Updated July 16, 2020 by Jessica Mark
This guide has an incredible list of popular swimming games to play now. Each game has helpful instructions on how to play. There are free games, low cost games and higher cost games. I have included tabs below so you can go to the section you prefer most. Thank you for looking and have an awesome summer!
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Free Swimming Pool Games
#1 Dive For Coins
First count how many coins there are and then each person takes turns trying to get them at the bottom of the pool (I wouldn’t suggest doing this in the deep end of a pool). A timer works pretty well (2-4 minutes per person) or an outdoor pool clock works really great. Additionally I have added a few links of the most popular ones below. Another version is for one person to throw the coins in while everyone else is not looking and then when done they all go in at the same time. Whoever gets the most coins wins.
#2 Marco Polo Pool Game
One person is Marco and moves in the pool with eyes closed (or with a blinder on). When Marco says “Marco” everyone in the pool has to say “Polo.” Marco keeps saying “Marco” until he/she can reach out and tag a person. That tagged person then gets to be Marco. If anyone is out of the pool Marco can say “Fish out of water,” and then that person has to be Marco. The idea is that you are not supposed to get out of the pool.
When I was a kid we had an out of the ground oval pool and with just 5 kids we all went on the outside of the pool, put our arms out, and ran as fast as we could (in the pool) creating a huge whirlpool. Then we would get on floaties and ride the waves. Or one person can ride the waves while everyone else still goes in a circle. Bonus points if you can make the waves big enough to knock that person out of their floatie!
#4 Jumping Competition Swimming Pool Games
Each person thinks of the craziest jump they can do into the pool (that is safe of course) and everyone else grades them on a scale of 1-10.
#5 Sharks and Minnows
One person starts out as the Shark and the rest are Minnows. The Shark goes on one side of the pool and the Minnows go on the other side of the pool. The Shark then says out loud “Sharks and Minnows, one two three, fishies, fishies swim to me” and the Minnows jump into the pool and try to get past the Shark. If the Shark tries to tag as many Minnows as he/she can. The first one tagged is the Shark for the next round. All other Minnows tagged from the first round do not play in the next round. Rounds keep playing until one Minnow is left. That Minnow is the winner.
#6 Categories Swimming Games To Play
One person is “It” and states a category such as “food”, “ice cream flavors”, “pets” etc. and the other players think of one and keep it to themselves such as “mint chip” and “vanilla” if the category was ice cream flavors. When the players have chosen something they say “ready” and then whoever is “It” has to start guessing what they are secretly thinking of. Whenever “It” guesses correctly that person has to try to swim past “It” without getting tagged or they are “It” for the next round.
Real simple, everyone tries to make the largest splash and then are rated 1-10. The largest score wins.
Low Cost Pool Games
These games generally cost about $25 or less
#8 Obstacle Course Swimming Pool Games
Pretty much use whatever you have: pool noodles, floaties, things to dive in the water and fetch, balls etc. and then make up a list of things to do (For example: jump in the water and fetch two pool rings and throw them out of the water, swim to the deep end and fetch two quarters, then get five pool noodles and swim to the shallow end of the pool). Each person gets timed doing these things. The person with the least amount of time wins. Lastly, if you have an outdoor pool clock it makes things a little bit easier.
#9 Floaties Race
Each person gets on a floatie and races to the other side of the pool.
#10 Watermelon Ball
The game starts with two teams. One on each side of the pool. The “referee” throws the ball in the center between the two teams. Then the teams try to get the ball and pass it to teammates to try to get it to the other side of the pool (the opposing team’s side) and then lifts the ball out of the water to their side to get a point. The one main rule is that you can’t pass in any way to a teammate out of water or the referee re-throws the ball in the center. You can pick in advance how many points you want to go to or set a time limit.
#11 Kickboard Race
Each person gets a kickboard and uses it to swim to the other side of the pool. This one is great for young kids. Below are my recommendations for kickboards and they currently have great reviews from out links. You can also do a race with some floaties.
#12 Noodle Joust Pool Games
You need two pool noodles and two floaties (rafts work good). Each person sits on a raft and uses a pool noodle to try and knock the other person off of their raft. Please make sure that there is a safe distance from the edge of the pool so that no one gets hurt.
#13 Air Ball Swimming Pool Games
You just need a large beach ball. Everyone tries to keep the ball in the air. You can separate into two teams and keep points. If the other team loses the ball then the opposing team gets a point etc. You can play to however many set points you prefer. The below beach balls looked like fun and currently have great reviews.
Other Fun Pool Games
These Games generally cost more than $25, but can be a lot of fun.
#15 Water Polo
(Needs 6 or more players, but preferably 14) You need two small goals (one on each side of the pool) and a water polo ball. Rules are: You can only hold the ball with one hand, you can’t touch the bottom of the pool (for advanced players usually), and you can only hold the ball for up to 30 seconds at once. The object of the game is to get the most points. Each team tries to get the ball to the other teams’ goal for a point. The most points wins. There are four quarters that are played at 8 minutes each with a 2 minute break in between.
#16 Floating Basketball
Use a hoop and ball basketball set to play F-I-S-H (Like H-O-R-S-E in regular basketball) Each person tries to throw the ball in the hoop from one specific location in the pool. If they get it in the hoop then the next person has to try it from that same location. On the other hand, if the first person misses, then player 2 gets to try from any specific location in the pool.
Then, if they get it in the hoop then player 1 has to get it in the hoop. If they don’t then they get a “F”. If player 2 then gets another hoop and player 1 misses, then player 1 gets an “I”. On the other hand, if player 2 misses, then player 1 gets to choose any location to throw the ball. If player 1 gets the ball in the hoop then player 2 has to get it in the hoop from that location. If player 2 doesn’t then they get a “F”. Back and forth until someone gets all the letters: F-I-S-H and loses. Below are some currently highly rated pool basketball hoops.
#17 Floating Ping Pong
#18 Giant Ring Toss
This is a great game for an older kid or teens party. It uses large ring inner tubes that you toss over a target buoy. The only thing is it’s a little harder because it’s somewhat large. Bonus: The six inner tubes can be used later to swim with. I recommend the set shown the left due to durable fabric and currently great reviews.