After a long winter all cooped up in the house, summertime means lots and lots of time spent outside. As the heat of summer sets in, there's nothing quite as fun, easy, frugal and versatile as water balloons! Here are a few ideas.

Water balloon wars

Fill a bunch of them beforehand and pile them up in a cooler, laundry basket or even a garbage bag. An Independance Day tradition in my family includes pulling them out at the end of the family barbecue, every-man-for-himself style. But teams and boundaries can also be a lot of fun.

Water balloon volleyball

Set up two teams of 2-8 people each, a net (or a rope strung up), a towel for each pair, and a bunch of filled water balloons. Each couple grabs a towel and holds two of the corners. Place a water balloon in the center of the towel and then work together to toss it over. Aim to catch the incoming balloon when you can and duck when you can't.

Pinata with water balloons

Fill a large balloon with a few inches of water, tie it to a branch or rafter and take turns with a blindfold and stick. Remember to be careful and give each kid enough space so that the balloon is the only thing that the stick will hit.

Relay races

You can do water balloon relays just about anywhere. At the playground, down the slide, sit on a water balloon until it pops, toss a balloon in a basket, throw one at a target or anything else you can think of. Even a pretty standard obstacle course can be enhanced by adding that each player must hold a water balloon or two (maybe between their knees) as they compete. There's no wrong way to incorporate them.

Water balloon catch

Play catch with the water balloon. After each successful catch take a step backwards. Add dish soap or shaving cream for extra slippery fun.

Add water balloons to other water activities

The slip-n-slide or a kiddie pool can be more fun when you have water balloons.

Basically, water balloons can be an added element of fun to most of your summer activities. Think hopscotch, 500, baseball, tag or anything else. The important thing is to be creative! Even enlist your children's help filling them. That can be an adventure all of its own. And if you're feeling short on creativity, just set out a pail full of water balloons and your kids will supply all the creativity needed.

This article was originally published on Check out these other related articles: Summer fun: 10 great water activities for kids [VIDEO],

Kitchen science: help your kids make their own things to play with this summer and How to have a fun and productive summer with your kids.

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