Water Color Wars

What do you get when you mix a relay game with water and add in a little bit of dye? A wild and fun activity that cools off campers and keeps them talking for days.

Nothing beats the heat like a bucket of water! © Can Stock Photo Inc. / lenm

Water color wars are nothing new—they’re just a twist on a couple of old favorites. Relays, a camp standby, get more fun when you add in colored water. We’ve all played water balloon games, but water color war games take away the tedious elements of having to fill and tie every water balloon and the work of picking up the latex pieces afterward. These are games where getting wet and having fun keeps going until the water runs dry.

A few key components to consider before playing water color games with campers and staff: Instruct participants to wear old clothing that they don’t mind getting stained. Depending on the strength of the dye, the stain might not come out.

Not sure what kind of dyes to use? You can use any food-safe dye. Check labels to make sure it doesn’t stain or irritate skin.

Be sure there is adequate ability to be able to refill the buckets quickly between each game. You can recycle the water but you’ll want to start each relay game with a full bucket.

Choose an area of camp where the ground is relatively free of obstacles, roots and rocks. Water relays make the ground very slippery.

Have fun!

Dixie Cup Fill

Equipment: (for each team, unless noted)

5-gallon bucket filled with colored water

5-4 oz. cups

5-8 oz. cups

Directions:

Split teams in half. Have half the team lie down on the ground in a row, shoulder to shoulder, and hold the 8 oz. cup on their stomach. Give each standing team member a 4 oz. cup and instruct them to fill their cup from the 5-gallon bucket then, with a straight arm, pour their water into the cups of the players lying on the ground. The object of the game is to be the first team to fill all the 8 oz. cups. If the 5-gallon bucket runs out of water, the team is finished.

Over Your Head

Equipment:

5-gallon bucket filled with colored water

Empty 5-gallon bucket

10-8 oz. cups (or enough for entire team)

Directions:

Have campers line up, single file, behind the bucket full of water, and set the empty bucket at the end of the line. On the start, the first camper is to fill their cup with water from the bucket, lift it over her head and from there, pour it behind her into the cup of the next person without turning to look. This continues down the line, with the last person dumping their cup of water into the bucket. The goal of this game is to be the team with the most water in the second bucket when time is called.

Coffee Can Relay

Equipment: (for each team)

5-gallon bucket filled with colored water

Empty 5-gallon bucket

1 empty, clean coffee can for each team with 3 holes punched in the bottom

Unobstructed area for running

Directions:

Line up teams single-file behind the empty bucket. Place the bucket full of colored water 15-20 feet (or distance of your choosing) from the empty bucket. Give the coffee can to the first camper in line, and, upon starting, instruct them to run to the full bucket, fill the can, hold it over her head while running to the empty bucket. Have her dump the water in, and give the can to the next camper. The winning team is the one with the most water in their bucket when every member of their team has run once.

Water Toss

Equipment: (for each team)

5-gallon bucket filled with colored water

Empty 5-gallon bucket

1-8oz cup for each camper

Directions:

Divide teams into two equal groups. Have them line up in a zig-zag pattern with a minimum six feet between them with the full bucket of water at the head of the line and the empty bucket at the end. The first person is to dip his cup into the bucket, then toss the water to the first person in the opposite line. When that person has “caught” the water, he will toss it back to the next person on the first side. This continues down the line. The last person will dump whatever water he has received into the bucket and the game continues. Winner is the team with the most water in their end buckets when time is called.

Squirt Bottle Barber

Equipment: (per team)

5-gallon bucket filled with colored water

1 can shaving cream

Enough 8 oz. squirt bottles for half of the team

Directions:

Split each team into two equal groups. Group A are the barbers. They will each fill their own squirt bottle with colored water. Group B are the customers. They will each get a shaving cream “beard” and be paired with a barber. Line up barbers and customers standing, facing each other with about 6-8 feet between them (or distance of your choice). When the game starts, the barbers will use their squirt bottles to remove the beard of their customer. If the beard is completely removed, both the barber and customer sit down. If the barber runs out of water, he may refill it from the bucket. The winning team is the one that removes the most beards in the shortest period of time.

Water Salad Relay

Equipment:

5-gallon bucket filled with colored water

1 large salad bowl (of the same size) for each team

1-4 oz. cup for each team member

Directions:

Team members line up single file behind the bucket with cups.

One member from each team takes a salad bowl and lies on the ground 8-10 feet from the team line. All members with salad bowls need to line up equidistant from their team lines. A finish line should be 15-20 feet from the row of salad bowl members.

On the start, team members will fill their cups with water, run to pour it into the salad bowl and return for refills. The object of the game is two-fold: to fill your team’s salad bowl with water, and to have your team’s salad maker jump up with their full bowl of water and be the first to cross the finish line. Additionally, points can be rewarded for the bowl with the most water that crosses the line.

Beth Morrow is an educator, author and co-program director of Camp Hamwi, a residential camp for teenagers with diabetes. She can be reached at Beth@bethmorrow.com