This is a sponsored guest post.
Summer is almost here, which means it’s time for poolside fun in the sun. Whether it’s a pool party at a friend’s house or a day at the community pool, all the kids are going to be flocking to the water.
At some point or another, every parent has desperately scrambled to come up with some way to keep those children entertained while they swim their hearts out on a sunny pool day. But now, you don’t have to scramble. If you’re growing a little tired of watching your kids do cannonballs over and over, it’s time to introduce them to some fun new pool games. Here are some classic favorites.
1. Marco Polo
This one’s a classic that you likely played as a child. One person closes their eyes, the others spread out in the pool. The child with their eyes closed yells out, “Marco,” and the others all have to respond with, “Polo.” Keeping their eyes closed, that child must find all of their friends and tag them using the projection of their voice to find them.
If you want to make this game a little more fun, try it with animal noises. Instead of yelling out, “Marco,” the child yells out an animal of choice and the other kids have to respond with the corresponding animal noises instead of saying “Polo.”
2. Air Charades
Have the kiddos line up on the edge of the pool, ready to jump in. Count to three and then yell out an animal or object. The children have to jump into the pool and strike a pose as that object while they’re in the air. When they land, they’ll be laughing at how silly their poses were.
You’ve probably played this game at pool parties as a child. Someone is chosen to stand outside of the pool, back to the water, while the others line up on the edge. That person is “it” and chooses a category, and the swimmers think of something within that category. For example, if the category is ice cream flavors, someone may think of vanilla or mint chocolate chip.
Then, whoever is “it” calls out items in that category. When they call out an item that a swimmer is thinking about, that swimmer must begin swimming to the other end of the pool as quietly as possible. When the “it” person suspects someone is swimming, they can turn around and jump in to chase and tag that person before they reach the other end. If they’re tagged, they’re the new “it.” For more information, here’s a pretty detailed explanation of the game.
4. Shark and Minnows
One child is the shark, and the other children are minnows. The shark starts in the deep end while the minnows line up in the shallow end. Their objective is to swim to the deep end and get past the shark without getting tagged. If a minnow gets tagged, they become a shark and help tag other minnows out.
You can also try the octopus version of this game. In this version, the shark is an octopus and when they tag people, everyone holds hands and forms a chain. Then, they attempt to tag the other swimmers while maintaining this chain.
5. Pool Noodle Jousting
If you’ve got some floating rafts and pool noodles laying around, have a jousting tournament. Two players will go at a time. Each will sit on a raft with a pool noodle, and will joust with the other until one falls off their raft. You can do a round robin tournament or have the winner continue on to take the next challenger.
6. Chicken Fights
This is a fun game to play for parents swimming with their kiddos, as parents make great bases for the “chickens” in these “fights.” Children go two at a time, with each child on someone’s shoulders. The two children sitting on shoulders begin pushing, pulling, grappling, tickling, or whatever else they have to do to get the other child to fall into the water. You can do this in a tournament, like the jousting, or just have some friendly competitions.
7. Belly Flop or Cannonball Contests
As adults, we cringe at the concept of belly flopping into a pool and emerging with a nice red mark. But children always seem to love belly flopping. No one really knows why. To make a game out of it, have your swimmers participate in a contest to see who can get the biggest splash.
8. Beach Ball Races
It’s essentially exactly what it sounds like. Line up the kiddos, give them each a large beach ball or other floating object, and have them race to be the first to push theirs to the other side of the pool. This will work with just about anything you have laying around that floats. They have to push the ball, though. If they throw it, that’s cheating.
9. Pool Noodle Boats
This is the same idea as the beach ball races, but with small homemade floating sailboats made from pool noodles. You can have a blast making your pool noodle boats with the kids, and each can choose their colors and make their own. Then, race them in the pool to see whose is the fastest (or who can get theirs to the other end first).
10. Ping Pong Ball Hunt
Grab a bucket of ping pong balls and give each swimmer a little basket or bucket – something they can collect the balls in. Leave each kid’s bucket on the side of the pool so they have to come back and forth to fill it up. Then, toss the ping pong balls in the pool and have the children race to see who can collect the most ping pong balls.
No Matter What Way You Play, Always Choose The Right Pool
No matter what game you choose to play with your kiddos, make sure you’ve chosen the right pool for the job. Always check to make sure you have the space to play the game you want and that there is enough supervision or space to supervise to keep them safe and sound. A public pool, for example, would be a great place to organize a big game because you’ve got plenty of other kids there to join in, and also plenty of licensed lifeguards to keep a close eye.