When the sun gets hot, there’s no better way for the kids to keep cool than spending the day in the pool. But, sometimes, kids just need a little “direction” to make a fun day in the sun even more enjoyable for everyone involved. The seven games are super fun for all, and, we’ve even got a full 45 games in the free download (see the form at the end of the page).
If you’ve got a lot of people and a circular pool, this one can be awesome fun. Turns your pool into a free water park ride! But, remember, this one won’t really work all that well with just a few people, unless you’ve got a really small pool.
First, you must get everyone who’s in the pool to move to the edge and line up single file facing the same way. If there is ALOT of space between people, this probably won’t work. The less space between participants, the easier this will be.
Now, have everyone walk for a minute or two in the same direction around the edge of the pool. Then have them speed up and jog for another minute or two, then “run” around the edge another couple of minutes.
At first, it will be difficult to get the water moving, but once you’ve got a “current” running around the pool, it becomes easier to get it moving faster and faster.
If done right the water will be moving hard and fast enough to “carry” everyone around the pool for quite a while. See how fast you can get the current moving. Then, tell everyone to turn around and go the other way. It is almost impossible to go against the current!
Anyone can play, but, watch out for smaller swimmers who may lose their footing before other, taller swimmers.
Just people and a circular pool. Maybe some small, light objects for younger players to “toss into the middle” (just to see what happens).
As many as are necessary to line the edge of the pool
None. It’s just really fun!
Beach Ball Bump Battle
Using a floating rope of any sort, section off an area of the pool, preferably away from the pool edges. Simply tie the rope into a big circle & toss it out in the water.
Have all the players get inside the rope circle, each with a beach ball (obviously, depending upon how many players you have, you may need quite a few beach balls and/or quite a large rope circle).
On your mark, players push and bump each other with the beach balls in order to bump other players into the rope. Anyone who touches the rope must leave the circle (so the circle must be big enough to provide a little space to move). Keep playing until only one bumper remains in the pool, thereby winning the game.
A variation on this game can be to allow a player back into the game if the person who bumped them out gets bumped out themselves. Of course, done this way, the game could go on indefinitely, so, maybe set a maximum “re-entry” number.
Play in the shallow end for new or non-swimmers. Deep end for good swimmers. If played in the deep end, you can make it harder by adding another rule. Anyone whose nose goes under water is out as well.
Anyone can play, but, try to have similar sized players, though.
At least 2, but more fun would be at least 3 to 5 or more.
Treading water if the game is played in the deep end.
The “Bobber” Brigade
One player is it while the other players bob in and out of the water at the other end of the pool. Without crossing the centerline, the person who is it tries to hit one of the bobbing players with a foam or soft rubber ball of some sort.
Obviously, when you’re under the water you can’t be hit, so the longer you can hold your breath, the better. Also, the bobbing players should come up and submerge themselves at an irregular pace in order to keep the person who is “it” from knowing exactly when they will emerge again.
This is a game of “shooter shags”. So, if the person who is “shooting” misses, he or she must “shag” the ball (go get it) and return to the throwing side of the pool. If he or she manages to hit one of the bobbing players, the person hit becomes the shooter, the previous shooter becomes a “bobber”, and they begin again.
Place the “bobbers” in the shallow end to practice only holding their breath or in the deep end to help them also practice treading water.
Prizes can always increase the fun, so giving a prize (popsicle anyone?) to the last person to get hit (or who never gets hit) could be an additional incentive. Or, change it up and give a prize to the person who gets hit the most.
Anyone can play so long as they can swim or tread water (or place non-swimmers at shallow end of the pool). They need to be able to throw the ball far enough too.
Some sort of soft ball that will be relatively easy to throw by all players
At least 2, but more fun would be at least 4 and probably more.
Holding your breath, Treading water, Throwing a Ball
Cardboard Pool Pirates
Supply participants with large cardboard boxes, packaging or duct tape, items for decoration such as markers, stickers, etc., and allot them a time-frame (one or two hours maybe) to build the best seaworthy boat.
The goal is to build a boat that can race from one end to the other (and possibly back again) the fastest (or that stays afloat longest, or both). Players use their arms as their oars to race across the pool.
For safety, you’d want to have only 1 or 2 boats crossing the pool at any given time unless you have a large pool. Time them with a stopwatch. The boat that crosses the pool fastest wins. If boats aren’t sturdy enough to be raced, the contest can be based on which boat stays afloat the longest and/or prizes for coolest design.
Note: Depending on the age of the racers, you may an adult to cut the boxes. You could have younger children draw lines on the box where they want it cut.
Feel free to allow the racers to “dress up” their boats any way they wish and you might consider having them all “name” their boats with cool pirate ship names.
At least 2 to compete for time, but more fun would be at least 3 to 5 or more.
How to build a boat out of scraps. How to tread water if it sinks. 🙂
Crazy Color Catcher
This is a great game that can include both younger and older players alike, as long as they know their colors or numbers.
Choose a person to be the “catcher”. This “catcher” stands on the side of the pool with their back to the other swimmers who are lined up in the water on the same side of the pool as them. Swimmers choose a color (or a number between 1 and 10) and keep it to themselves.
The “catcher” begins to call out colors (or numbers) one at a time. If a swimmer’s color or number is called they must try and make it to the other end of the pool as quietly as they can. If the “catcher” hears them swimming they can dive into the pool and try and tag them.
If the “catcher” turns around and all the swimmers still have a hand on the side of the pool then the “catcher” must take a step away from the edge and start again. If the “catcher” gets a swimmer then the swimmer becomes the new “catcher”.
No Equipment Needed
At least 4 or 5 to make it any fun.
It’s just a fun game.
Purchase some large plastic lightweight rings or hula-hoops, some rope or string and one or two inflatable crocodiles. Set the crocs adrift in the pool and line up kids in the shallow end, each with a “lasso” made from a length of string tied to a ring or hoop.
Let each “crocodile cowboy” take a timed turn trying to lasso the croc by “ringing” its head or tail and pulling the croc back to them.
To add a bit of difficulty, once a cowboy snares the reptile and gets it to their end of the pool, he or she should climb onto its back and race to land at the other end of the pool.
Whoever completes the stunt in the least amount of time, wins. This game can be even more amusing if kids verbalize what they are doing. You can even subtract a few seconds from a player’s time if he or she can imitate a western or Australian accent.
At least a few to make it any fun.
It’s just a fun game.
Double Dolphin Dash
For a small numbers of players, this game is a quick dash by two people at a time, the length of the pool. Race two, declare a winner. Race two more, declare a winner. Race a couple more, declare a winner.
Once you’ve got a few winners, race two of them against each other. Then, the winner of that race takes on the remaining winner, swimming for the final.
So, why “dolphin”? Because this isn’t your typical dash down the pool. In this game, players must race from one end of the pool to the other with a beach ball to “push” along ahead of them. They can only touch the beach ball with their nose. If they touch it with any other part of their body, they must go back to the beginning and start again.
If you’ve got at least 6 people, you can run two teams as a relay race against each other.
Those that don’t swim well can use life jackets or walk on the bottom from one end to the other of a shallow pool (still pushing the beach ball with their nose).
At least two, but, four or more would make it more fun.
It’s just a fun game.
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