Summertime is upon us and for lots of folks that means long, leisurely trips to the local swimming pool. Once your children are master swimmers, it’s time to start having some serious fun at the pool.
Here are some of the best games you can play with your kids the next time you’re spending an afternoon by the water.
1. Diving Games
One of the best games to play for those stronger swimmers is also the simplest – diving games! Take any object that doesn’t float and toss it into the pool. The first player to swim down and pull it off the bottom is the winner and gets to throw the toy for the next round.
You can find ‘diving sticks’ that are made to be used for this game at your local big-box store, but you’ve got plenty of items around the house already that work well. One of my favorites is loose change. Pennies and nickels sink fast and are tough to see from the surface, making for a great challenge.
2. Pool Tag
Classic games like tag get new life when played in the pool. Let your kids create a whole unique set of rules to use to adapt the game to the water – one wall of the pool is a base, and tags must be applied to the top of the head when it’s out of water or even a hand. Help your little ones invent their own version that will be their own special game.
3. Off to the Races
Whether your swimmers are mini-Phelps-es or just fans of the water, they’ll love having races against each other. Challenge the kids to use different strokes or to form into teams for a relay race.
Have each child come up with a silly way to get across the pool using just their own body or using props or pool floaties. If there are too many suggestions, try placing all of them in a hat and have each child pick one.
For an added bit of fun, have a few small prizes for the winners that you can pick up from the Dollar Store!
4. Pool Trivia
This game typically requires an adult to serve as quizmasters, but more often than not, kids can play this game on their own. Have one person stand at one side of the pool while the kids all wait in the water holding the opposite sidewall.
Yell out a trivia question, and anyone who knows the answer has to race over to the other side. The first to touch the wall and give the correct answer is the winner!
It makes for great exercise, and it’s a wonderful way to learn some fun facts.
5. The Lost Bottle
Take a clear plastic bottle and peel off the label, then fill the bottle with pool water and replace the cap. What you now have is a pool toy that goes almost entirely invisible once it’s submerged in the water, which makes for a really fun game.
Try having all but one player close their eyes while the other tosses the bottle somewhere into the pool. Once it reaches the bottom, everyone opens their eyes, and it’s a mad dash to find the bottle first. It’s a lot more challenging than you might think and can make for hours of fun.
6. Greased Watermelon
This summer camp staple might not be welcome at your community pool, so you should always ask for permission before getting started with this game. If it’s ok to do so, then the setup is pretty straightforward.
Find yourself a big ‘ol watermelon and cover it with as much Vaseline as you can. Once that’s done, have all the kids wait in the pool and then toss in the melon.
The challenge is to get the melon out of the pool, and if that sounds too easy, you’ve clearly never had to handle a greased watermelon before.
This one is a challenging game to play, but if it can be mastered, it’s a ton of fun. One player stands on a diving board, or the side of the pool if one is available. This player jumps high into the air, and as soon as they leave the ground, another player shouts out a category for them, like ‘books.’
The challenge is for the first player to yell out an example of that category, maybe ‘Harry Potter’ before hitting the water. It’s not a crazy difficult game, but players will have hours of entertainment!
8. Red Light, Green Light
This is a fun spin on the traditional playground race! Simply make sure you have one red and one green pool toy such as small inner tubes, floaties, or kickboards. Since this game is visual, no one will lose his or her voice trying to be heard over the laughter of everyone playing the game.
This competitive game creates a perfect opportunity for kids to work on their swimming strokes and practice treading water in the deeper end of the pool where their toes aren’t able to touch the bottom anymore.
9. Cannonball Contest!
What child doesn’t love making a big splash in the pool! Having an adult judge helps keep an eye on the kiddos as they’re splashing around and makes sure everyone is having a blast! So much more fun than a diving or belly flop contest, this game is sure to get everyone involved.
10. Ring Toss Game
For those little ones that aren’t quite old enough to stray away from the shallow end, this game is the perfect way to practice their counting skills!
Simply connect two pool noodles together to make a ring, and grab their favorite bath time floating numbers to toss into the ring. Also, you don’t have to limit this game to just numbers, try using beach balls or other pool toys for the older kids and place the ring further away.
Keep the Fun Flowing
Whatever you do when you’re at the pool, you can feel good knowing that you’re providing your children with a fun, healthy way to spend their summer break. Make sure to get everyone moving and to have fun!