Swimming pool games for children are great for any occasion, whether for a birthday party, special event, or just as a way to keep the kids entertained throughout the summer.
To add some excitement for kids that normally spend every possible moment in the water during summertime, try some of these easy-to-learn swimming pool games that are sure to keep them cooled off and having fun all summer long! And the best part for parents; there are plenty of enjoyable and exciting pool games to play that don’t require spending a dime!
Sharks and Minnows
This swimming pool game is played at the deepest end of the pool. One person is chosen as the shark and the rest of the players are minnows. The shark starts at the opposite side of the pool and calls the minnows over by saying any variant of the phrase: “Sharks and Minnows, one-two-three, fishies, fishies swim to me!” Other popular sayings include “Cross my ocean!” and “Who wants to get eaten by a shark?” At this summoning, all of the minnows jump in the pool and try to swim safely to the other side. If the shark grabs a minnow, that minnow then becomes a shark as well. After the minnows have either reached the wall or been tagged as an extra shark, the game starts again and continues until all of the minnows have been caught. The last minnow caught is the one who gets to start as the shark in the next game.
One game player is chosen as the whale. Whoever is chosen as “it” – floats on his or her back in the middle of the swimming pool. All of the other players swim around the whale. When the whale shouts out “hungry whale!” the player begins to chase the other swimmers around the pool. If everyone makes it to the edge of the pool without being tagged, the original whale must go back to the middle of the pool to try again. If someone is tagged, that player gets to be the new hungry whale!
For this game, divide all of the kids up into two equal teams. Have the teams form two single file lines at the pool’s deep end behind an elected team leader. An adult should do a countdown of 3… 2… 1… GO! At the word go, the first child in each line jumps in the water and swims to the opposite side of the pool. When the leaders touch the wall on the other end, they should swim back to the deep end and touch the wall again. After the first child on each team has touched both sides of the pool, the next players should jump in! Repeat until everyone has had a chance to compete in the relay. The team who finishes the race fastest wins!
Dump a variety of miscellaneous items or toys into the water and have the kids retrieve them! It can be a compilation of anything you can think of – nerf balls, floating rings, ping pong balls, or even beaded necklaces. The Sunken Treasure Swimming Pool Game and the Ship Wreck Pool Dive Game have a wide variety of items in each set. These swimming pool games imitate a deep sea diver while on the hunt for treasure!
Jump the Noodle
The only piece of equipment you will need for this cool pool game is a pool noodle. Appoint someone who can easily touch the bottom of the pool as the leader. Have the leader hold the noodle at a certain distance from either a diving board or the deep end of the pool. One by one have the kids attempt to jump over the noodle. After each child has cleared the first jump, move the noodle back (about a foot or so) and continue the process. Whoever can jump over the noodle at the farthest distance is the winner!
This pool game works best in a round above ground pool. With all the kids in the pool, line up in single file, with some space in between each person at the walls of the pool. Have everyone walk around the pool, (inside the pool) and slowly increase the pace to a “run.” If done correctly, the water will be able to carry everyone around the pool in a current! Although it’s not a traditional game, whirlpool is still fun… especially when the kids try to turn around and go against the water flow, created by a big adult. It can be quite a struggle!
Ping Pong Buckets
Divide everyone into two equal teams and have them spread out in the water. Designate an empty bucket to each team on deck. Dump a bucket of ping pong balls into the water. Each team member can collect one ping pong ball at a time, and must return it to their team’s bucket on deck. The team with the most ping pong balls in their bucket at the end wins this pool game!
If your kids love carnivals, this game is definitely something they will enjoy for hours! The arcade shooter is set up just like a classic game you might find at the fair. The aim of the game is to shoot out all three of your individual balls before everyone else. It’s played right in the pool, so there is an infinite amount of water supply for the guns. The arcade shooter is definitely a challenging pool party game that will keep kids excited during every minute of game play!
Donut Float Race
Players sit in a donut float (aka pool ring) at one end of the pool. When a whistle is blown, the players have to start pedaling their feet and arms in the water to reach the other end. The winner of this pool game is the one who reaches the opposite end of the pool first!
In two teams, have the kids race back and forth between opposite sides of the pool by doing a number of wacky moves that will get them across to the other side. Some examples include doing somersaults under the water, swimming backwards, walking on their hands, or riding a pool noodle. This one can be a challenge, but will definitely shake up the traditional water relay into a full fledged pool party game.
Swimming during the summertime doesn’t have to be just about swimming; the possibilities for games are endless! Generally, it is easy to get kids excited for anything involving water activities with friends or family their same age. So call their friends over and have fun playing these games with the little ones!
One other tip for swimming pool games – make sure that a responsible adult is supervising (and sometimes refereeing) these pool games. These pool games can become quite active, and all kids playing need to be accounted for at the beginning and end of play. Knocked noggins and bumped funny bones are common, as is gulping down some pool water – so keep a close eye on the kids enjoying these swimming pool games!
InTheSwim Staff Blogger