best swimming pool games for kids

15 Best Swimming Pool Games for Kids in 2024

The weather is finally heating up, which means pool season is about to begin. It’s an exciting transition but one that may leave some asking, how can I make my swimming pool more fun this summer?

If you find yourself in the same boat, then you’ve come to the right place! At Great Wolf Lodge, you’ll find swimming pool experts nationwide. Listed below are some of our favorite swimming pool games

15 Best Swimming Pool Games for Ultimate Fun!

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Wiley Wolf playing some swimming pool games!

Swimming pool games are something we look forward to all year long. Check out the list below for ideas on how to make the most out of your summer.

Don’t worry; these activities don’t require any expensive equipment. You can use simple supplies from around the house to carry out most of our ideas. Now, let’s get started!

If your kids love games and activities, they’ll love our Raccoon Lagoon.

1. Sharks and Minnows

swimming pool games

How to play: If you’ve ever entertained a game of tag, then this one will be easy to follow! Select someone to be the shark. This person will essentially be “it.” The rest of the players will be “minnows.” Kick the game off with the shark stationed on one side of the pool with the minnows grouped on the other.

The action will officially begin when the shark calls out, “Fishes, fishes, come out and play!” At that point, the minnows will start swimming towards the other side of the pool. The shark has to stay in place until someone calls out “Shark Attack.”

After that call, the shark will start swimming around, trying to tag the minnows as they journey to the other side of the pool. Whoever gets tagged turns into a shark, making the game increasingly more difficult for the remaining minnows. The last minnow tagged wins!

2. Chicken Fight 

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How to play: Each game requires a total of four players, two on each team. Choose who will stand in the water and who will ride on their teammate’s shoulders. Once the game begins, the two top players will join hands, trying to knock one another into the pool.

It’s important to establish a few safety rules before you begin the chicken fight. Make sure the players are away from the edge of the pool. You should also let the players know that they should keep their hands off of the opponent’s head, neck, and hair.

3. Underwater Obstacle Course

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How to play: To create your underwater obstacle course, grab a few hula hoops, punch holes in the sides, and fill with water. Then, wrap a small section of a pool noodle around one end to keep it afloat.

To complete the course, each player must swim through a few hoops and collect various items placed at the bottom of the pool.

Be sure to check out our obstacle course post for more ideas from Great Wolf Lodge!

4. Freeze Tag

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How to play: Have your players swim around the pool, trying to avoid whoever is “it.” If tagged, they must stay in place and tread water. They can only be “unfrozen” by another player swimming underneath their legs.

If you have younger kids who don’t know how to tread water, move the game to the shallow end. When frozen, have them stand with their legs apart so that other players can swim in between them and get them back in the game. Remember, you can’t tag someone who is swimming underwater.

5. Marco Polo

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How to play: An oldie, but a goodie! Again, you’ll need to choose one player to be “it.” Have this person get into the water with their eyes closed and start counting to the number of their choice.

All the other swimmers will start scattering around the pool during the count. When finished, whoever is “it” will call out, “Marco,” while the other swimmers reply, “Polo.” Using only sound, they’ll need to locate and tag the other players.

Remember, they have to keep their eyes closed the whole time!

6. Octopus Attack

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How to play: Whoever is “it” stands in the middle of the pool. The rest of the players will line up at the end of the pool. When the game begins, they’ll have to swim to the other side without getting tagged.

Those who do will then join hands with whoever is “it” during the next round and help them tag the remaining swimmers. The more people tagged, the bigger your “octopus” becomes.

7. Bumper Balls

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How to play: Use a rope to section off a portion of the pool. Each player will get a beach ball they can use to knock their opponents into the rope. Once someone touches the rope with any part of their body, they’re “out.” The last player in the pool wins!

8. Cardboard Boat Race

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Materials Needed: This swimming pool game requires a few different materials. You’ll need some cardboard boxes, scissors, packing tape, colored paper, and some markers to stickers to get started.

How to play: Divide the kids into two teams and give them each an hour to create the strongest, fastest, and most wildly decorated boat possible using the materials listed above.

They’ll have to come up with names for their vessels as well. When the time is up, each team must place their boats in the water; whichever one stays above water longest wins!

9. Crocodile Hunter

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Materials Needed: For this swimming pool game, you’ll need a few inflatable crocodiles and one hula hoop per player.

How to play: Prepare your inflatables and toss them into the pool. Then, give each kid a hula hoop which they will use to “capture” the crocodile.

Once they get their ring around the float, they’ll have to climb onto its back and start racing — the first player to reach the shallow end of the pool without tipping over wins.

If you want, you can even assign bonus points to players who attempt an Australian accent!

10. Invisible Bottles

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How to play: Get the adults to collect a few plastic bottles. They’ll need to remove the labels and lids so that they become almost invisible when placed underwater.

Then, have them fill the bottles with water and place them around the bottom of the pool. After that, the kids are free to start their search. See who comes up for air with the most bottles in hand!

11. Swimming Pool Scavenger Hunt

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How to play: To play this game, you’ll need to divide the kids up into two teams. Gather a bunch of different items that will both sink and float when placed in water. Think of things like coins, diving sticks, ping pong balls, and more. Make sure you have at least two of everything.

Toss the objects into the water and have one person from each team dive into the pool. The first one to collect each item wins.

12. Noodle Joust

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How to play: This pool game only requires two players. Put them on a pool float or raft and send them off into the middle of the pool.

Give the players pool noodles to use and let the jousting begin! See who knocks the other into the water first. Kids will especially love this game since it’s not typically allowed inside of the house!

13. Ring Around the Rosie

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How to play: This is a great one for little kids just learning how to swim! It’s also a popular activity to entertain during swim lessons.

Ask the kids to join hands and form a circle in the shallow end of the pool. Then, have them start singing “Ring Around the Rosie.”

On the final line, everyone should dunk down. This is a great way to get them comfortable holding their breath and swimming underwater.

14. Fishy in the Middle

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How to play: Similar to “Monkey in the Middle,” this game requires three players. Two will stand on either side of the shallow end with the third player in between them.

The player players at the edge will toss a beach ball back and forth until the one in the middle intercepts!

15. Atomic Whirlpool

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How to play: Get as many people as you can to participate as you can! This is one of those swimming pool games that gets better with more players.

Have everyone line up in the shallow end of the pool. On the count of three, tell everyone to start walking around the edge. Once they have a rhythm going, ask them to break into a run.

The faster everyone goes, the better the game becomes.

Eventually, a whirlpool will form. At that point, tell your swimmers to turn around. Watch them laugh squirm as they try to swim against the current!

More Water Games from Great Wolf Lodge

Thanks for checking out these fun swimming pool games for kids! You can also visit our blog for more fun things to do with family and friends.

If you’re interested in more ways to stay cool this summer, be sure to check out the following articles:

You can also visit us at the lodge. Each stay includes water park passes, lodge entertainment, and at-home comfort. Our indoor water park resorts offer family-friendly fun all across the country.

From splashing to relaxing, there are slides and rides for every age and ability!

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