Pools are opening with some restrictions and maybe you are lucky enough to have your own backyard swimming hole. Below are 8 classic pool games with a few variations. We have also compiled a short list of must-haves for the water (not necessarily a pool).
Toys and games worth considering to entertain in or near a body of water:
Swim through rings
Toss & catch
Waterproof playing cards
3 pack float
Splash battle islands
Watermelon ball (Players can dribble, kick, bounce, and pass this ball 10 ft underwater due to its near neutral buoyancy! The ball stays under the water unlike a volleyball or other types of water ball or inflatables.)
Recently we introduced our kids to this old classic and it was hilarious to watch. Whoever is Marco, calls out Marco while their eyes are closed and the others must say Polo in an attempt for Marco to catch them by tagging them. The one who is ‘it’ listens carefully to splashes and movements around to help catch the others. An additional rule- “Fish-out-of-water” allows players to exit the pool to avoid being tagged. But they can be caught by ‘it’ by yelling “Fish out of water,” that player then becomes it if they are in deed out of the water.
Sharks & Minnows:
This is a version of tag that you may remember playing in gym class indoors. You need one shark and everyone are minnows, lined up on one side of the pool. The shark yells “dinner time” and the minnows attempt to swim to the to the other side. The shark may tag any minnow that is swimming over, once the last minnow is tagged, it becomes the new shark and helps tag minnows.
Kids get to hop on the shoulders of an adult or can even play on floats. Make up the rules you want them to abide by because this is potentially dangerous but a classic. A chicken fight in the pool is like double-decker wrestling. The two people on shoulders are the only ones who actively fight. The object is to knock your opponent into the water, either by toppling just the top opponent or both opponents together. Make sure you have a big enough space in the water to play to avoid injuries.
What time is it Mr. Fox?:
Mr. Fox starts out at one end of the pool with his back to the group. The group at the other end then yells out “What time is it Mr. Fox?” Mr. Fox then calls out a time that is on the even hour “It’s 6 o’clock!”. The group then takes that many strokes or steps toward the fox. When the group gets to where the fox is, but not past him, and asks the time, the fox can yell “Midnight!” They then turn and swim after the group. Those who are caught then sit out at one end. The last one left becomes the fox. A variation can be to allow each child who is tagged to become an honorary fox and help catch people.
Diving for toys (or coins):
Have children close their eyes and toss in sinkable toys. Then strap those goggles on and hunt for what’s sunken in the deep, deep bottom. I remember my parents throwing in loads of coins to search for and we typically would play this for hours and bonus– we got to keep what we found.
Another great use for those squirt guns. Fill them up with water and kids have to dive under the water to avoid getting sprayed with the opponents water. If you get sprayed you give up your squirter until the next round. The last one swimming is the winner!
Blow up those floats, grab the pool noodles or brush up on those swim strokes and get ready to race. On your mark, get set, go (to the opposite end). Add a fun twist and inflate beach balls and have the swimmers lay across the ball to get to the other side.
I used to play this by holding a friend like a baby. The person is trying to guess the color I have thought of. Each time they guess it incorrectly I dipped her head back and into the water. Once she guesses correctly I flipped her into a back flip sending her into the water gently. Another take on this is someone is the caller and the others think of a color. The caller calls out the color and if it was someones choice color they have to get into the water trying to be as quiet as possible, making it to the other side of the pool without being tagged.