My kids love to play in the pool with their friends, and I always enjoy watching them. While just relaxing on floats is fun for me, they prefer swimming activities and pool games. Here are several fun pool game ideas to get you started. However, sometimes my kids get stuck for something fun to do and that is when we invent our own swimming pool games. Here is how we do that too!
Pool Game Ideas
There are lots of games and swimming activities that you can start the kids off with. Here are several of what we think are the best pool games.
Basically kids hold their breath and see who can swim underwater the longest.
- Marco Polo
One person is selected to be Marco and must play with his eyes shut. When he calls out Marco, everyone else must answer Polo. Marco uses their voices to locate and tag a player who then becomes Marco. Polo players must respond with Polo no mater how close they are to Marco. There is a also a “Fish out of water” twist where Polo players can risk getting out of the pool to escape but if Marco says Fish out of water while they are out of the pool, they are automatically out.
- Treasure hunt
Toss a coin to the bottom of the pool and see who can find it.
- Scavenger hunt
Toss pairs of items in the water, and players find one of each.
Chose one of the family to start and they have to chase around after everyone until they touch another person. The other person is the chaser.
- Fishy in the middle
The swimming version of the popular children’s game ‘piggy in the middle’. This is a ball game in which you all stand in a circle with one member of the family in the middle. Everyone throws a ball to each other over the centre in which the middle person has to intercept and gain possession of the ball. The person who last threw the ball before it was caught then swaps places and enters the middle of the circle.
- Tug of war with a noodle.
Put something at the bottom of the pool – not too deep an area – and have underwater races to go and retrieve it.
One person stands outside of the pool facing away. Everyone else has to swim across the pool to the other side as silently as possible before the person outside realizes they have started out and then is free to chase them.
They have worn out playing Marco Polo and all the other pool games they know, that’s when an interesting dynamic occurs as they figure out new pool games on their own. It’s a real learning experience for them, and I treat it that way.
Why and How To Have Kids Make Up Their Own Pool Games And Swimming Activities
Learning creativity. “Mom, we’re bored, we need something to do.” Of course, I could step in and give them suggestions, but that’s like the old story about giving someone a fish – it’s better to teach them to fish. They don’t learn as much when someone else tells them everything they need to do. I’ve found some wonderful pool games at sites like Babble. So I may give them a brief sketch of an idea to start from, such as “what if one person is a shark, and he tries to catch the others?”
They will take that seed of an idea, and blow it up into what appears to be a complex game, making refinements as they discuss how the game will be played. They will pull in diving boards, pool toys, and either divide into teams or make one of the kids some kind of “it” person. I love watching that process, and knowing that these kids are learning skills that will benefit them in later life. They are developing their creativity while they play.
The group dynamic. These kids are going to end up being in a committee some time in their lives, whether it’s in business or at the church – it’s almost inevitable. When they develop new pool games, and start making up rules and dividing into teams – they are learning a valuable lesson about working together. It’s fascinating to watch leaders emerge, the group working together to determine the strategy for their team, and a game that they enjoy unfolding before my eyes. Do I understand the games they create – usually not, but that doesn’t matter.
Ingenuity and negotiation. When someone finds a hole in the rules, it’s hilarious to watch one of the kids try to exploit that gap, and take advantage. “ Hey – Jimmy jumped out of the pool when he was about to get caught – that’s not right!” Apparently, that wasn’t discussed in the rules session. When the group catches it, the game will stop for a discussion. Was that a valid move, and if not, what can we do about it? I wonder if I’m looking at future politicians debating the pros and cons of a new law.
Just let them play. Once the kids are on the trail of a new pool game – I have to get out of the way and just let them have fun. They’re figuring out what they want to do, and how to do it. There’s a woman down the block who I call a “helicopter Mom.” She hovers over her kids in the pool, directing everything they are doing. It makes me cringe, because she is taking away from a very valuable learning experience. When I’m watching this fascinating process unfold before my eyes, I just lean back in my lounge chair and smile.
At first, I didn’t fully appreciate just how much was happening when the kids were playing in the pool and creating new pool games. They were developing relationships skills, creativity, and learning how to work in groups. There was much more going on than just play, and it taught me an important lesson about how kids learn.
Playing swimming games is interactive and gets everyone involved. It is also excellent for keeping the kids active! It is great exercise that doesn’t seem like working out and it will tire them out in time for bed. Have you ever made up any fun pool games you want to share? We’d love to hear about your pool games in the comments!
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I always loved diving for things in the deep end of the pool as a child. 😉
Becky Flanigan says
Thanks Scarlet for the opportunity!