11 Fun (and Safe) Games to Play in the Pool
A pool can be a great place for hours of fun with family and friends. Here are suggestions to keep everyone safe:
- No one goes in the water without adult supervision.
- Know the water depth so not to jump or dive into shallow areas.
- Walk carefully, don’t run around the pool.
- Put toys away to avoid tripping over them.
- Everyone needs to follow the rules.
Summertime is in full swing and many kids are lucky enough to have access to a pool in their yard, neighborhood, or community. Swimming is not only a fun way to entertain the kids, but it allows them to burn off extra energy while improving their strength, coordination, and endurance.
Swimming laps over and over though isn’t enjoyable for kids, so here are some fun, and safe games to play in the pool that can provide entertainment for the whole family! Adults should always supervise children in and around water.
Beach Ball Obstacle Course
Grab a sharpie and in each section of the beach ball, write the name of an activity or draw a picture to represent it, like “underwater flip,” “handstand,” “strike a pose.” Then use the suggestions to create a multi-step obstacle course activity. Do a handstand, tread water for 5 seconds, flip around underwater, swim from one side to another, blow bubbles, and use a blaster to squirt a friend. Time how long it takes to complete it or have kids compete against each other to see who is faster.
Using a sharpie, write simple numbers on diving sticks, rubber duckies, floaties, anything that’s safe for the pool. Throw them all in and have kids race to see how many they can get in a certain time frame. Total up their points to see who has the most. Change the game to also include a twist where the winner of the round is the person with the least amount of points.
Monkey in the Middle
Throw a water balloon, tennis ball, beach ball, water filled ball, sponge, or football from one person to another, while the person in the middle tries to jump up and steal it. When the person in the middle catches it, they are replaced by the player who threw it.
Foam Blaster Fill Up Relay Race
Each player gets a cup and a foam water blaster. Using the water blaster, be the first one to fill up the cup with water to win. With more players, pass the cup off to a friend, who will need to swim across the pool with their head above water with the cup above water balanced on their head or while it’s held in their hand, in order to win.
Pool Noodle Bocce Ball
Take a pool noodle and attach one end to the other with a connector or some duct tape to make a ring. Let the ring float in the pool while players throw ping pong balls from different locations, aiming to get it inside the ring. Use a sharpie to add different numbers to the ping pong balls and total up the points to find the winner.
Frozen T-shirt Game
Take a t-shirt saturated with water, then wrap up pool toys like diving sticks, a rubber duck, small squirty toys, or sponges to hide inside. You might want to consider providing a theme for each shirt or color coding the toys. Freeze the shirt inside a gallon plastic bag. Create teams with groups of kids who will race against each other, using any method they can think of to defrost or melt the shirt. Throwing it in the pool is an automatic disqualification. Once it’s defrosted, one player from the team needs put on the t-shirt, then retrieve one of their pool toys before passing it onto another player to do the same. First team to find all their toys, wins.
Randomly assign a different floatie to players. Players line up on one side of the pool and then race to see who gets to the other side faster. Change the rules each time, such as you can only paddle with your right hand, only kick with your left foot, you need to pull it in front, or push it from behind. Next race have each player pick a new floatie and a new action!
Diving sticks are usually weighted items that sink to the bottom of the pool. Hide the diving sticks all around the pool and see how many each child can find within a certain timeframe or race each other to see who can find the most. Don’t have a diving stick? Fill an empty water bottle with water and it will sink to the bottom, providing a little bit of a challenge to find since it’s clear!
Beach Ball I-Spy
Blow up a beach ball, grab a sharpie, and put a different letter in each section of the ball. Throw the ball up in the air and catch it yourself, throw it to a friend, or push it hard down into the water until it pops up. Shout out a letter and be the first person to find something in the pool area that starts with that letter, or assign a category like fruits that start with the letter A. See how many items you can label.
Creating short dance routines for social media is really popular among kids of all ages. Make sure to put the cell phone in a waterproof case, pump up the music and record the kids doing their thing!
Leader May I - Pool Edition
This classic childhood game can be played in the pool. A person, “the leader,” stands on the edge of the pool facing the opposite direction of the players and calls out another player by name. Leader: “Cooper you can take 2 dolphin swims forward.” Cooper: “Leader, may I? Leader: “Yes you may.” The leader then calls on another player. The goal is to see who makes it to the other side of the pool first to become the next “leader.”