Kids pool games are the perfect way to keep your kids busy and outside if you have a pool. Banish summer boredom and get your kids outside more with these summer activities – 5 pool games your kids will love all summer long! From 2 player pool games to team pool games, there is something for everyone here. Your kids will love teaching their friends how to play and you’ll love that they’re keeping entertained and having fun all summer long with these pool games for kids.
This post was originally posted on May 4, 2016 and has since been updated.
Is there a better way to spend a lazy summer afternoon than in the pool? Most of my childhood summers revolved around the above ground pool in my backyard. My mom and our neighbor’s mom would lay out and tan until they were a shocking shade of brown while us kids would jump and splash until we were pruney, stopping only for watermelon breaks and complaining just enough so that our parents didn’t enforce sunscreen reapplication. The 90’s were a magical time.
Our pool was actually a product of my dad’s job – you see, my parents actually met at a ski and swim shop (shout out to Pelican Ski Shops in Whitehouse Station!) and my dad still works there to this day. When my brother and I were little, we would go into work with them and literally swim in the display pools all day. (again, the 90’s were magical. Can you imagine 10, unlocked, unfenced above ground pools at a store right off of a highway today? For display or otherwise.) My dad started a small business cleaning, maintaining and installing pools he sold, and when we were old enough for one he enlisted us to help him install one in our own backyard.
Because of his job, my dad ended up learning a lot about pools and kids playing in them. He always knew about the cool pool toys before anyone else and would teach us fun games to play in the pool to keep us entertained the whole day. At some point, my dad compiled all of these pool games – learned, imagined, and researched – into a book. It never really went anywhere, but if you dig through his piles of life memorabilia you’ll find one or two copies of his kids pool games book, printed on folded cardstock in all of their clip art-filled glory lying around. (psst, that’s not my dad’s name, it’s a Seinfeld joke…)
I was talking to my dad about it recently and mentioned I’d like to go through one one of these days and share my favorites with all of you, and next thing I knew, this was sitting in my lap. It’s a masterpiece, I tell you.
I vividly remember teaching my friends these pool games and being the coolest kid around because I knew all these fun games that we’d never played before. So today I’m sharing my 5 favorite kids pool games to add to your summer activities list asap. Hopefully, you and your kids will enjoy these games as much as I did!
Summer Activities: 5 Kids Pool Games Everyone will Love
Number of players: 3 or more
One player is chosen to be IT. He or she must stand at least 5 feet from a spot designated as home. ‘IT’ decides on a category of any kind. (It can be cereal, cars, TV shows, your favorite member of N*SYNC..) All of the other players are gathered on the other side of the pool. They quietly decide amongst themselves which thing in the category they will be. Then, IT begins to call out things he or she thinks of in the category with his or her back to the players. If IT calls out one of the player’s chose ‘thing’, the player must swim towards home. If IT tags the player before the player reaches home, the player is then it.
I have no idea why it is called Toothpaste. Categories or something similar would make more sense, but I vividly remember calling it toothpaste and the book says toothpaste so who knows. This was our favorite game as kids.
Number of Players: 3 or more
Choose one person to be the walrus. The walrus must float on his back with his eyes closed. The other players swim around the walrus. As they are swimming, they must sneak up on the walrus without waking him up. If the walrus ‘wakes up’, the walrus will try to grab the person who is the closest. The person who is caught by the walrus will then become the walrus.
Balloon Relay Race
Number of Players: 2 even teams with at least 2 players each
Items Needed: 2 blown up balloons
Divide the teams so that half of each team is on one side of the pool and the other is on the other side. (for example, 4 players = 1 member of each team on side A and 1 member of each team on side B. Players should be facing their teammates on the other side.) Choose one person to call out, “GO!” When the work ‘GO’ is said, the first person on each team takes their balloon and pushes it without using their hands to the other side of the pool. When they reach the other side of the pool, the next teammate goes. This is repeated until all teammates have switched sides. The team whose members reach the other side first wins.
Number of Players: 2 or more
Items needed: Ice cubes
Choose one person to throw ice cubes into the pool. The thrower says GO and everyone jumps into the pool. The players must bring the ice cubes to the edge of the pool one at a time before they melt. Thet person who gets the most ice cubes wins.
This works best with a ‘referee’. That way no one can claim that their ice cubes aka the poof melted.
Doggy, Doggy, Where’s Your Bone?
Number of Players: 3 or more
Items Needed: a small rubber ball (or other small floating toy)
One player is chosen to be doggy and stands on one side of the pool with his back to the other players. A ball floats in the water behind the doggy as the other players try to sneak up behind the doggy and steal the ball. When doggy thinks someone is stealing his bone, he quickly turns around and tries to catch that person. If the doggy turns around and nobody has the bone, the doggy has to start over. When a player successfully steals the bone, all of the players sing out, “Doggy, doggy, where’s your bone?” The doggy them has 2 guesses to find his bone. If he guesses right, the player with the bone is now the doggy.
Pool Safety Tips for Kids Pool Games
- Never let the kids out of your sight. If you have to run inside to use the bathroom, make a call, or grab a drink, everyone has to get out of the pool and come in as well. A pain? Yes. Worth it? Totally.
- Everyone has to be good swimmers. If you have a pool,chances are your kids are solid swimmers, but make sure to confirm this status with the parents of any kids who come over.
- Make sure everyone knows the pool rules. No running, no food in the pool, no diving, no rough housing – your pool, your rules and anyone who cannot follow the rules must be removed.
- For more pool safety tips, the Red Cross has this great resource that every home pool owner should check out.
So tell me – what were your favorite kids pool games as a kid? Have you ever played any of these games? Would you be interested in an e-book version of my dad’s book? Let me know in the comments!
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