity that works for every age group and every size hoop.

How to Play

  1. Get yourself a device for filling up water balloons (a funnel works just fine), and fill a bucket full of water balloons.
  2. Everyone lines up under the hoop horizontally—one person will be directly under the hoop with an even number of people on each side.
  3. One person will throw the water balloon at a time. The person throwing the water balloon will then try to get it through the hoop. If the person gets it in the hoop, he or she gets a point.
  4. Then, the line rotates. The last person to throw the water balloon goes to the end of the line, and the person in front gets a turn.
  5. Play for a designated time (or until people start to get bored... or cold), and tally up the score to announce the winner!

This is a game where everyone gets a turn and everyone gets to stay cool! Plus, there's the added anticipation of wondering who the balloon will explode on or near and who will get soaked—fun and refreshing!

Bonus: You can also play HORSE for a more competitive, one-on-one version.

2. Tennis Water Bombs

You know those balls that you use for a great splash in the pool? They're usually made of a foam or sponge-like material, while the outside is lined with fabric. These are great for absorbing water—and hitting with a tennis racket!

How to Play

  1. Simply take a bucket to your tennis court. Fill the bucket with water and plenty of water bombs.
  2. If you have a large group of people, arrange everyone in a big circle. Each person gets a racket or paddle to hit with.
  3. Each person gets a turn trying to hit the water bomb across the circle to another player. Then, the circle rotates so that each player gets a turn next to the water bucket of splash bombs.

This is a game that will surely make a splash as each player wonders if the splash bomb will hit them next.

Bonus: This is a great way to practice your serve while staying cool. Just fill up a bucket and hit the splash bombs against a wall. You might not get as soaked, but you'll keep from overheating while practicing, as you can squeeze the balls over your head when you start to feel the heat.

3. Wild Water Triathlon

The common triathlon might look like a combination of running, swimming, and biking, but that doesn't sound like much fun in the summer heat. Try this spin on the classic athletic event.

How to Play

  1. View it as an obstacle course of sorts. Set up stations where every participant has to complete one task before moving on to the next.
  2. The run: Set up a curvy path for participants to follow as they run toward a homemade misting fan. Consider using marking paint, which can be found at your local hardware store, to create a clear path.You could even turn your running route into a maze if you want! Go crazy, knowing the marking paint will wash away with the next rainy day.
  3. The swim: Fill a kiddie pool with water balloons and ice-cold water. Use a sharpie to mark balloons with shapes—squares, circles, triangles, etc. Make sure you have a good amount of each shape so that this task doesn't turn into a fool's errand for anyone playing. Participants should then get into the pool and splash around to find three water balloons marked with the same shape. They must then smash all three balloons over their heads before moving on to the next round.
  4. The bike: Bust out all of the wheeled objects around the house (skateboards, bicycles, tricycles, etc), and have the triathletes ride a straight line while the sprinklers spray over their path. The path can be marked with paint or lined with sprinklers. The path will lead to...
  5. The Finish Line: You can use caution tape with water balloons tied on to create a finish line that will cool everyone off.

Bonus: If you have enough space, you could create two courses for players to compete against one another. Or, you can set up only one course and use a stopwatch to keep time. Then, reward the winner with a yummy frozen treat!

4. Water Balloon Dodgeball

For some, dodgeball is a dreadful game that brings back memories of getting pegged on the side of the head in gym class. But, what if the ball was just a water balloon?

How to Play

  1. Be sure to play this sport on a surface that can get wet; it isn't ideal for painted concrete areas that get slippery easily. Set up cones to mark each end of the dodgeball field. Four cones should be plenty. Then, fill up water balloons and place them in a bucket of water. Place the bucket in the center of the playing area.
  2. Players line up at one end of the field, except for one who stands with the bucket in the middle. You should also have a person as referee.
  3. When the referee gives the signal, either by yelling "Go" or blowing a whistle, the lined up players will try to run to the other end of the field while the person in the middle tries to hit them with water balloons. Any person who is hit with a water balloon is out and must sit down.
  4. Any remaining players who have reached the opposite end of the field should then run back once the referee gives the signal. This will go on until the last person is standing. This person then replaces the one in the middle, and the game can start all over (if you've got enough balloons left).

The best part of this version is that it doesn't involve teams, so no one will feel bad for being picked last. And if you start to run low on water balloons mid-game, players that have been tagged out can help restock.

Bonus: Use a water gun instead of water balloons. Have the person in the middle try to shoot players with water as they run back and forth

5. Water Balloon Piñata

OK, so this isn't a sport per se, but let's pretend it is a weird baseball piñata hybrid.

How to Play

  1. Fill multiple small and large balloons with water. You can even vary the shapes and sizes as you see fit. But also fill some balloons with air. Arrange a mix of air-filled and water-filled balloons in a chandelier-like pattern with string, and hang the final product from a tree or pole (away from the house).
  2. Instead of taking a bat to the water piñata, attach a thin, slightly pointed stick to the end of a pool noodle.
  3. Have a designated person to blindfold each player and place them under the waterballoon piñata.
  4. Then, the designated person should spin the player around three times before he or she starts to pike up at the chandelier.
  5. Each player gets three pokes before they go to the back of the line. If a person hits a balloon before the three tries is up, he or she goes to the back of the line.

The suspense of popping an air-filled balloon or a water-filled balloon is only half the fun. The best part is getting doused with water on a hot summer day! It's shocking because you don't see it coming, but it will definitely cool you off!

Bonus: Instead of mixing balloon types, make the chandelier with all regular balloons and only one water balloon. Then, the game will really be suspenseful as players constantly wonder who is going to get drenched!

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