Much like boats, in many ways it's better to have a friend with a pool than to have (and have to clean, and take care of) a pool yourself. But on those days when your pool neighbor is busy, you don't have to stay inside all day. Grab the kids, hit up the local superstore and put together one of these fun cool-down water games.
Water Balloon Trampoline Jumping
Combine trampolines with water balloons for a fun and wet backyard activity, courtesy of A Subtle Revelry. You definitely have to be safe with this one (put up the trampoline net, if you have one), but it pays off with tons of fun.
It's really as simple as it looks. Fill water balloons, and toss them at a willing (and swimsuit-wearing) batter. This idea (and many others) can be found on the River's Edge Curriculum blog.
Mini Water Blobs
Iron together the edges of plastic sheeting (like the drop cloths you lay down to protect the carpet when painting), but leave a small opening to be able to fill your plastic blob with water (and a little food coloring). Grab some tips for this project from Hello Wonderful.
Kimber of The Pinning Mama shared this idea on the Home Depot blog. With PVC pipe and a garden hose, you can create this slippery twist on the favorite Bar Mitzvah game (hey, it's a lot more fun to limbo when you're 13).
DIY Dunk Bucket
The Happy Housewife offers instructions and illustrations to put together a pint-sized version of this carnival game for your backyard.
Water Gun Cup Races
You might already have all you need to put together this simple game from All for the Boys. Just grab some tape, string, and a pair of water guns and head to the patio.
Homemade Slip and Slide
Wired offers up a very detailed tutorial on putting together a slip and slide game yourself with a few "over-the-counter" materials like plastic sheeting and pool noodles.
Replace the ball in your favorite games – or even just play catch – with a soaked sponge version using this DIY from Martha Stewart for a super soaked summer.
DIY Soda Bottle Sprinkler
A simple sprinkler is still a backyard classic. If you don't have one handy, you can make your own sprinkler hose attachment with a two-liter plastic bottle using instructions from Clever Crafty Cookin' Mama.
Ice Excavating Activity
Let the kids (or dogs) be arctic explorers for a day. Glue Sticks Blog shows us how to freeze toys and treats inside a big block of ice.