Adult Friendly Swimming Pool Games

pool-party-games-from-HTHWhen we were kids, it seemed like we naturally knew how to have fun in the pool. From diving down to the bottom to grab little toys to spirited and loud games of Marco Polo, we didn’t need encouragement to jump in and start playing some swimming pool games.

Now that we are adults, there’s no reason why we still can’t have a blast in our backyard pools. While floating on a raft and reading a book is certainly relaxing, returning to the days of our youth and playing in the water is also a lot of fun. The following pool games are ideal for adults who still kids at heart.

Pool Volleyball

beachball-pool-volleyballIf there is one game that levels the playing field for players of all skills, it’s Volleyball. Play with a Beach Ball, Not a Volleyball, to slow down the action, and make it possible to still hold your favorite adult beverage in one hand! Our Inter-Fab Volleyball Game is professional tournament quality, and includes brass anchors for in-deck pole mounting, and stainless steel flanges for on-deck installation. A game of Volleyball (with a beach ball) isn’t intimidating, everyone can join the fun!


In this loud and lively game, one adult is assigned to be the jailer and hang out near one end of the pool. His or her job is to tag anyone who crosses from one side of the pool to the other. The other players have a certain amount of time, say 30 seconds or so, depending on how long the pool is to get across the pool and get past the jailer without being tagged. Anyone who is caught becomes a jailer, and you can keep on playing until there is only one swimmer left.


tug-o-war-over-pool-image-by-clkerYou know this one, take a long rope (not string), and stretch it across the deep end area.

Break up your players into teams of two (2), and position them on each side of the deep end, 5-10 feet from the edge. At “GO!”, each team pulls on the rope, with the goal of eventually, slowly, pulling the other team in the pool. The winner of the first round can take on a second team, and so on, until a champion team emerges. Keep it safe by playing in the deep end, with small teams of 1-2 players on each end of the rope. Caution the teams about making a safe water entry (without hitting their teammate), if they get pulled into the pool.

Cannonball Contest

cannonball-4, image purch'dYou know this one too, and it’s even better if you have a microphone (Karaoke, anyone?), to announce and judge the height of the splash. The judge should stand a distance away to best view the height and width of each cannonball splash. It helps to have a dark background (trees or roof) to more easily see the water droplets.

For safety, be sure to observe the weight limit of your diving board, which is usually 250 lbs. If your crowd skews heavy, make it a Belly Flop Contest, and have players leap from the edge of the pool, into the deep end.

Chicken Fights

chicken-fights,-image-purched from iclipartAnother classic pool game! Just be sure to keep away from the edge of the pool. Divide your players into teams of two, with one player sitting on the shoulders of their teammate. Chicken fights can be played with just two teams of two, or with larger group teams, for an all-out Pool Brawl.

Use off-deck judges to keep score and call fouls. No punching, biting or eye-poking allowed, and the person on the bottom cannot touch the other team players. A point is scored, or a winner declared, when the top person is pushed off into the water.

Pool Noodle Joust

pool-noodle-jousting-gameTwo players ride on an inflatable raft or mattress, while holding a pool noodle. In the middle of the pool, use the noodle to “joust” with your opponent and try to knock the other swimmer off their raft. Whoever wins can stay on the raft and go on to try to defeat the next swimmer. To keep this game as safe as possible, it’s important to keep the raft away from the edges of the pool.

Floating Golf Greens

Floating golf greensfloating-golf-green-games are great fun for both amateur and more experienced golfers. Just stand at the edge of the pool and use a club to chip the ball onto the realistic looking floating green. Depending on your skill level you can have the green close to the edge or floating way out in the deep end. If you are playing with friends, feel free to keep score and have a fun and friendly competition to see who can sink the ball with the fewest shots.

Getting adults into the pool can sometimes be a challenge, and it’s not a real pool party unless they get wet! Use these adult pool party ideas to give a little encouragement!

Dana Katz
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


Favorite Water Safety for Dogs – 5 Quick Tips

dog-days-of-summer-2Some dogs are natural swimmers. The Labrador retriever breed originated in Newfoundland and worked alongside fishermen, according to the American Kennel Club. Top-heavy, short-nosed breeds, such as the French bulldog, find it more difficult to stay afloat. All dogs need humans to practice pool safety on their behalf as circumstances arise that put even strong swimmers in danger.

Here’s 5 Quick Tips on Water Safety for Dogs (and other pets, too!).

1. Secure the Pool Area.

If your dog belongs to one of the breeds that find swimming difficult, if not impossible without help, install a pool fence. Both temporary and permanent pool fencing options are available, for inground and above ground pools.

safety-turtle-on-dogAnother way to secure the pool area is electronically. Pool alarms emit a loud alarm if a body enters the water. Even better for dogs, strap a Safety Turtle to his collar, which sounds an ear-splitting alarm if the 1″ square sensor is submerged in water.

