Each month, topics in this column alternate between cool, new places to go and family-friendly activities to try at home. This month, we have super fun games to get your kids super soaked. Stay cool, Austin!


We get it. It’s hot. And there doesn’t appear to be any relief in sight. But that doesn’t mean you have to hide out inside until the temperatures drop. You don’t need a swimming pool. All you need is a hose or access to water, and you can enjoy hours of fun in the sun. Here are a few water-based play ideas to get you going.

Water Balloon Toss: Everybody loves this one. You can find small balloons designed just for this purpose at your local party supply or big box store. Smaller kids might need help tying knots. Once you have a supply of balloons, you can pair up. If you have an odd number, form a triangle. Start close to make it easy. Then have each person take a step back with each successful catch. As the distance grows, so does the difficulty, and when a balloon bursts, the ‘loser’ becomes a ‘winner’ and is rewarded with a cool splash of water. Everybody wins!

Water Bucket Race: This is a favorite at YMCA Summer Day Camp. Add a water bucket race to your next backyard party or play date. Line up the kids into teams. Fill two buckets with water and place two empty ones 20-30 feet away. Every person gets a cup. Have each player fill a cup and run carefully to dump the liquid into an empty one, trying not to spill any. Then run back to the full bucket for another turn. The team that empties their bucket first wins.

Water Blaster Tag: Equip your kids with their favorite water blaster and let them have at each other for a water battle royale. You can designate areas or zones for a team (like dodge ball), or you can let them find hiding spots or run free. Bottom line is that you’re out when your shirt is wet, and the clothes don’t lie! If you want a water-based version of paint ball, have everyone wear white t-shirts and add two different food colors to the water to create two teams. Last color standing, wins. As a variation for smaller kids, you can use small spray bottles.

Sprinkler Freeze Tag: Sprinklers are another fun way to play in the water. Have the kids run and dance around the turned-off sprinkler while you stand by the faucet. Turn the water on, and players must freeze (yes, in the spray) until you turn it back off again. Any player that moves while the water is on (no matter how cold the water) is out!



Families can enjoy free water fun at all YMCA of Austin locations throughout August by taking advantage of Sunday Family Fundays on Saturdays at the North Austin YMCA. The Y is open for the entire community to splash in the pool, play in the air-conditioned gymnasium or enjoy a variety of special activities. Find more information at austinymca.org/summer-fun.


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