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Water fun

Updated: Oct 8, 2023

Growing up in Western Sydney the was one thing you could count on every year, as common as tracksuit pants and bad hair do's, were the scorching summer days. It wasn't uncommon to hit 40 degrees, where the tarmac started to melt and your glass compass would burn a hole through a leaf quicker than you could say "look mum, it's working." Most of us without pools were left to rely on the sprinkler for fun. Running back and forward and through its cool refreshing arch of freshness was a delight. And then there was that great invention known as Slip n Slide.

To run and dive headlong onto a thin plastic sheet covered in water and feel yourself slide along at breakneck speed towards the pool at the end. Pure joy. Made even better when detergent was splashed on it for extra slip or the yard had a nice gradient for extras speed.

For those lucky enough to have a pool, summer days were a delight. Ours came a little latter in our childhood but we rarely left it. The old above ground, aluminium special was a lifesaver. Dad had even built a pole across the top, inspired by the 80s show 'Its a knock out.' With plastic wrapped all around it to avoid splinters, it made for a slippery death trap as soon as water hit it, but we loved it. Armed with a pillow, (that when wet was like a cement bag) we edged our way across the pole and if by some miracle, we were both standing by the time we got to the middle we swung that weight with all our might to try and knock our opponent off the pole.

One thing has not changed, come summer time, water is still the best way to have some great fun. Here is a list of awesome games you can play in the sun with water and kids this summer;

1) End ball. Mark out an area about the size of a netball field. Divide into two teams. Fill a bunch of water balloons. Ensure you have a bucket full before starting. The objective is to get the water balloon to your end zone. You cannot move when you have the water balloon but can only throw it to someone else on your team. If you can throw it to someone in your end zone you score a point. If you drop it or it busts the other team start with the water balloon. Once you score give the water balloon to the other team to start off.

2) Over the river. You will need to mark out a rectangular area and divide it into three sections. Both end sections are for the two teams and the middle section is the river. Allow about 2 sqm per player. One team starts with a water balloon and throws it up and underarm from their square, over the river and into their opponents square. If the water balloon is caught and doesn't bust it is thrown back in the same fashion. If the water balloon busts as someone is catching it or lands in the opponents square, the team who the it gets a point. If it lands outside the square the receiving team gets a point. Play first to 10. For a variation play elimination where the player who burst the balloon or was closest to it when it landed in their square is removed.

3) Capture the flag (Waterballs). You will need to do some preparation for this one. It is also best if you have a larger group, perhaps 10 or more. And even better if you have a large play area. You will need two large buckets or bins set up on either side. Buckets need to be filled with water. You will need to cut up lots of sponges about 7-10 cm in size, or use cotton water balls. You want to have about 3-5 of these for each player. Divide the sponges / balls evenly and place them into each teams water buckets. You will need a small flag or shirt which acts as the object each team is trying to recover. The object of the game is to get the opponents flag and bring it back to your area. On "go," players move towards their opponent’s flag. At any time, a player can be 'shot,' by another player throwing their ball at them and hitting them. If a player is shot, they go to the ground and must stay there. They are not allowed to gather any balls (though can hold onto any they had before being shot). The only way to enter the game again is to be rescued by the doctor. The doctor simply has to touch them, and they are free to re-join the game. The President is another way you can win. If at any stage the president is hit, then the team that hit the president wins immediately. (Obviously the president needs to keep a low profile or have lots of protection). Alternatively you can play without the special roles and when a person is hit they return to their base or are eliminated.

Fill the bucket. You will need either two paper cups or two sponges for this game. Divide kids into two groups and line them up next to an empty bucket. Each group has their own empty bucket. 10-15 metres away have another large bucket filled with water. On go, the first person in each line runs to the water bucket and either fills their cup or soaks their sponge, and runs back and empties it into their empty bucket. Once emptied they give the cup or sponge to the next person in line who does the same. After a set time see who is the winner by the team that has collected the most water. Alternatively you can mark a line on the players buckets and see who is first to reach that line.

Drip Drip Drop. One for the little ones. Same rules as Duck Duck goose. All kids are seated in a circle and one child is IN standing on the outside of the circle with a cup full of water. This child moves around the group allowing just a drip of water to fall on kids heads as they say 'drip' for each child they pass. Eventually they will get to one child and say 'drop' and pour the rest of the cup over their head or squeeze their sponge out. At this, the seated child jumps to their feet and tries to chase the person who was in. The person who was in has to make a lap of the circle and sit in the place of the one they poured the water over. The chaser has to try and tag them before they make that lap and sit down. Whatever happens the person who chased is now in for the next round.

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