I don't have many memories of water balloons as a kid. I vaguely remember the act of filling them up and throwing them at my friends but it was never a regular enough activity that it stuck with me.
Last summer I discovered why this may be the case.
Water balloons are a bitch to fill up, tie and transport.
Water balloons even come with a special nozzle these days that you attach to a hose and insert into the empty balloon to fill it up, but that doesn't really help all that much. You still have to turn the hose on, fill, turn it off, tie.
At our annual block party we filled a bunch of balloons and the kids definitely enjoyed it but it was painstaking work.
Recently my wife volunteered us to help bring balloons to our kids' pre-school picnic and I screamed silently "Why?! Why would that be what we volunteer for? Can’t we bring a set of bags or something?"
Luckily they're cheap, about a dollar for 100 and my wife and I acted as a team with me filling, her tying them up. It still took a good 30 minutes plus to fill up 50+ balloons. We weren't responsible for all of them. Another family was bringing many more.
At the picnic the kids went absolutely apeshit crazy when we hauled them out. A few dozen kids 3-6 years old were contently playing on park playsets when the call of "Water Balloons!!!" went out and they flocked to us like crazed zombies from those World War Z commercials.
The balloons lasted a surprisingly long time, maybe three minutes or so as kids ran with them in hand chasing each other longer than expected. Kids were soaked, a few parents too. I got a shot to the groin that thankfully didn't explode.
Water balloons go down as one of those things we do as parents that aggravate for a long time for a very short payoff. But the payoff still outweighs the pain.