2. Teach your dog to Avoid the pool when Unsupervised.

Training also is advised for these breeds for when other dog pool safety practices fail, in the event that the pool gate is accidentally left open. On her blog, noted dog trainer Victoria Stilwell recommends positive-reinforcement methods, which in this scenario would involve purposefully leaving the gate open and using motivation to teach the pet not to enter without you. Allow your dog to approach the open gate, then call him away and reward with treats, play or even just praise if that gets the job done. Repeat in short sessions until your dog will not go through the open pool gate without you.

3. Teach your dog to swim.

If your dog belongs to a breed that can naturally swim, start lessons at a young age. Sit beside your new puppy (or an older dog new to you or the pool) on the top step so he can grow accustomed to the water, providing praise throughout the session. Move on to holding the puppy while walking in the shallow end, allowing his legs to paddle. Throughout this session, repeatedly walk back to the steps so the puppy will learn where to safely exit the pool.

Slowly move on to solo swimming, but no matter how strong a swimmer never let your dog in the water or elsewhere in the pool area unsupervised. A tired dog or one who falls into the pool accidentally may panic, try to climb out from the deep end and fail. Always supervise your dog when swimming, and train your dog to not swim unsupervised (it can be done!).

4. Invest in a doggy life vest.

Just because your dog isn’t a natural swimmer, that doesn’t mean he won’t like cooling off on the top pool step or watching the action from a shady spot. To ensure a non-swimmer’s safety, invest in a life vest. A vest also will allow a dog who is not a natural swimmer to enjoy the activity, and those with arthritis also enjoy the extra help while getting the health benefits of swimming.

dog-in-life-vestBe sure to buy the correct dog vest! One that not only fits your dog, but can support his weight as well. Do this by measuring his length from neck to tail, chest and neck while in a standing position and taking his weight. The life vest should fit snugly, and should not be too constricting.

5. Add a ramp or dock to the pool.

Dogs with arthritis or other health conditions that make using steps a challenge, install a dog pool ramp if you have such a pet. Just as with pool fencing, permanent and temporary options are available, with the latter an excellent option if you have dogs who regularly visit, but do not live with you.

pet-stepConsider Skamper Ramp, a portable floating escape ramp for swimming pools. For larger breeds, or heavier dogs over 90 lbs. look at the Super Skamper Ramp.

A new Pet Step is now available, a much longer ramp that works great for larger dogs or deeper water, as shown here being used by a clever dog!


Keeping Dogs safe around pool involves barriers like fences and safety covers, or ramps for pools without an easy “Wedding Cake” type step exit. Life vests are also a wise choice for around the pool, or a day at the lake or river.

Most importantly, teach your dogs where to find the pool exit – steps or ramp. Even if your dog won’t go near the pool, they may fall in the pool one day and panic, unless you teach them how to exit safely. An important skill for all family dogs.

Sheryl Sollis
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


Favorite How to Winterize Above Ground Pools?

pool-closed for winterIt’s time to put away the summer fun and button-up the pool for winter.

Even if you are located where it rarely freezes, if you’re not using it, you may as well cover and close the pool for winter. It saves energy and water and reduces wear and tear on equipment, and prevents costly freeze damage from a cold snap.

Here’s How to Winterize an Aboveground Pool ~ in just 7 Steps! :-)

The first thing to do before putting the pool to bed is to make sure that the pH is 7.4 – 7.6 and the Alkalinity is 80-120 ppm. Low levels can damage pool liners and high levels can cause a dirty scale to form. Calcium Hardness should be at least 150 ppm. Good water chemistry prevents stains and allows the winter chemicals to work most effectively.

After you test the water and make any water balance adjustments, you can shock the pool with a double-dose of shock. Pre-dissolve chlorine shock by pouring it into a bucket of water (not needed with Lithium or Non-Chlorine Shock), and then adding it carefully around the edge.

Vacuum the pool or run the pool cleaner. If you don’t have a pool vac hose and head, you can use a garden hose powered pool vacuum, and pool leaf rake nets to remove leaves and debris. Brush the pool with a good pool brush several times in the days before closing, to help the filter remove the small particles.

Don’t close a pool with algae blooming or any sort of non-blue colors. Before closing the pool, the water should be in the best shape it’s been all summer. Over-Filter, Over-Sanitize and Over-Circulate the water in the days and weeks before closing an aboveground pool.

A winter kit or closing kit is the best for closing an aboveground pool. The floater is guaranteed not to stain the pool, like chlorine floaters, and Closing Kits also include winter algaecide, stain & scale protectant, pool shock and an oil absorbent sponge. All for under $19, for a kit that covers up to 7500 gallons.

Once you have the pool clean and chemical-ed, it’s time to cover the pool to keep it clean and block out the sun. Use a quality aboveground pool cover, inspecting it closely before installing for holes or seam separation. Use an air pillow under the cover to absorb ice expansion, reduces cover stress and reduce water warming during spring time. Use a Leaf Catcher for larger pools with even larger trees.

