Water War Outdoor Game for Kids

On an outdoor table 2 sets of 4 red solo cups sit with a jug of water in the middle while 2 people stand on each side facing off in a card game.

Created by: Sharon Garofalow, Cupcakes and Cutlery

When the weather warms up, our family spends a lot more time outside. Since we don’t have our own pool, we look for fun ways to cool off with water in the backyard. Each year, the kids look forward to playing our favorite outdoor game, Water War! It’s a fun, summer twist on the classic card game, War. Since it is a familiar game most kids will know the rules and it’s easy for a lot of different age groups to participate together. This game works just as well with two players or for a group of kids and is a great way to cool off on a hot day.


  • 1-2 decks of cards (these will get wet and may get ruined so use an old deck that you already have or look for packs that are really inexpensive).
  • 8 plastic cups filled about half way with water (you may need more, but you can refill these)
  • 1 large pitcher of water


  1. Like the game of War, players turn over one card at a time, the same time as their opponent.
  2. Whoever draws the higher card, wins.
  3. The winner gets to dump a cup of water on the other player’s head. Have an adult on hand to help refill the glasses as needed.
  4. If the players get War, the winner of that hand gets to dump the pitcher on the losing players head.
  5. Play until the cards run out.


  • To play with a group of kids, split the kids in to two even teams. Have one player from each team play against each other and when that hand is over they move to the end of the line. Play is continued until the cards run out.
  • Or you can make it tournament style with two players playing against each other until they get to their first War. The winner is then noted on a bracket (much like for football tournaments) and the next two players play. The winner from that game would then play the winner from the previous game. This style of play works great as a party game!