Create this shockingly easy backyard game with just a few supplies. Sponge targets is a great outdoor activity for all ages. From toddlers to adults, this simple summer fun is perfect for all.
What are sponge targets?
Sponge targets has been a summer hit at our house since 2016.
This simple activity has you creating a basic target (literally, a red bull’s eye) and throwing something at it (like a wet sponge).
RELATED: Looking for other summer activities to try with kids? Check out this list!
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Who has an extra shower curtain liner?
Me. I have an extra one that I use as a “kid tarp” for projects that are messy. It works great and washes up in the laundry. It’s not as big as an actual tarp so it’s perfect for little ones and their amazing messy play activities.
I’m so glad I “invested” in one (for just a little more than $5). The one I bought in 2015, I’m still using in 2023.
RELATED: What other supplies do I have for summer play? Here’s my outdoor toy list.
I laid the white shower curtain liner on the ground and drew a bull’s eye in washable red paint.
I made a big one – but not so big that it would be hugely overwhelming to my 3-year-old.
After I drew my bull’s eye, my son and I filled up a bucket with loads and loads of sponges. The goal was simple: hit the bull’s eye with the sponges (which will make the paint bleed).
Sponge targets is for all ages
My son and husband went nuts for this. It worked for both of them (so make that a 3 year old and a 33 year old).
The paint bled when it got wet so you could really see the direct hits.
Sponge after sponge, my son couldn’t get enough of aiming at this homemade bull’s eye. My husband felt the same way.
There was something in the simplicity of this game that appealed so much to my husband and son. They played this on repeat until there was almost no target left to hit.
What kids learn from sponge targets
Yes, it’s just a fun backyard activity.
No, we do not need to justify fun with learning (even though play is learning).
But it’s fun to think about this activity and all the goodness that’s going on when playing it.
Here’s a list of things kids work on when playing sponge targets:
- Gross motor skills
- Hand eye coordination
- Cause and Effect
One of the bonuses of this activity is that my toddler was playing a game that had some clear rules: stand behind the line and wait your turn.
Anytime we get a chance to practice following rules with game play, we take it.
RELATED: Looking for more games that kids can play (and adults will love playing too)? Check out this list of amazing board games.
This continues to be a summertime classic
At my house, sponge targets has been a 7-summers classic. Every year we bring out the “kid tarp,” draw that bull’s eye, and the kids toss sponges at it.
It’s become a defining moment of each summer and my toddler (who is now 10) still loves this game.
Sometimes the kids toss water balloons at it.
Sometimes a mix of balloons and sponges.
Sometimes they draw on the shower curtain and use water blasters to shoot the paint off.
But the basics of the game are still there, and it all started with sponges and a target in the summer of 2016.
How to clean up sponge targets
Clean up was a breeze: I grabbed the hose a sprayed off what was left of the bull’s eye.
Then the shower curtain liner went into the laundry machine and the sponges got a rinse off. Some of the extra dirty ones went into the top rack of my dishwasher.
Now that’s an easy game to set up and take down.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our fence is painted and we used washable paint for the bull’s eye. Any paint that did hit the fence was very diluted and we also sprayed it off at the end to be extra careful.
As many as you have! We’ve had more than 5 playing at a time – you just need a few more sponges.
Yes! This game gets everyone from toddlers to the elderly tossing sponges and laughing.