Fill large balloons with water, knot them, then use a short length of string to tie them to tree branches or a clothesline, suggests Michelle Bachman of Little Miss Party, a party-planning firm in New York City. (Note: Cheapie balloons work best for this; they’re easier to pop.) Then grab a Wiffle Ball bat and take turns being the blindfolded hitter. Instead of candy, you’ll all get a nice, refreshing shower!
Super-cool discovery: When you get regular sidewalk chalk wet, it transforms into a watercolor-like paint. Start by drawing circles of color on the driveway or sidewalk with the chalk, and then swirl a wet paintbrush into it to create the “paint.” After the kiddos are done admiring their work, all you have to do is hose it—and your little Picassos— down. When has painting ever been this mess-free?
Water balloons are fun, but sponge balls are a total blast! “These spiky guys are easy to make, don’t hurt when they hit their target, and ‘refilling’ them is as simple as tossing them into a bucket of water,” says Meredith Sinclair, author of Well Played: The Ultimate Guide to Awakening Your Family’s Playful Spirit. How to make them: Pick up a bunch of sponges from a dollar store. Stack three on top of one another, and cut them lengthwise into three strips. Cinch them in the middle with a rubber band, then fan out the strips to create a ball shape. Fill up a bucket of water, dunk them in, then fire away! Or make a game out of it by placing two buckets throwing-distance apart. Divide into teams, and stand behind the buckets, taking turns chucking sponge bombs into the opposite one. The team that gets the most in the bucket wins! Whether your kids get a direct swish or miss, they’re bound to get wet in the process.
For this silly race, fill up a bunch of water balloons and split them between two buckets at your starting line. Then put two beach chairs at the opposite end of the lawn. Ready to relay? Break into two teams and have the first person in each one grab a water balloon, run to the chair, and sit down on the balloon until it pops. Then dash back to the starting line and tag the next person to go. If a player drops the balloon before sitting on it, he must go back and get a new one. The first team to pop all of their balloons wins.