Swimming is one of the best ways to work out your kids can get – combine swimming with the pool games below, and you’ll never have to worry that your kids are getting enough exercise again.


1. Marco Polo in the Pool

Marco Polo is probably the most popular pool game and it can be played with as few as two people. One person is selected to be ‘Marco’. Marco is blindfolded (or simply closes his/her eyes) and counts to 10 before diving under the water and coming out shouting “Marco”. The other players, who have scattered around the pool, all have to reply “Polo.” Game play continues until blindfolded “Marco” tags one of the other players. The tagged player then becomes the new Marco.

2. Beach Ball Competition

Each player has a fully inflated beach ball. The aim of this game is to fully submerge the beach ball for as long as you can without touching the bottom of the pool.  The winner being the last person with their beach ball still fully submerged.  It sounds easy enough but is actually rather challenging and fun as the ball tries to bounce above the water.  You can make this game even more challenging by instead of simply submerging the beach ball each player has to sit on the submerged beach ball without touching the bottom of the pool. And for an even harder game, make it that each player has to attempt to get to the other side of the pool with their beach ball still fully submerged and without touching the bottom.

3. Diving for Treasure

To play treasure hunt in the pool you need a number of objects (no sharp edges) that will sink. You can make your own or purchase sets made specifically for this purpose. Have players close their eyes, and then scatter the objects around the pool. Count to three, have them open their eyes, and start diving for treasures. Whoever gets the most treasures wins the game.

Play treasure hunt with teams. Pick a variety of items, and throw two of each into the pool. Divide everyone into two teams and shout, “go”. Each team has to collect one of each item from the bottom of the pool. The first team to collect them all wins.

4. Cardboard Boat Race

Supply teams with large cardboard boxes which will act as boats. Each team (one member at a time) must race the boat from one end of the pool to the other side and back again, using only his or her arms as oars. The team that does this in the fastest time wins.

You can add even more fun to this game by allotting each team one hour to design and build a ‘seaworthy’ boat using packaging tape, colored paper, markers and stickers. Of course every boat must have a name and you can award prizes for the best design, the most sturdy boat, or whatever takes your fancy.

5. Dolphins and Sharks

This is a good game to play with lots of people. Divide half the players into dolphins and the other half into sharks, leaving one player to be the leader. Designate one end of the pool as the dolphins’ safe point and the other end as the sharks’ safe point. With everyone in the middle of the pool, the leader calls out either “dolphins” or “sharks.” Whichever group called has to quickly swim to their safety point while their opponents chase them, trying to tag as many as possible. Throughout the game the leader will randomly call out either team. Any player tagged has to join the enemy team. The game ends when all players have become part of one team.

6. Rubber Ducky

Each player is given a rubber ducky. Starting at one end of the pool, each player has to get their rubber ducky to the otherside without touching your duck. You can distract the other players by splashing water in their faces or splashing water toward their ducks to knock them backward. They just can’t actually TOUCH the other players or their ducks. The first one to get his duck to touch the other end of the pool (obeying the rules) is the winner.

If you don’t have rubber ducks you can try using apples or anything else that floats.

7. Invisi-Bottle

Take a clear, 2-litre bottle, remove the wrapper and fill it with pool water. Try to use a bottle with a cap that matches the color of the pool floor. All players need to be outside the pool.  Choose someone to be the first bottle tosser, while all other players face away from the pool with their eyes closed.

When they hear the splash of the bottle being tossed into the water, the players turn around and try to find the bottle. Sounds easy, right? Think again! The clear bottle blends in and becomes almost invisible on the bottom of the pool. The first person to retrieve the bottle from the water is the winner and they become the next bottle tosser.

8. Octopus

Choose a person to be the octopus.  The octopus stands in the middle of the pool and all other players line up on one side of the pool.  The aim is to try and swim to the other side without being trapped by the octopus.  If the octopus captures you, you hold hands with the octopus and the octopus grows. Keep going until all players have become part of the octopus. The last free person becomes the next octopus.

9. Popsicle

This is a modified version of freeze tag. One person is ‘it’ and tries to tag the other players in the pool. If a player is tagged, he or she must stand frozen like a popsicle (with hands straight in the air) until another player thaws him or her by swimming between his or her legs. A player cannot be tagged while underwater. Take turns being ‘it’.

10. Whirlpool

Have everyone get into the pool and line up single file along the edge with very little space between them. Everyone walks/runs/swims in the same direction around the edge of the pool. After proceeding like this for a few minutes you will find the water creating a strong current. Finally, everyone turns around and goes in the opposite direction. It is almost impossible to go against the current and everyone will have fun in their attempts.

Whirlpool is a great game to play when you need to clean the pool as all the leaves and debris in the pool will circulate into the center with the whirlpool that you create. Just be sure to leave off attempting to swim in the opposite direction as this will ruin your circle of nicely collected leaves.