Does playing games in the pool bring back childhood memories of long afternoons in the pool? Here is a list of the top all-time favorite swimming pool games to keep kids and teens alike entertained. Keep in mind, playing games may make it more difficult to notice a swimmer who is struggling to stay afloat, so only play games with strong swimmers or in shallow pools where all players can stand easily.
Safety should always come first!
This is an all-time favorite pool game that requires no toys. All you will need is at least three players, and maybe a blind fold if you don’t trust Marco to keep their eyes closed!
To get started:
Select one person to be Marco. The Marco player must close their eyes and count to ten. During this time, all the other players move around the pool, usually as far from Marco as possible. After Marco finishes counting, he must try to tag other players without opening his eyes!
The catch is that anytime Marco calls out “Marco” all the other players must call out “Polo”, giving away their position. Other players may not leave the pool and must respond, unless they are under water. The first play to be tagged becomes Marco for the next round.
Sharks and Minnows
Sharks and minnows is similar to tag and requires at least three players, but is best played with groups of five to ten. You will need a pool, players, and not much else!
To get started:
Choose one player to be the shark, all other players are minnows. The shark stands in the middle of the pool, while all the minnows line up on one side of the pool. The goal of the game is for the minnows to reach the other side of the pool without being tagged by the shark. Once all minnows reach the other side, ‘shark attack’ starts again!
- After all the minnows are lined up on one side of the pool, Shark says “Fishy, fishy, come out and play!” At which point, all the minnows begin moving to the other side of the pool slowly. (No tagging yet!)
- At a time of the shark’s choosing, they shout “Shark attack!”, and all the minnows must race to the other side of the pool, which is the safe zone.
- Any minnows who get tagged become sharks and begin tagging other minnows.
- The last remaining minnow becomes the shark for the next round.
Having alternative rules makes games more fun and can keep the same game interesting for longer! An alternative rule is to have all tagged minnows become ‘seaweed’, meaning they can still tag other minnows, but must keep their feet planted.
Battleships and Submarines
This game requires a pretty big group (at least six players), and a larger pool. Start by dividing the group into two teams and assign each team a side of the pool as their ‘base’. For every round, each team sends one player into play, rotating which team sends a battleship and which team sends a submarine.
The round starts when the submarine pushes off from their base, at which point the battleship also pushes off. The battleship’s goal is to reach the other team’s base before the submarine tags them.
The catch? The submarine must stay underwater. If they surface and are splashed by the battleship, they join the battleship’s team! If the battleship is tagged, they join the submarine’s side. If the battleship reaches the other side safely, they get a safe pass back to their side, and the second round starts.
The goal of the game is to get all players on your team!
Chicken (or Joust)
This game should only be played in shallow water (no more than armpit high) with older players who are strong swimmers. You will need four players – two ‘horses’ and two ‘knights.’ The knights sit on the shoulders of horses and face with pool noodles.
Each knight tries to knock the other knight off their horse to win the round. The horses must keep their hands on the legs of their knight, but may move around to help or protect their knight. The first team to unseat the other pair wins!
What is Your Favorite Pool Game?
Pool games are a fantastic way to keep everyone entertained (and get some exercise). Most of us have fond childhood memories spent playing games with family and friends. Was your favorite game on this list? If not, what was your favorite swimming pool game?