Summer’s winding down, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to slow down. By the 10th game of tag, even a professional swimmer would get tired - but somehow the little one isn’t. With children full to the brim with energy, and parents maybe a little less, here’s 10 games in the pool to keep your little ones active - and give you a chance to rest.
The classic pool game, Marco Polo is always a rock-solid choice for keeping kids occupied. Since you’ll be watching them anyways, though, why not make it more fun for you? Have the tagged player choose something that makes noise, like a phone or an animal, and the rest of the kids have to respond with that thing’s sound effect. You can laugh along with the kids as they make their best impressions of cats, or make car noises as they race away from each other.
A pretty cheap pool toy, a set of four torpedoes can go a long way. While you can sit by the edge, a light toss can send the torpedoes shooting halfway across the pool - and your child along after them! If you want to throw a little educational spin on it, test their memory by lining up the torpedoes on the pool deck and having them line it up after they’ve gotten them all back - it’ll give them a chance to breathe, and also work that brain muscle.
Sharks and Minnows
Another classic game, where one kid plays as the Shark, who waits in the middle of the pool, and the rest are the Minnows. The Minnows have to try to sneak past the shark and cross the pool, and the games of stealth and speed as the kids try to avoid being tagged always results in hilarity. With more kids, you can change the rule so that those that are tagged become sharks.
Beach Ball/Noodle/Floatie Race
There’s nothing children like more in the pool than testing their speed against each other, but eventually they’ll get tired of it. Spice up that race with beach balls, noodles, or floaties, where the swimmers have to push the ball or ride the noodle across the pool while they swim. Kids struggling with a noodle like it’s a cowboy rodeo is not only fun to watch, but it’s a neat challenge for the kids too!
The Water Bottle Game
Like its name implies, this game only needs a clear, plastic water bottle. Unscrew the cap and fill it up with water, then have the competitors face a wall while you place it on the pool floor. The catch is that it’ll blend in with the water, becoming nearly invisible - and so their quest to find it is a lot more difficult than it first appears.
Another racing game, here the swimmers push off the wall and swim as far as they can without taking a breath - when they do, they stop and stand in place, and the one that got furthest wins. A second version of this game is to have them swim the length of the pool, and see who can get there taking the least breaths. Note: this doesn’t work as well for club swimmers, because most of them can get across the pool with no breaths.
Ping Pong Scramble
Last on our list is also one of the most popular. Scatter ping pong balls in the pool, and have two teams compete to see who can return the most to their home base. Each player can only hold one ping pong ball at a time, but watch for them trying to think of as many funny and sneaky ways to cheat the system as they can. To make it more interesting, use a permanent marker to write a point value on each ball, and see if the players adopt special strategies!