A backyard swimming pool is the perfect place for kids to have fun with their classmates, teens to hang out with their friends, and parents to host an adult gathering. But one of the best uses of your pool is for fun and games that bring the whole family together. Some of the best bonding time you’ll ever have can take place in your pool.
Fun Activities that Put Family First
Free-form pool play is fun, but coordinating some activities can take the enjoyment to a new level. Here are some of the best games for family bonding:
- Marco Polo
This classic is a version of hide and seek that uses the seeker’s ears rather than their eyes. That person closes his or her eyes and tries to catch the other players as they scatter around the pool. The only advantage that the seeker has is that when they yell “Marco!” the other players must respond “Polo!” When another player is caught, they become the seeker.
- Underwater Hum-Off
Trying to determine what tune your partner is humming underwater before your opponent does the same can be great fun. This is an excellent game for younger kids who may not have the athletic prowess to excel at others.
- Swimming Relays
Picture yourself winning gold in the Olympics as you and your teammate(s) seek to beat your opponents. You’ll want to divide the teams as fairly as possible of course. And requiring a good swimmer to use a stroke that they aren’t familiar with (butterfly, for example) can help level the playing field.
- Float Frenzy
Test your balance by piling multiple players onto an air mattress or other type of float safely positioned in the middle of the pool and have them attempt to stand. The last per upright wins.
- Mirror Me
Young kids love to spend time underwater. In this game, players pair up, submerge, and one tries to mimic the other as they make faces and gestures and swim from side to side. No rules and no “winners”… just some good giggles.
- Sharks and Minnows
This game really gets the adrenaline pumping. One person is the shark and takes a position in the middle of the pool. As things get underway, the other players (aka the minnows) jump into the pool and must try to get past the shark. The game continues until all the minnows have been caught, and the first one snagged becomes the shark in the next round.
- Pool Volleyball
Stretch a net across the pool, divide into teams, and serve it up! Using a beach ball rather than an actual volleyball makes it a game that everyone can play. If the pool has a deep end, requiring the team with older players to take that end is a great equalizer.
- Handstand Contest
The support of waist-high water can turn anyone into a gymnast! On the count of three, everyone goes into a handstand pose and tries to hold it as long as possible. Provide plenty of space around each player, and watch to see who ends up with bragging rights as the last person (hand)standing.
Incredible Fun in the Sun
Family bonding time is a great use for your backyard swimming pool. No matter how you and your family use your pool, make sure to swim safely.
Editor’s note: Originally published 6/2017
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