What are Some Swimming Pool Games?

J. Beam

One of the best places for summer fun on a hot day is in the pool. Swimming is a physical activity with numerous health benefits, but with the use of some simple pool toys and accessories you can play a number of swimming pool games that make pool time so much fun that kids won’t even notice they’re getting exercise. The following swimming pool games are just a few suggestions and you can change them or adapt them to work in any size pool.

Marco Polo is a classic swimming pool game.
Marco Polo is a classic swimming pool game.

Marco Polo is a classic swimming pool game. All that’s required is a pair of blacked out swim goggles and a group of willing friends or family. One person, ideally one who swims well, dons the blacked out goggles while everyone else spreads out in the pool. The “blinded” player calls out “Marco!” and all the other players must answer “Polo!” Marco follows the sound of the other players’ voices until he tags one of them. The tagged player then becomes Marco and play continues. In smaller pools, tagging is easy. In large pools, especially if playing with beginning swimmers, you can use a squirt gun for shooting and “tagging” at longer distances.

Swimming is a safe way for people of all ages to exercise.
Swimming is a safe way for people of all ages to exercise.

Diving games are also popular games for the pool. You can purchase sets of plastic, weighted rings or sticks with point values on them. Toss them into the pool and once they have sunk, have each player dive for one stick or ring at a time. The player who collects the highest point value wins. There are other diving games that involve swimming through an obstacle course of hoops for points or freeing objects tied to the hoops, but these are best played in larger swimming pools.

Turning swimming into a race is always popular.
Turning swimming into a race is always popular.

There are several sports-related swimming pool games as well. You can purchase floating basketball hoops and volleyball nets, for example. Volleyball can also be played in large pools by using the rope that divides the deep and shallow ends as the “net.” This is a great game for children and adults alike to play as strong swimmers can play in the deep end while those less sure of themselves can play from the shallow end.

Children should never be left unattended while in a pool.
Children should never be left unattended while in a pool.

Races and relays can also be turned into swimming pool games by having players pull one another down the length of the pool or around the perimeter using swim noodles, rafts, or rings. After one lap, players switch places and race back to start. Other adaptations of races or relays can be thought of as you go.

Nearly any game that kids enjoy playing outdoors can be adapted to play in the pool. Pool stores offer a good selection of swimming pool games, but encourage your kids to use their imagination as well. Always remember to enforce pool safety rules when playing games and never allow children to swim unattended.

Pool safety rules should always be enforced.
Pool safety rules should always be enforced.

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Discussion Comments


Subway11- I am thinking about getting a pool for my kids. They really want one. I think I want to get the classic pool design rather than a kidney shaped pool.

I like the classic design better because it fills out the space better. The classic design is generally a rectangular design with slight curves on each of the four corners.

I would have loved to have an infinity or negative edge pool, but they are quite expensive. I am looking to hire Pool Designs pool builders here in South Florida.

Some people buy the pool design blueprint and then find another contractor to perform the actually installation, but I rather have Pool Designs do all of the pool construction.

They have been in business for thirty years and are very well regarded in South Florida.


Brickback- I just wanted to add that my kid’s swimming pool party games always include a game of volleyball and tag with a beach ball.

They also play swimming pool games like Ping Pong hunt. In this game the children form a circle and a large set of numbered ping pong balls are thrown in the pool with various point values.

The children then have to gather as many ping pong balls as they can and then you add up the point value.

Those with the highest point values win. It is really a lot of fun. But traditional swimming pool games and activities like relay races also works with a medium to large group of kids.

The relay races can even include a noodle for extra challenge. They can swim across the pool while riding a noodle, to slightly change the traditional relay race format.


Anon30642- That sounds like a great idea. I just want to say that I loved playing Marco Polo as a kid. It was so much fun. My favorite swimming pool games involve swimming races with my kids.

It is really a lot of fun and really gets your heart racing. Sometimes, I will throw a ring in the water far enough so both my kids would have to swim to it.

They love trying to catch the ring underwater.This is probably one of the best swimming pool games to play.

There are a lot of different toys designed for diving games like this. We also have a small dolphin with some flares on the top, but there are different animals. I bought them at Toys R’ Us in the swim section.


I love pool basketball, I'm helping to create the new sport.

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