Not too low! The pool needs the support of the water during winter. It’s best for aboveground pools to be mostly full, or lower it just below the skimmer opening. Install an Aquador face plate or use a Skimmer Plug and you don’t have to lower the water level at all, just snap on the skimmer cover to keep water out of the skimmer during winter, preventing costly damage from ice.

For above ground pool systems with hoses from the skimmer and to the returns, just plug the pool using winter plugs, and drain the hoses. Underground pipes can be blown out with a wet/dry vac and then plugged, or you can pour in non-toxic pool antifreeze before plugging the pipes. 

Drain the pump, filter and heater if you have one. Just remove the drain plugs on the bottom, and it should drain out on it’s own. Cartridge or DE filters need to have the elements removed and cleaned thoroughly before storage. Small aboveground pool pump and filter systems should be disconnected and stored indoors, if possible.

7 Steps to close an aboveground pool. Now you know! Give us a call if you have any specific questions about winterizing your own above ground pool!

Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor


Favorite Natural Swimming Pools

natural-pool-by-bionovaNatural swimming pools use plants and self-contained ecosystems to maintain a clean, natural swimming environment.

Many people think a natural pool is too expensive, tough to maintain or “gross,” like swimming in a pond – but these environmentally friendly pools are a good choice for anyone who doesn’t want the harsh chemicals and enviro-impact of regular pools.

No Pool Chemicals

Also called “swimming ponds”, natural swimming pools use plants and other biological elements to filter and keep the water clean. They require no chlorine to maintain, which is healthier and safer for you and your family as well as the local plants and animals.

Chlorine and other traditional pool chemicals can irritate skin and eyes and even cause other health problems. In natural pools, aquatic vegetation, a circulating water feature and stratified soils are used to filter the water and remove any impurities; naturally!


Image Credit:

Easier to Maintain

If you use a designer, natural pools cost about the same as a traditional pool, according to HouseLogic. However, the annual cost of maintaining a natural pool can be less than a traditional pool, because the natural pool maintains itself without the need for traditional equipment, chemicals or cleaners.

Because natural pools use aquatic vegetation to filter the water, you don’t have to do a lot of laborious maintenance, either. A small amount of brushing and skimming to remove leaves and occasional clean-up around the plants is all you really have to do. Natural pools will take on a naturally healthy water balance, and there’s no need to constantly test and adjust water balance to protect surfaces or equipment.


Image Credit: GartenArt Swimming Ponds, UK

Many natural pools have built-in natural skimmers, but there is no traditional filter that requires maintenance and repair. Instead, there is only a pump, which draws the water from the pool and floods it into large area of specially stratified layers of soil and rock, using the surrounding flood plain as a natural filter!

And forget about the thousands of dollars snow belt pool owners spend each year on winterizing services and products. Most pumps are submerged, or in sumps, so winterization is not a concern. For natural pools in milder climates, the pump can be run just a few hours per day in winter.

Environmentally Friendly

One of the main benefits of natural swimming pools is the beneficial impact they have on the environment and native landscapes. According to Permaculture Magazine, traditional swimming pool owners drain about 20,000 gallons of chemical-filled water into the environment each year. Natural pools never have to be drained, and the water is clean and free of harmful byproducts.

turtleNatural pools can be safer for any wildlife that might come across your yard, and they can attract native and endangered plants and microorganisms. Turtles and frogs, butterflies and dragonflies will all make a natural pool a home.

aquatic-plantsThe best part about natural swimming pools? They work with the environment instead of against it to provide a safe and beneficial addition to your native landscape. Plus, you can re-create the environment with new plants each year, and be an aquatic gardener!

Customizable and Personal

Natural pools can fit into any space and environment. The shape and size can be customized to your yard, and the plants and other features can be tailored to your native landscape and plants. Natural pools can be heated, but most are heated naturally, by the sun only.

Have fun choosing aquatic plants that you like, those that grow below water, and those that grow above the water line. You could add a water feature like a fountain and a wooden dock or walkway around the edges of the pool. If it gets cold enough in your region in the winter, natural pools freeze over just like ponds do, providing you and your family with a small ice-skating area.

The materials used for a the swimming area of a natural pool can be varied. Some companies use heavy gauge pond liners, or pre-fab fiberglass or thermoplastic shells. Other companies lay down a floor of gunite, which can be topped with natural stone, with beautiful effect, as shown below.


Image Credit:

Before you think it’s only suited for a small backyard pond, or for southern climates, at Webber Park Pool they are finishing details on a huge public natural pool – the first of it’s kind. At 660,000 gallons, it’s not small, and in Minnesota, it’s not in the South!

Besides all of these benefits, natural pools are beautiful additions to any home with a large yard and a unique feature if you plan to sell your home.

Brett Rotelli
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


Eco Friendly Pool Care

Owning a pool comes with responsibility. There’s the necessary upkeep and maintenance, of course, and then there are the safety measures you must take to ensure no one gets injured in your pool. But what about responsibility to the environment? … Continue reading