It is summertime, and when I’m not tending to my garden, I am cooling off in the pool. While we all love a good game of Marco Polo, sometimes long summer days require a little more creativity in the pool.

A refreshing cool down is exactly what we need when the sun is hot and the temps are high. But if you find that your crew is getting bored with the classic pool party games, spice it up with a few games that are new and different. 

These games work perfectly for both kids and adults, but always be careful and sensitive of others. Pool games should only be played by those who are confident and independent swimmers. Always make sure children are supervised and safety comes first, even when competition is on the line. Now let’s have some fun! 

invisible bottle pool game

INVISI-BOTTLE

Supplies: A clear bottle (2-liter or water bottle works great) with a white or clear lid. 

How to Play: Divide everyone into two teams and line them up on opposite ends of the pool inside the water, facing away from the center. An adult outside of the water tosses the bottle in the water. When the players hear the splash, it’s time to turn around and try to find the bottle as fast as possible. While it sounds like a simple diving game, the clear bottle makes it almost invisible to see making it more fun and challenging. The smaller the bottle, the harder it is. 

OCTOPUS

Supplies: None! 

How to Play: Choose a person to be “it” and have them stand in the middle of the pool. All of the other players line up on one side of the pool. The goal is to try and swim to the other side without being tagged. If you get tagged, you must hold hands with the person that tagged you and try to tag the other swimmers. Keep going until all players have been tagged – then choose another “it” and start again.

DOLPHINS AND SHARKS

Supplies: None! 

How to Play: Divide half the players into dolphins and the other half into sharks, one person is the leader. Designate two zones in the pool – one for the dolphins, one for the sharks. The leader calls out “dolphins!” or “Sharks!” and that group must swim towards their zone while the other group chases them. If they get tagged, they must join the other team. Throughout the game, the leader randomly calls out either team, switching the tagging and chasing back and forth. The game ends when all players have become part of one team.

pool games

FROZEN T-SHIRT CONTEST

Supplies: A tee-shirt frozen in a block of ice (this requires prep ahead of time) – each team needs their own frozen tee-shirt. 

How to Play:Take the shirts out and give one to each team. The goal is to thaw the shirt. Every 15 seconds you switch the person thawing the shirt. They can put it in the pool, bang it on the concrete, blow on it, sit on it, whatever they think will work best. Have someone shout “switch” every 15 seconds and the first one team to thaw it AND puts the tee-shirt on wins. 

WET T-SHIRT RELAY

Supplies: One size fits all tee-shirt 

How to Play: Two teams are created, half of each team lines up outside the pool on opposite ends. The starting player for each team is given a soaking wet T-shirt which they must put on completely, jump in, swim across the pool, climb out, take off the shirt and hand it to the next player on the team. The first team to get everyone across the pool in the T-shirt wins.

DUCK PUSH

Supplies: 3-4 Rubber Ducks 

How to play: Depending on the size of your pool, put 3-4 players at one and and give them each a rubber duck. When you say go, they must use their nose to push the duck to the other end of the pool. They cannot touch, hold, or bite the duck. The other players can distract, splash, etc., but can’t touch the ducks. The first one to get his duck to touch the other end of the pool (obeying the rules) is the winner.

NOODLE JOUST

Supplies: One inflatable raft and two pool noodles

How to Play: Select 2 players to sit on an inflatable raft in the middle of the pool. Give each one a pool noodle and have them joust with the noodles and try and get each other off the raft. The winner takes on the next player.

PING PONG SCRAMBLE

ping pong scramble
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Supplies: Ping Pong Balls 

How to Play:Players form a large circle and an outside adult dumps a large container of ping pong balls in the middle. Players scramble to collect ping pong balls and place them in their container. However, they must pick up just one ball at a time and place them in their bucket. Whoever collects the most balls wins.

TREASURE CHEST

Supplies: Plastic gems that sink (these can be found at most craft stores) and a treasure box or bucket for each team. 

How to Play: Before playing, use a sharpie to mark the gems with a dollar amount. When you’re ready to play, have all players get out of the pool while you toss in a bag of gems randomly throughout the water. Wait for all the gems to sink. Allow all players to jump in at the same time and gather as much treasure as they can to fill their chest. Add up the “money” in your bucket and the team with the highest value treasure. 

fun summer pool diving games

SCAVENGER HUNT

Supplies: A variety of items that all sink with a corresponding list. (Make sure they aren’t sharp). 

How to Play: Throw the items into the pool and divide the players into teams. Each team must collect their list of items. The first team to collect them all wins.

CARDBOARD BOAT RACE

Supplies: Large cardboard boxes, packaging tape, colored paper, markers and stickers, How to Play:Give each team one house to build the best seaworthy boat. Encourage creativity in design and decoration, and, of course, their boat name. When the hour is up, each team must get inside their boat and race from one end of the pool to the other side and back again, fastest time wins. In the case that your engineering isn’t up the par, the boat that simply stays afloat the longest wins.

These swimming pool and water games work well with every age and in many different environments. Try a few next time you have a backyard pool party, a summer day at the local pool and some might even work in the ocean. Always make sure you have adequate supervision and take plenty of pictures for a fun and memorable time.

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