Swimming and splash are a lot of fun, but children can get bored even with these refreshing activities. And if you have a group, it’s always good to have some organized activities ready, too!
Fortunately, the swimming pool lends itself to lots of fantastic games for children of all ages (and for adults and children together). They can help keep children entertained for hours on end.
Of course, children’s imaginations are incredible. They’ll often create their own diversions or variations on existing games. And that’s fantastic! But sometimes, they do need a basic structure to get them started.
We’ve compiled a short list of some favorite games. You may know some of them by other names, of course. But these will be fun ways to make pool time more exciting for everyone!
This is one of the classics! Marco Polo requires no equipment, just a group of kids (or even adults) ready to have fun.
It’s a form of “Tag” at its core. One person is “It” and closes their eyes and calls out “Marco.” The other players have to respond “Polo.” Based on the sound, “it” has to find and tag another player – all while “it” keeps their eyes closed.
A fun variation on this is to have the player who is “it” yell out something different. For instance, they could yell “Sea Lion” and the others would have to bark like the animal.
Another “oldie but goodie” for pool fun is the chicken fight. This game requires four players, including two adults or older children who can support someone on their shoulders.
The object is to knock the person on top of the other team off the shoulders of their partner and into the water. It requires balance, strength, and coordination for both members of the team.
Of course, you have to be mindful to keep away from the edges of the pool so no one will fall into an edge. And it can be a bit rough, so participants should be reminded to take it easy.
Overall, though, it can be a lot of fun to see who can stay mounted and who will fall over in defeat!
Jousting in the pool is similar to chicken fighting, except instead of a direct attack, pool noodles are used.
The riders on each team swing the noodles at each other in an attempt to dislodge their opponent from their mount. Of course, the pool noodles do little damage, but this is more about balance than strength.
Of course, this can lead to more “close quarters” combat like the chicken fights. But starting with pool noodles as “weapons” can make it seem like so much more fun!
Mr. Fox, What Time Is It?
This game is another fun variation on Tag.
One player is the fox and the others are all hens. The hens want to survive without getting caught, but the fox stands in their way.
The fox stands at one edge, and the hens start on the opposite side. The hens advance toward the fox, who keeps his or her back to the hens and calls out, “It’s 2 o’clock” or some other random time.
The hens then advance that number of steps toward home base. For instance, if the fox says it’s 3 o’clock, the hens move 3 steps. If the fox says it’s 6 o’clock, the hens advance 6 steps.
However, the fox, instead of calling a time, can call “Dinner Time,” upon which they will attempt to tag one of the hens. The hens have to return to the far side of the pool without getting caught.
There’s no goal for the hens other than to remain safe from the fox. The closer the fox lets them get, the more exciting the game becomes. It then becomes a matter of evading capture.
Diving for a coin is fun for one child or a whole group. And it’s something you can coordinate easily without getting in the pool yourself.
Simply toss a coin into the center of the pool and have the participants try to retrieve it. This is great to help develop underwater swimming skills, too.
Ping Pong Gather
This is another simple game for one or various players. All you need is a bunch of ping pong balls!
Simply toss the balls on the water. Unlike the coins, they won’t sink. And all the players have to do is retrieve them.
The fun comes from the fact that the balls will keep moving away as the players move toward them. The small waves in the water will push them along. It’s not difficult to catch them, but it’s not as simple as you’d think, either!
Volleyball can be played virtually anywhere – in a gym, on the beach, or yes, even in your pool! You just need a pool volleyball net and a ball.
You can play with one to four players on each side. The object is to keep the ball from hitting the water on your side. Instead, you want to make your opponents miss. It takes coordination and teamwork to keep the ball in the pool but out of their reach!
Check out some great pool volleyball sets here!
Another fun variation on Tag, Octopus leads to a human chain!
Instead of “it” changing from person to person, each person who’s tagged becomes part of an ever-growing “it”. They hold hands and move about trying to tag more people, who also become part of the octopus.
The object is to be the last person not incorporated into the growing beast!
Shark and Minnows
Yet another version of Tag! The object for the “minnows” is to cross the pool without being tagged. The shark, of course, wants to catch one before they make it.
All the minnows start on one side. When a leader calls, “GO!” they try to make it to the other side while dodging the shark.
Whoever is the first minnow to be tagged becomes the shark for the next round.
This is another fun yet simple game that’s best played in a round pool. It works best with at least 5 people, but many more can play, depending on the size of the pool.
All the participants need to do is move in the same directions around the edge of the pool. They start by walking, then move to a jog and finally a run.
As they speed up, the water will begin to spin with them. It will form a miniature whirlpool!.
The best part is getting everyone to stop or even turn around and go in the opposite direction. It’s almost impossible to resist the current at this point!
There are tons of fun games for children to play in the swimming pool! We’ve highlighted a few favorites here. Some may be familiar to you while others may be totally new. Be sure to share them with your children so they can get loads of enjoyment from them, too!