Scouting Forums

Water Balloons

IAW BSA Guidelines, can someone recommend : “For water balloons, use small, biodegradable balloons, and fill them no larger than a ping pong ball.”

Does such a thing exist? I really wished national would take another look at this policy. I would think ping pong ball sized water balloons could be more hazardous than a typical water balloon because most smaller balloons won’t be filled to near-capacity at the ping pong ball size and won’t break.

LOL - everytime I see this one I ROFL - man a water balloon that small would hurt


We had the same debate back before our Webelos den bridged over the the troop level. There are suppliers that claim to offer small biodegradable water balloons, although many are latex and pose a potential allergy hazard for some people. I got several hits on Amazon, for example.

In the end, we dropped the plans for water balloon/water gun type events. The boys objected to the other restrictions (no shooting/throwing at each other) more than the water balloon properties.

Have you found any non-latex balloons anywhere?

We did at one point several years ago. They were nitrile, IIRC, and it felt like getting hit by a canteen because they didn’t break at all. Lemme see if I can dig up the info…


Sounds like an alternative to water balloons. Is there anything in the GTSS about canteen fights?


In medicine gloves most physician offices switch from latex to nitrile gloves even when the staff is NOT latex allergic. They make this change because the nitrile gloves are infinitely tougher and less likely to break than the latex gloves, hence safer.

I can’t imagine being hit with a nitrile water balloon. I have no doubt that it hurt.

So far this is the closest I’ve seen…

It’s the size of a Texas Ping Pong Ball…Everything’s big in Texas…HA HA


@WilliamC - you do realize the scouts cannot throw them at each other - I believe

1 Like

The only thing I am reading in the rulebook pertains to water guns and as for balloons, it is only saying not to use a launcher to aim at a person. See Pg 99-100

Everything I’m reading only list water balloons as if they were being used in catapults, sling shots or some other type of launcher and not kids just having a water balloon fight


LOL - would rather get hit by a stream of water from a gun compared to a ping pong sized balloon that is not going to pop


Yup, the quote from the National Shooting Sports Manual is:

Although specific rules have not been written about each
type of shooting activity, these general guidelines apply:

  1. Have fun and be responsible!
  2. Do not aim any shooting device at a person. Never shoot
    any projectile, even if it is soft or seems to be harmless,
    at or near people, animals, or personal property. This
    includes water balloons.

I have been explicitly told that this prohibition is intended to apply not only to launchers, but to the balloons themselves however they are propelled. The argument made is that, otherwise, the section on using small biodegradable water balloons under the heading “Ammunition” would require biodegradable water balloons only when used as ammunition in a launching device, which I was told was not the intent.


Violation! :rofl:

• Water guns and rubber band guns must only be used to
shoot at targets, and eye protection must be worn.

I’m honestly a bit concerned by this direction:

• A range master must supervise the range for all activities described in this chapter.
• All shooting activities must be approved by the council shooting sports committee or the National Camping School–trained shooting sports director or an NRA rife instructor.

This, together with the fact that water balloons and water guns are described, implies that you have to have a range master at water gun shooting contests. This seems more than a bit over the top to me.


Hence the question: Is just a bunch of scouts having an old-fashion water balloon battle using typical balloons we all used as kids considered “ammunition” or just a water balloon as a toy? If it’s considered “ammunition” then I supposed a human arm throwing a balloon is a “launcher” as well…

It’s amazing to even have a discussion like this…lol

1 Like

I know my scoutmaster is rolling over in his grave. Throwing water balloons at one another was his solution for the “dirt clod” fights we used to get into as scouts (as a recreational activity). I’m just waiting for the G2SS to outlaw snowballs…

1 Like

LOL!!! , , , , , , (Yes, complete sentence!), , , , , , , , , , ,LOL!!!

Clearly snowballs are already just as prohibited a “projectile” as water balloons are.


Well even a rock throwing station I worked years ago at a cub a rama needed a range officer

1 Like

As a bit of curiosity, I sent an email to national asking to clarify the rule on water balloons. I asked them if the balloons that kids would normally use in traditional water balloon battle where they are simply tossing them at each other for summer fun are the same “ammunition” as described in the BSA regulations pertaining to using some type of launching device. I also added that I can’t believe I’m actually have to write national about water balloons…

I will share my response when it arrives. I was told it normally takes about 72 hours.

1 Like

violates my rule #1: don’t ask for a rule, you’ll live to regret it!

In any case, we don’t use water balloons or super-soakers to target opponents, we use portable heat stroke abatement devices to manually rescue potential victims at risk for dangerously elevated core body temperature.