Water Nights are great events for kids, their friends, and the community to get together for a night all about having fun and building friendships (and getting soaking wet, of course)! We love to do it as a kick-off event for the summer on a Wednesday night, and we call it "School's Out Water Night". The kids always look forward to it and invite their friends to join in on the fun. Before we get into all the fun water activities, I wanted to share a few tips I have learned about setting up for an awesome water event. It's not as simple as throwing a hose and baby pool outside, and if you don't prepare with an adequate amount of time you may end up unprepared for the kids when they arrive.
Set-up time and effort will definitely vary depending on what you plan on doing during your event. If you're renting inflatables, you'll want to make sure you have the proper amount of hoses and hook-ups needed for the inflatable and any other water activities you have planned. We rented two water inflatables which needed hose hookups, so that meant that we needed one long hose to get from the spicket to the inflatables, two small hoses (one to each inflatable), and two more small hoses for our other activities. We purchased a four-hose splitter from Home Depot for about $15 and it was worth it's weight in gold. If you are planning on using baby pools for your games/activities you will want to make sure you have several hours planned for inflating and filling the pools. I would suggest using an automatic air pump or hand pump unless you have lungs of steel for inflating your baby pools. We had four baby pools we were using and it took about two hours to get them inflated and filled for the event.
Many times, a water night means lots of water balloons and water toys. Make sure you have enough large buckets (laundry basket-size) to hold all your water balloons, and smaller buckets for whatever games you have planned. We actually had more water balloons than we had buckets this year. (There's a first time for everything). We always provide extra towels, sunscreen, and cold water bottles for the kids. Make sure you have your towels and sunscreen laid out on a table that is accessible to the kids and leaders, and fill a cooler with ice and water bottles to keep everyone hydrated. Lastly, if you are planning on filling water balloons or making sponge bombs (more on those later), you will want to allow enough time for that. The sponge bombs can be made any time, but you will not want to fill your water balloons until roughly one hour before you plan on using them. This makes sure they don't pop before the kids get a chance to play with them. You absolutely NEED these Bunch-O-Balloons we bought for this event. Check out the video below. I used to spend hours filling up water balloons, and I was able to fill up 700 water balloons in a matter of minutes. We bought the packages of 100 balloons at Wal-Mart for $7.99.
[playlist type="video" tracklist="false" ids="871"]
We always get a great deal on a couple water inflatable rentals with a local rental company. My suggestion is to find a place that has great selection, prices, and customer service, and give them all of your business. The more loyal of a customer you are to them, the better service and discounts you tend to receive in return. Our kids had a blast on these inflatables. They were a great way to start the night off big, and a nice activity in-between games and relay races.
1. Baby Pool Kickball
The kids loved this game so much that we played it a lot longer than the allotted 15 minutes. We bought a giant beach ball from Wal-Mart for $5 that was about 2 1/2 feet tall inflated, and it was (surprisingly) very durable. This game is played just like kickball, but with baby pools filled with water as the bases, and a giant beach ball as the kickball. The great thing about this game is that if you have smaller kids who don't understand the game they can just hang out in the baby pools and splash around while the older kids play.
2. Water Balloon Baseball
This game is played just like baseball, but with a very wet twist. You will need a big plastic bat and a lot of water balloons for this game. Instead of hitting a baseball, the kids will be trying to hit water balloons. You will use the baby pools for your bases in this game as well. The kids playing outfield will have buckets of water balloons, and will try to hit the person running to the bases with a water balloon to get them out.
3. Water Bomb Dodgeball
Before I explain how this game works, I have to tell you about how awesome sponge bombs are, and how easy they are to make. I found this idea on Pinterest, and all you need is a bunch of colorful kitchen sponges (the ones without the rough side), some scissors, and some rubber bands. You simply cut each sponge into three even vertical pieces, gather nine pieces together, and band them together with a rubber band. You will want to make sure the rubber band is very tight so they don't fall apart when kids are throwing them at each other. Once you have the sponge pieces banded together, just move the pieces around to make them look good. We made about 40 sponge bombs, but I don't think you can have too many. They hold lots of water, and are re-usable. We decided to play a game of dodgeball using our sponge bombs. It's just like regular dodgeball, but with the sponge bombs as the balls. The kids also played with these sponge bombs before and after the event. They were a huge hit.
Water Balloon Games:
1. Water Balloon Squat
We had originally planned to play this game with two teams, but had so many kids we decided to make four teams to keep the game moving and exciting. You will need enough buckets of balloons for each team to have a bucket and a hula hoop to place at the end of the course for each team. The kids will race one-by-one down to the bucket, grab a water balloon, run down to the hoop, and sit on the balloon to pop it. The game ends when all the water balloons are popped or when every kid has completed the course. Just a tip, don't put your hoops on the grass unless you want the balloons to pop on contact. Our game ended up being throw the water balloon in the hoop, but the kids still seemed to love it so that's all that matters.
2. Water Balloon Head Smash
This relay race is played just like the previous one, but with the kids smashing the water balloons into their heads to break them before running back to their teams. The kids love getting soaked during this game, and it was a lot of fun for all of the leaders and adults to watch.
3. Water Balloon Fight
We ended the water games with a traditional water balloon fight with all the left over water balloons. Nothing beats a good old fashioned water balloon fight!
Here in Texas, we love our snow cones! What better food is there for a water night in 90 degree temperatures? We bought 2 party packs from our local Bahama Bucks with 6 flavors for the kids to choose from. It was a great way to end our School's Out Water Night.
Cleaning up after a water event can be awful. Picking up all 700 balloons off the ground, retrieving all the little water toys and sponge bombs from all over the lawn, and deflating all those baby pools and inflatable toys can take forever. However, it doesn't have to be so bad. We told all the kids who had not been picked up yet that whoever cleaned up the most trash and toys would receive a prize. It is amazing what the motivation of winning a prize can do. We also left our baby pools with the plugs open outside to deflate overnight. We were all cleaned up and ready to leave about 45 minutes after the event was supposed to end.
We had a blast at this year's School's Out Water Night. Here's the full schedule for the night if you are interested: School's Out Water Night 2015 Schedule. Does your church do any water events during the summer? I would love to hear what your kids' favorite water games/activities are.