How to Play Water Balloon Shot Put

Using water balloons as the shot puts, everyone has a chance to take home the gold!
pre-filled water balloons

1. Pre-fill and tie off a bunch of water balloons (at least 4 per player) and place in buckets.
2. Set the launch line (either by drawing it in chalk if you are using a hard surface, or lying and securing a rope in the grass). Allow about 10 feet behind the launch line, if possible.
3. Using your measuring tape, measure out 5-foot increments and mark with either a chalk line or a marker.
Marker options
A. If you like, you can make little flags marked 5, 10, 15, 20, etc. by using an index card and a skewer. Just write the number on the card, fold the card in half, and make two small snips on the fold line close to the bottom and top of the card. Open the card and insert the skewer through the slits to make a marker flag (the pointy end should always face down and away from the card part). You can secure the flags with tape on the back of the card.
B. If the playing field is a large lawn, and you have a long measuring tape (at least 50 feet long)
you can roll out the measuring tape from the launch line to the end of the field. Secure the tape every 5 to 10 feet with garden staples or a 4-inch wire piece bent in half to make a U-shape.
C. On sidewalk or hard surfaces, mark every 5 feet with a chalk line and number. Make sure that your lines are off to the side, so they don’t get splashed with balloon water and disappear!
D. Use cones, stones, etc.: place a piece of masking tape with the number of feet marked.

How to Play

1. Line up the players about 10 feet back from the launch line; players will go one at a time.
2. Place bucket of water balloons at launch line.
3. Player 1 takes a water balloon, holds it in their hand against their corresponding shoulder (just like they do in real shot put) and against their neck.
4. The player may either stand at the line, twist their body away from the line, and launch the balloon shot put, or they may take a short run up to the line (without crossing it) and launch the balloon.
5. The balloon must be launched from the shoulder, not thrown like a baseball.
6. When the balloon lands, note the distance on the score sheet.
7. Player 2 is now up.
8. Rotate through your players three times. Take the highest score for each player.
9. The player with the longest distance thrown wins the “gold!”


1. Play as teams: have other events going on at the same time and use teams’ total average score to determine winning team.
2. Use sponges or sponge balls instead of water balloons.


1. Remind players that the balloon must be launched from the shoulder position, not thrown.
2. Keep things light, don’t allow this to get too competitive!
3. Once the players have gone, they may run into the field to help track the distance of each
throw, butthey may not touch or interfere with the balloon’s trajectory. If they do, the player shot putting is awarded 10 extra feet. (Players love getting wet though, and this allows them to do so!)

Activity Length
15 - 30 minutes
Competitive (has winners and losers)
Attention, please! (a few rules to follow)
Mess Factor
Get the push brooms
Noise Level
Number of Players
3 to 4
5 to 10
10 to 20
Prep Time
10 - 20 minutes
Space Needed
Large (gym, outdoor field, reception hall)
Team Division
Every man for himself (individual players)