Nothing says classic summertime fun like a crystal-clear, kid-friendly pool to jump into! When the weather heats up and you need to cool down, a dip in the water is fun and refreshing — especially when you can share it with family. Keep the whole gang entertained for hours with these easy, exciting pool games for kids, teenagers, and toddlers. From games to play in the pool by yourself, to swimming pool relay games, these simple ideas for pool activities will help you make memories — and make a splash!
Swimming Pool Games for Kids
Whether your kids are six or 16, they’re sure to dive into these creative pool games! They’ll get a great workout, burn off extra energy, and most importantly, have a total blast.
Pool parties are also a perfect opportunity to socialize and meet your neighbors. The grown-ups can bond over tropical cocktails, while the kids get to make new friends of their own. Just make sure there’s an adult on deck to keep an eye out for proper pool safety!
- Pool Freeze Tag: Bring the classic game in the water! One person will be designated as “it,” when he or she tags another player, that player must freeze in place. You can decide if they need to remain frozen for the duration of the game or if other players are able to untag them by swimming underwater.
- Marco Polo: We bet you remember this game from your childhood. This timeless crowd-pleaser has entertained generations of children and it’s easy to see why! Stick to the classic “Marco! Polo!” call and response, or give it a funny twist for the kids by swapping in other sound effects.
- Sharks & Minnows: Depending on how many players you have you can have one shark or multiple. The shark starts out on one end of the pool while the minnows line up on the opposite side. When the shark yells “go,” the minnows must swim to the other side without being tagged. Again, you can make the rules. Tagged minnows either need to sit outside of the pool until the next round or can join forces with the shark to tag the rest of the minnows.
- Octopus: Standing in the center of the pool, the person who is it cannot move, but tries to reach out and touch another person. If they do, that person becomes an arm, and can try to swim around and tag others, but they cannot break free from the octopus body. The octopus wins when all other players have been tagged, and they have as many arms attached as possible.
- Mermaids: This game is amusing for both participants and spectators, a splashy race from one end of the pool to the other. Each player lines up on one side of the pool, and when start is yelled, they all swim as fast as they can to the other side. But, wait. There’s a catch. They have to keep their legs held tightly together and cannot separate them, essentially making their legs into one large mermaid’s tail. The first who manages to get across wins.
- White Whale: Floating in the center of the pool on their back, the whale sits idle while the fish swim around them in any way they choose. When the whale is ready, they yell out “hungry whale” and try to catch a fish. If they do, the fish becomes the new whale, and if they don’t the whale goes back to the center and tries again.
Pool Games for Toddlers
Toddlers are tough to keep entertained — something you sure don’t need us to tell you! Whether you’ve got one kiddo or five, you’re always looking for fun new ways to help baby’s brain and body develop.
Combining gentle exercise with lots of mental stimulation, your pool is the perfect place for your toddler to interact with you and the world. Just make sure you pay careful attention to water safety at all times! Try introducing your little one to these child-friendly pool games this summer:
- Little Pancake: Floating is an important skill when your child is learning to swim. Help them develop confidence with this adorable pool game for babies. Using both hands, support your toddler on their back while you stand in place or walk slowly through the water. Then, you can sing this cute little tune: “I’m a little pancake on my back. I’m a little pancake nice and flat. I’m a little pancake on my back. Flip me over just like that!”
- Pool Painting: If you’ve ever found Crayola on the walls, this one’s for you (and your little artist). “Pool Painting” is a safe way to introduce children to the water while they’re still working on their swimming skills. Being sure to supervise your child carefully, give him or her a paintbrush and a cup or bucket of water. Have them use the water to “paint” letters, words, or pictures on the deck, racing against the clock before the sunlight turns their artwork “invisible!”
Games to Play in the Pool by Yourself
If you have an older son or daughter who may need to spend some time alone in the pool, break up the monotony of swimming laps with these games for one! Of course, if your child is in the pool alone, make sure he or she has the appropriate supervision.
- Handstand Challenge: Challenge your child to tumble and twist like a trapeze artist — without any danger of falling down! See if they can do a handstand, a somersault, or their favorite cheesy dance move. (The Running Man, anyone?) Remind your child to be careful, know their limits, and take a break when they start to get tired.
- Solo Pool Race: Using a waterproof watch or timer, test your child’s speed with timed laps in the pool. They’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how much they can improve in a single summer!
Swimming Pool Relay Games
Water relay games are perfect for pool parties, play dates, and big families. Form two to three teams of three players or more, then pass a toy or baton down the chain, racing to see who can reach the pool’s far end first. For an extra challenge, use a non-floating toy or baton. If anyone drops it, they’ll have to dive — then speed to make up for those crucial lost seconds!
Fun Pool Games for Two Players
Two heads are better than one — especially when it comes to games! Round up at least two people for these multiplayer pool activities:
- Beach Ball Racing: Ready, set, splash! The rules to this classic pool game are simple: whoever pushes their beach ball to the opposite end of the pool first, wins! This surprisingly challenging game is perfect for two players, making it ideal for siblings or pairs of playmates.
- Pool Volleyball: Use a pool noodle or pool float to create a “net” in the middle of the pool, making sure the stronger swimmer takes the deep end. Then see who can score more hits with a beach ball or floating toy!
- Bonus Tip: Give this game a tennis twist by using rackets and floating birdies.
Try These Fun Swimming Pool Games for Kids
Mix and match these pool games for endless summer fun. Remember to take a break from your busy schedule and take a dip with the kids. They’ll love the extra time with mom and dad and before you know it, you’ll be splashing, kicking, and having a great time, too!