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9 Swimming Pool Games for The Whole Family



Family Playing Chicken Wars in their Pool

Swimming pool games are a fantastic way to beat boredom while you’re stuck at home. As long as you take the right precautions, your swimming pool is a safe place to let out pent up energy and pass the time. Playing some fun pool games with your family can help make the current stay-at-home reality a little more bearable.

You’ve probably played swimming pool games at pool parties, but many require a large group of people—which isn’t an option right now. The good news is that there are plenty of swimming pool games you can play with just your immediate family.

Here are nine of the best pool games that are great for the entire family and don’t require many people or supplies.

The Best Pool Games for The Whole Family

These are some of our favorites.

  1. Marco Polo / Dolphin – Before it was a popular social messaging app providing some much-needed “human interaction” amidst these unprecedented times of social distancing, Marco Polo was simply a classic swimming pool game played by kids. Similar to hide-and-seek, but in the pool, the person who is “it” keeps their eyes closed and tries to find and tag the other players who are moving quietly around the pool. The only way for the “Seeker” to find the other players is by shouting out, “Marco.” Players who aren’t “it” have to respond with “Polo.”

    The “Seeker” listens carefully and moves around the pool (arms outstretched as feelers) until they’re able to find and tag someone. A fun twist on this game is instead of shouting “Marco” and “Polo,” the person who is “it” shouts, “Dolphin,” and everyone else must do their best dolphin impression as a response. It’s the same rules with a funnier result.
  2. Sharks and Minnows – Similar to a game of tag, you choose one person to be the shark, and the rest of the players are minnows. The shark starts on one side of the pool, and minnows start on the other. Once play begins, minnows try to swim to the other side of the pool before they’re tagged by the shark. Depending how many people you have, each minnow that gets caught can become a shark also. The game ends once all the minnows have been tagged.
  3. Octopus – Octopus is a lot like Sharks and Minnows. One person, the octopus, stands in the center of the pool. All the other players start on one side of the pool. Once play begins, the players try to make it to the other side of the pool without being tagged by the octopus.

    If the octopus tags players, then on the next round, those players start in the center with the octopus and try to catch other players. Play continues until all players have joined the octopus in the middle.
  4. Treasure Hunt – This can be played with different heavy or light items (depending what you have on hand) to vary the game’s difficulty level. Golf balls make great sinkable “treasure.” For floating “treasure,” use tennis balls, ping pong balls, or even floating bath toys like rubber ducks. While players aren’t looking, distribute the “treasure” around one end of the pool. Then, players start from the other side and jump in to retrieve the items. The player who finds the most “treasure” wins.
  5. Find the Bottles – Here’s a fun way to recycle and reuse those plastic water bottles you purchased. To play this one, pull the labels off plastic water bottles and fill them with water. Then, drop several to the bottom of the pool and have players dive and try to locate them. Plastic water bottles are surprisingly difficult to see underwater. The one with the most, or the one who finds them all first wins.
  6. Contests – While this one isn’t a game per se, kids love contests. You can hold handstand contests, belly flop contests, hold your breath contests, diving contests and more. Set the rules and let the battles begin. For longer play, set up a tournament-style competition and crown the ultimate champions in each category.
  7. Submarine – This game is a combination of racing and contests. Players start at one side of the pool and race to the other side. The hard part? You must swim underwater! Once you come up for air, you have to stop where you are. The player who goes the farthest, the fastest without coming up for air wins.
  8. Dolphin Push – This game requires balls that can float on top of the water. Racers each start at one end of the pool with a ball. The goal is to move the ball to the other side of the pool first, but there’s a catch—you can only move the ball using your nose! If you touch the ball with any other part of your body, you have to start over. You can also play this one relay style.
  9. Chicken Fight (AKA Shoulder Wars) – Pair up and prepare to push your opponenets down in a battle of brute force and balance. This game is played by partners who team up with one team member hoisting the other on their shoulders as they try to take the other team(s) down by knocking the opposition off their teammates shoulders. Last team standing wins!

Pass the Time with Swimming Pool Games

These nine fun pool games provide an entertaining way to relieve stress while soaking up some sun and spending some quality time with your family in the pool while you’re “sheltering in place.”