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Water Balloon Scavenger Hunt

In the warmer months, kids LOVE water play. This outdoor water balloon game has a twist because it “sneaks” shape sorting and is also a scavenger hunt! So many fun games in one!

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Water balloon games for toddlers to practice finding and searching skills!

There are so many games you can play with water balloons. Good old fashioned games like catching with a partner and then taking a step back each time to make it more difficult is a classic. There are also fun relay games as well as just a big water balloon “fight” that has no rhyme or reason- just fun! This particular water balloon game has a few components to help it last a little longer and get some math snuck in there! Since each balloon will have a shape drawn on the balloon, it helps children have to sort by placing the balloon in the bucket that has the matching shape. For toddlers, you can just stick to circle, square, and triangle.

To extend it further, add diamond, star, heart, etc. Each balloon can be a different color to match the bucket as well to make it even easier to succeed. This is a great game to play in smaller groups, but you can also individualize this game by “assigning” a color/shape to each child so that all of the kids get the same number of balloons to play with later. There are so many domains integrated into this one fun game that teachers will LOVE it!


  • Water balloons (at least 10 per child)

  • Sharpie marker

  • Water source Buckets (one per shape)

  • Outside space to hide balloons and then pop them!

  • Beach Towels (one per child)

  • Bathing suits or clothes to get wet

  • Change of clothes

Learning Outcomes




Finding and Searching


Sort by color and shape Throw balloon up in the air Look for hidden balloons


Step 1:

Blow up balloons big enough so they will pop but small enough so they don’t pop too easily.

Step 2:

Draw a shape on each balloon using sharpie. (square, circle, triangle, etc.) Try to use the same color per shape. (all red balloons have circle drawn)

Step 3:

Hide balloons in different places in the same outside space. Make some very obvious and some more difficult but all within reach.

Step 4:

Have buckets of various colors with shape drawn on the outside in a very central location. Have adults help toddlers find balloons and then look at the shape on the balloon. Based on the shape, help them find the bucket that matches the shape. (preferable the buckets will also match the color of the balloon. (red bucket with circle drawn on the outside will match the red balloon with circle drawn on)

Step 5:

Once all of the balloons are collected in buckets, give each toddler their own bucket (or give students designated amount of balloons) and as they pick one up, encourage student to shout out the shape on the balloon and throw it up in the air.

Step 6:

At this age, children do not like to get hit with anything and we are teaching them to not throw things at one another, so encourage them to throw it up in the air to crash on the ground and make a splash.

Step 7:

If they do not want to get wet, you can have some type of target for them to throw at. (maybe even a teacher!)

Playful Questions

  • How many shapes can I name?

  • What happens to a balloon filled with water if it is thrown up high in the air?

  • What makes a balloon pop?

  • How do I feel when I get splashed by a water balloon?

  • How many balloons do I think I can find?

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