The summertime is great but can lead to some interesting problems for parents. During the school year, your kids spend most of their energy while they’re in the classroom or playing a seasonal sport.
Hopefully, your school has a great physical education program that makes sure they’re getting a good amount of exercise, but even if it’s just the time they spend outside at recess, your kids are probably moving around a whole lot.
When everyone’s home for the summer, though, it can be tough to make sure they’re getting that same amount of exercise.
While they might have a lot more free time for activities, your kids will likely try to spend as much time watching TV or playing video games as they can. This can lead to real problems, like crankiness, trouble sleeping, and all the issues that come from not being active.
It’s important to make sure your kids are staying active, and luckily the summer brings with it one of the best possible environments for getting kids up and moving: pools!
Whether you have access to a community pool or a pool in your backyard, there are so many fun activities your kids will happily jump into that can keep them both healthy and stimulated throughout the summer.
Let’s take a look at some fun ways you can tire out even the most energetic of kids with just one trip to the pool.
1) Swimming Challenge!
Swimming is a great exercise because water offers resistance to every single movement made. That’s why it’s so much more tiring to swim 100 yards as opposed to walking or even running that same distance.
Use this to your advantage and lay out a gauntlet for your little swimmers that will leave them wiped out.
Try throwing out specific challenges based on the ability levels of each kid. The younger ones can only do a few laps around the shallow end before they start to fade, but the pre-teens can do a few dozen full lengths of the competition pool.
A few competition ideas include swimming across the pool as fast as you can, who can jump the farthest off the diving board and who can hold their breath the longest.
2) Inner-Tube Water Polo
Water polo is one of the best games you can play with your kids. Set up a goal with some chairs and use any light ball your kids can easily grip to pass to their friends and score goals.
For teens or stronger swimmers, head to the deep end without the floaties for an extra challenge. They’ll have to tread water the whole time – talk about tiring!
3) Swim Tag
Tag is great on land, and in the water, and turns into a whole body workout for your kids. My family likes to play ‘tread tag’ – whenever a player is tagged, they have to tread water in place until another player comes and sets them free. It’s hard and makes you want to avoid getting tagged.
4) Noodle Race
Foam pool noodles are great for lounging around, but can also be used for active fun. Try organizing a noodle race, where children have to make it from one end of the pool to the other while sitting on their noodle or even keeping it between your knees!
It’s not easy to get going fast while sitting on one of these things, so kids will have to work hard to figure out how. If you’ve got enough players, you can have some relay races for some extra fun.
5) King of the Hill
This game requires some setup on your part but trust me; it’ll be worth it when you see how much fun the kids are having. Procure a Styrofoam board (ideally about three feet square and four inches deep) or a boogie board; as long as it’s big enough for someone to stand on, it’ll work.
To play the game, toss the board in the water and challenge the players to stand on top for as long as they can. Once someone is balancing on top, others can try to knock them off by tilting or moving the board from below. It’s tough to stay in position for a long time and challenges your balance!
This game is a bit physical, so it’s not for younger kids or inexperienced swimmers. You will also want to watch the group closely as they play to make sure things don’t get too rough.
6) Pool Volleyball
Grab yourself a net and take everyone’s favorite beach game right into the water. Pool volleyball is a super fun version of the game because the kids can jump and dive around all they want without having to worry about skinned knees.
The rules are the same as the beach or indoor versions, so teach your kids and let them have at it.
7) Greased Watermelon
It seems like a simple task – kids stand in the pool and have to work together to take a watermelon that’s rubbed with vaseline and get it out of the pool.
Your kids might start out confident, but once they see how hard it is to get a grip on the melon, they’ll be wishing they’d settled on an easier game!
This game involves tossing greasy fruit into the pool, so before you plan this one, make sure that your pool will allow you to do it.
If you have your own private pool, know that the melon won’t do any damage to the pool as long as it’s not broken – you can even cut it up and eat it after the game!
These games are guaranteed to tire your kids out as they spend their summer at the pool.
They’re all great games to play with friends, so you’ll know that not only are your kids having fun, they’re also making great memories they will treasure forever.
So get out to the local pool and start having some fun today!