It’s my favorite time of year, summer! For my family, summer means slow mornings and late nights outside. It also means it’s time to swim. We love to get our chores and errands done early in the day and then spend the afternoon relaxing in the summer heat, getting our swim on, and playing our favorite pool games. Canon balls, pool basketball, and floating in the inner-tube, we love it all. In no particular order here are our top 10 favorite family pool games.
1. Handstand Contest
Point those toes and keep those legs straight. A handstand contest and all of its variations are always a family favorite.
2. Sharks and Minnows
One swimmer is the “shark” the remaining players are “minnows.” Minnows begin the game by lining up on one side of the pool. The shark begins the game in the middle of the pool and starts the game with a little chant of “swim minnows swim!” After the chant, minnows swim across the pool and try to avoid a tag from the shark. Any minnow tagged becomes a shark and helps tag other minnows. The game continues back and forth across the pool until all minnows have become sharks.
3. Floatie Race
Ready, Set, Go! Grab your giant crocodile, shark, or pizza and get racing across the pool. Variations include paddling backwards, using only your hands, and relay style. Need an extra challenge? Racers must start over if they fall off their floatie.
The person who is ‘it” stands outside of the pool with their back to the pool. The remaining players line up along the wall beneath “it” in the pool. Players each choose a color, but keep it a secret. “It” calls out a color and all the swimmers who chose that color race across the pool and try not to get tagged when “it” jumps in to catch them. If “it” calls a color that no one chose “it” takes one step away from the edge of the pool so that he or she starting further back.
5. Escape from Alcatraz
A twist on the game Colors. One person is “it” and stands facing the side of a pool. Players line up across the pool and across from “it.” As quietly as possible, players swim to the others side of the pool without being caught and tagged by “it.” If a player is caught and tagged they become the new “it.”
6. Invisible Bottle
Take a plastic bottle with a white cap and fill it with pool water. Hide the bottle at the bottom of the pool and go find it. Super simple idea that is incredibly challenging. Perfect to play in teams or as individual fun.
7. Submarine Relay
The point of this game is to get your team across the pool, relay style, by swimming through your teammates legs. Players divide into two teams. Each team lines up across the pool with their legs spread wide. The last person swims through the legs of all their team members to get to the front of the line and then stands in the front with their legs spread so that the next “last” player can swim to the front. First team that crosses the pool wins.
8. Diving for Pirate Treasure
Sure you can dive for rings or rockets, but why not take it up a notch and dive for pirate treasure? Next time you and the kids are wandering the aisles of the craft store, pick up some colorful gems that are used for flower arrangements and bring them to the pool. Toss the bright gems into pool and dive for pirate treasure. There is something alluring about these small bright gems that keep swimmers endlessly occupied.
9. Ping Pong Bonanza
Gather up 20-30 ping pong balls. Write one number on each ball so that you have a collection of ping pong balls with a numerical value that range from 1-30. Next, scatter the ping pong balls into the pool. Players divide into 2 teams. One at a time one member of each team retrieves a ping pong ball and brings it back to their team’s designated area. Once all the balls are collected, teams add up the value of all their balls. The team with most points wins or maybe it’s the team with the least points. Play it both ways!
10. Marco Polo
Summer swimming would not be complete without classic pool games. The “it” calls out “Marco” and moves around the pool with his or her eyes closed in an attempt to tag a player. Players return the Marco call with a response of “Polo.” If a player is tagged they are the new “it.” Additionally, “it” can also call “fish out of water” which “tags” any players that have stepped out of the pool in an attempt to get away.