You can make your youngster's birthday party a splash or keep him from moping about indoors all summer long with a multitude of water-themed activities in your own backyard wet-and-wild zone. Stay cool and keep the kids busy for hours even if you’re building a water park on a budget. Between splashing, spraying and soaking, your water lover will be waterlogged long before he's ready to head back inside.
Suspend water balloons from climbers, monkey bars or pergolas. Use string or curling ribbon to string up the balloons and then have your young guests do their best to make them break like pinatas. When the kids are finished popping the hanging balloons, hand them each a bucket of water balloons for a wet game of dodge ball. If you've run out of balloons, use wet sponges for dodge ball instead.
Make a large sprinkler structure from PVC pipe for the kids to run and ride through. If you don’t have PVC pipe, look for a sprinkler that jiggles, wiggles or changes directions instead.
Arrange a few inflatable pools side by side and fill each about two-thirds full of water. Add a different food coloring to each one. Place spray bottles and water guns around the pools and a sign that says "Refilling Station." If you don't want the kids using each other as targets, make some from aluminum pans. Make an "X" in the middle of each one with duct tape and suspend the pans from trees and fences.
Set up two more inflatable pools away from the food coloring pools and fill these with water and water toys, such as inflatable marine animals, boats and plastic cups. Alternatively, set up children’s slides and arrange each one so the kids can slide into the pools.
Fill a large water dispenser with bubble solution and place it on an outdoor table. Fill the rest of the table with bubble trays and a variety of different bubble toys and wands for your guests.
Lay out a soaker slide or make one yourself from plastic sheeting and baby shampoo. Just lay out the sheeting, moisten the slide with the shampoo and wet it down regularly. Instead of shampoo you can keep a sprinkler spraying on the homemade slide instead. Have an adult stay with the soaker slide to help prevent collisions.
Rent an inflatable water slide or an inflatable water play structure.
Set up a volleyball net with a volleyball that connects to a water hose for older kids.
Set up a water play mat for toddlers. It sprays a little water, but does not accumulate so it’s a safer water play choice for youngsters than a wading pool.