The Summer Birthday Party Game for Kids that Keeps it Simple, Silly, and Under 17 Dollars

Are you a parent throwing a summer birthday party for your kid in the next couple months? Is it stressing you out a little bit because you are already managing three trillion other summer things and spending all of your money on Freeze Pops?

Then stop, collaborate and listen. I’m about to make your planning easier with a simple summer birthday party game.

All you really need to do is throw sponges at Daddy.

Got It From My Mama and My Papa

I was a summer baby, and a social one at that. Birthdays were always my jam, and every year my parents would indulge me in a birthday party with friends at our house. But my parents were no fools, they knew that they could throw a party for minimal dollars and maximize memories.

First they put the sprinkler out on the lawn and filled up some water balloons. Expertly done, five stars.

But then they took their genius to the next level by using a shower curtain liner, a pair of scissors, and a three pack of car wash sponges. The summer birthday party game they invented was basically a dunk tank without the expensive infrastructure, and we loved it.

Fast forward 30+ years, and the game “Throwing Sponges at Daddy” remains a staple in our family, and now I’m happy to share it with yours.

The simple and cheap birthday party game your kids will love! Kids throwing wet sponges at dad behind a shower curtain.

Throwing Sponges at Daddy

To set up “Throwing Sponges at Daddy” you need the materials helpfully Amazon linked below. Some of these items you already have, so this birthday party game is going to come in at less than $17 easy.

Shower Curtain Liner

You could just dunk the wet sponges in water and have the kids throw them at Daddy, but the shower curtain liner is the real hero of this game. Besides the Daddy, or Mommy.

You don’t need anything fancy for this – simple, clear, and cheap will work just fine.

String or Clothespins

Hang up the shower curtain liner outside on a clothes line if you have one, or tie it to an awning or a couple trees. You’ll want the shower curtain liner to be tall enough for an adult to sit behind it and for the curtain to reach down to their feet.


The scissors are for cutting a hole in the shower curtain liner. Position the shower curtain where it will be hung up and cut out an oval big enough for an adult to stick their face through.

Car Wash Sponges

If you already have sponges that you use to wash the car, I’m going to gently suggest that you buy some new ones for this game. Daddy is already being a champ by getting wet sponges thrown at his face, treat him to a fresh sponge.

For these big sponges you’ll probably want to cut them in half to be the right size for little hands to hold and toss.


Fill a bucket up with water and toss the sponges in.

Mix well.

Or don’t mix at all. This section was just really short so more words felt necessary.

How to Play the Game

Playing this summer birthday party game could not possibly be easier.

Line up the kids an age appropriate distance from the Daddy behind the curtain. Then give each kid a turn to grab a wet sponge from the bucket, and toss that sponge at the Daddy’s face.

That’s it. That’s the game.

If you are the Daddy or Mommy behind the curtain, it really doesn’t hurt. It’s a wet sponge. Unless your kid is on an All-Star baseball or softball team and all of the birthday party guests have oversized arm muscles, you’re going to be fine.

But if you do have a ringer at the birthday party, set that kid up a few feet further back.

Simple Summer Birthday Party Game Variations

Variation 1: Make it extra fun as the Mommy or Daddy behind the curtain by making silly faces at the kids as they try to get you with the sponge.

Variation 2: Your preschooler can decide to get behind the curtain once the Daddy or Mommy’s face and hair are thoroughly soaked. The game continues and again, it’s a wet sponge, your kid will be fine.

Variation 3: Let the kids go totally rogue and start throwing the sponges at each other whether they are behind the curtain or not. Hooray summer!

Find more simple and inexpensive birthday party games here.

Keeping it Simple

The main reason I wanted to share this simple summer birthday party game is my ever growing appreciation for the U.S. Navy coined design principle, KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

The KISS design principle basically means that you should keep a process or system as simple as possible and avoid complications. Complications break things. KISS complications goodbye.

I’m learning that in parenting, the KISS principle is where it’s at. From the outside looking in, my life is utter chaos. A three year old, a four year old, a full-time job, a side hustle, writing a book, feeding a family, washing my hair sometimes, etc. etc.

But it all works because wherever and whenever possible, I’m keeping it simple. In fact simpler and simpler each day.

Some Parting Simple Words

If you are a busy parent trying manage your family and manage careers like me, my best advice is to try to find ways to simplify your life.

Whether that’s a wardrobe of shirts that don’t need to be ironed, groceries that arrive on your doorstep, or a birthday party that is as easy as ordering eight pizzas and turning the hose on. Keep it simple.

And if you want to make things more complicated as your kids get older or your life changes, go for it! You do you! But for now, if you’re feeling a little stressed by life, simplify and sit back and watch as everyone continues to happily go about their day. It’s fine, mama. Simple works.

Read More on Keeping It Simple

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