Having the kids spending more time home during the summer puts an added responsibility on moms to try and come up with ways to entertain them. Moreover, the months in which they are out of school are the hottest of the year in many regions of the United States. This adds more pressure for moms to not only come up with ways to entertain the kids, but to do it in a way that cools them off.
There are a number of backyard games that include water as a major source of entertainment. During the sizzling days of summer, there is nothing like getting drenched with water as a relief against the heat.
Water balloons are a great source of fun for the kids.
History of the Water Balloon
Water balloons, also known as water bombs, are simply latex rubber balloons filled with water. The balloons are used in water balloon wars in which kids throw the balloons at each other. In addition, water balloons are used to play Water Balloon Dodge ball.
Michael Faraday, a British scientist who contributed to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry invented the rubber balloon in the first half of the 19th century.
British inventor Edgar Ellington invented the water balloon in 1950 as he unsuccessfully tried to create a latex and cotton waterproof sock as a cure for trench foot, a disease caused by prolonged exposure of feet to damp, unsanitary, and cold conditions. While trying to prove that the sock was waterproof, he filled it with water and it leaked. He then threw the water-filled sock on a table and it exploded. As a result, he marketed the concept to children.
Filling a rubber balloon with water is actually a simple task. The process can be performed at any faucet inside or outside the home or even using a garden hose.
Several types of nozzles (also known as loaders) specifically designed for filling balloons with water are available at toy or party equipment stores. These nozzles are available in a variety of sizes including ¾-inch (1.9 cm), which is standard in the U.S., or non-threaded styles called filling funnels. These types of nozzles may be somewhat difficult to use. Some nozzles include a valve that permits the user to turn the water source on or off as needed.
In addition, to nozzles, you can find water balloon filling stations that include nozzles or valves or use plumbing fixtures. What is great about these stations when kids are supplying themselves with water bombs is that they may include more than one nozzle or valves.
Water balloon fights are not just limited to the kids. The college set also performs such activities. In fact, Guinness World Records preserves records for largest water balloon fights. The current record holder is the University of Kentucky Christian Student Fellowship, a campus ministry of the Christian churches and churches of Christ.
Other previous record holders include:
|LOCATION||DATE||NO. OF PARTICIPANTS||NO. OF BALLOONS|
|Coogee, New South Wales -Australia||April 2006||3,000||55,000|
|University of Kentucky Christian Student Fellowship||August 2008||2,744||58,000|
|Brigham Young University||July 2010||3,927||120,000|
|University of Kentucky Christian Student Fellowship||August 2011||8,957||175,141|
|University of Kentucky Christian Student Fellowship||August 2012||11,622||236,484|
One type of water balloon war game is water balloon dodge ball.
Water Balloon Dodge Ball
Items required to play water balloon dodge ball include:
- At least five water balloons per person
- Buckets or large tubs
- Cones or markers
There is some preparation necessary before playing the game. This includes:
- Placing a couple of cones at each end of the play area.
- Filling up water balloons and placing them in buckets. It is suggested that the buckets be filled with water to prevent the balloons from bursting.
- Placing the buckets in the center of the play area.
The rules of water balloon dodge ball are very simple.
- All players except one stand at one end of the play area behind the cones. The one player who is not part of the group stands in the center of the play area next to the bucket of water balloons.
- Mom shouts “Go!” The players then run to the other end of the play area while the thrower tosses water balloons at them.
- Players who get hit with a balloon before reaching the other end of the play area are out of the game.
- Repeat the process from the other end of the play area.
The winner of the game is the remaining player who is not hit with a balloon.
Other games that feature water balloons include:
- Water Piñatas. Players hit hanging water balloons with a stick.
- Water Balloon Toss. Two play the game. It starts off with the competitors standing close together and playing toss and catch with a water balloon. If the balloon doesn’t break, then the players take a step back and continue the game. Play continues until the balloon breaks when a player attempts to catch it.
- Water Balloon Catch. Use the belly portion of your shirt to catch and throw the balloon.
- Water Balloon Shot Put. Each player takes turns shot putting water balloons. The player who shot puts a balloon furthest wins.
- Water Balloon Tag. Played like tag, the player who is “it” throws water balloons at other players. The player who is hit and the balloon breaks is then “it.”
- Water Balloon Volleyball. Two teams consisting of two players each holds the opposite end of a towel and use it to catch and throw a water balloon over a net.
Another cool form of entertainment on a hot day is dunk bucket. This game is often seen at county fairs and school carnivals. However, it can also be played in the backyard of a home.
First known as African Dodger, dunk bucket began as an American carnival game played in the late 19th century to the mid-1940s. An African-American stuck his head through a hole in a curtain and he would try to dodge balls thrown at him. Because people were seriously injured or even killed after being struck, the game evolved into “African Dip” in which a player throws a ball at a target and if the target is hit, a person who was suspended over a tank of water would drop in.
Items needed to play the game include:
- A chair
- A 5-gallon bucket filled with water suspended over the chair
- Tennis balls
Some preparation is necessary to suspend the bucket over the chair. You will need the following items to construct a platform on which the bucket is suspended:
There are 6 steps in the construction of a platform from which the bucket is suspended.
- Take a plank of wood and cut out the target
- Take another plank of wood and cut out a base that will hold the 5-gallong bucket.
- Attach hinges to attach the bucket to a tree.
- Attach the target to the tree
- Use washers or other mechanical device to hold the bucket up
- Use the pipe as a delivery method to supply water to the bucket
A player sits on the chair as the other player throws tennis balls at the target. When the target is hit, the support for the bucket falls away and the water from inside the bucket spills on the player in the chair.