Color Wars


As summer is around the corner, so is the excitement that it will soon be warm enough to do “color wars” again!

What is color wars? Color wars consists of kids throwing different color paint powders at each other. Sometimes there are team competitions involved. Sometimes there is a charity run involved, where every mile a new color gets thrown at contestants! The goal is to get as messy and colorful as possible!

How do you accomplish color wars? You CAN buy color wars pigmented powder, but it gets VERY expensive. The color goes much more quickly than you might expect. I’ve done color wars now 3 times, and here is our fool-proof way to do it!


The most popular way to do color wars is with dry powder — and I like to use dry tempera paint. Here are the products you’ll need for about 60 people for 20ish minutes of free play (like I said, it goes quick! When in doubt, buy more):

One hack that was helpful for us was to mix the color powder and the corn starch into the bucket, then use a dixie cup to scoop 1-2 dixie cups into each knee high. Then, tie it off making it a “ball.” We learned the hard way to snip off the excess sock, as students used them to sling them at each other and hit one another.


Here is what you will want to purchase:


We set up pools of messy activities, as well as served messy food (without napkins!). We opted for a “messy games” night versus a “color wars” because I just don’t love that term, to be honest. My favorite thing to call it is a “Mess-tival.” Here are some of the pools of mess we had:

  • Slime Baff – it took 20 packets to fill up a standard rectangle kiddie pool
  • Jello – don’t use real jello, use this fake stuff! One of these fills 100 gallons.
  • Pool of Orbeez. It takes SO MANY ORBEEZ to fill up a pool. And they are not ask biodegradable as they appear; they will leave a surface slick for a long time unless you wash them away. It takes over 1 million water beads, or 20 of these. Make sure to leave at LEAST overnight and covered in order for them all to expand!
  • We also did buckets of water balloons. Can’t go wrong with Bunch-O-Balloons or its cheaper versions!
  • We also love to add other water activities — water slides, slip-n-slides, and a foam pit we get from our local inflatables guy! And don’t forget tons of Ice Pops or Snow Cones!

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