Summertime has arrived, and one of the best ways to spend summer vacation with your kids is by wasting hours at the pool. Community or even backyard pools are places where kids can make wonderful memories while participating in fun activities.
You may find that as your kids get older, they start to feel that they’re too mature for the classic games they once loved to play. There are only so many ways to play ‘Marco Polo,’ and by the time your kids hit 13, they have probably discovered them all. Suggest some of these activities for the teens and pre-teens in your life to keep them having fun in the pool!
1. Be a GameMaster
This idea came to me after learning about a system a local summer camp used for their pool activities. The camp likes to assign older kids to lead the games for the younger kids. The teenagers help things move along smoothly and offer another layer of supervision to make sure everyone stays safe.
Some pool games aren’t suited for inexperienced swimmers, and this is one of them. But by the time your kids hit their teen years, they can probably handle themselves well enough to play this game safely. Jousting, also known as ‘chicken fighting’ is when kids form into pairs with one team member resting on the other’s shoulders. Teams then compete to knock each other into the water.
This game can get a bit rough, but playing in the water means there’s no real problem with falling over, so feel free to let your teens engage in this time-tested tradition. Just be sure to set a few ground rules to prevent the game from getting out of hand.
3. Water Rugby
With this game, teams compete to advance a ball across the pool and over the goal line. The catch –this ball sinks to the bottom of the lake and can only be advanced if the player carrying it is entirely underwater. So this game is played entirely at the bottom of the pool.
For those who enjoy a challenge, water rugby is a great sport. To make your ball sink, take an old football, remove all the air, and replace it with water.
4. Movie Night
Want to get on your teen’s good side? Let them host a movie night in the pool for all their friends! There is some real setup involved – you’ll need access to a projector and screen, which can be set up close to the pool.
Set up some floats or even a blow-up plastic mattress for your teens to lounge around on as the movie plays. You can also throw some glow sticks at the bottom of the pool, so it’s not so dark. Don’t forget a few healthy snacks or treats, and you’ve got the makings of an epic party.
5. Water Basketball
There’s nothing most teenage boys like to play more than setting up a pool hoop and playing some in-water basketball. You’ll need to either buy or make a net for this game – these can be purchased pretty cheaply at the dollar store or my favorite- Costco! The ball can be a small basketball or nerf ball. Honestly though, whatever you have available will work!
Playing the game in water somehow makes it much more fun. Kids can practice their dunks and fade away shots without having to worry about falling over. Even the classic game ‘HORSE’ is extra fun in the pool!
6. Relay Race
Racing in the pool is fun for younger kids and can be great for older kids as well. The key is to make sure you’re scaling the races to the abilities of your competitors. Older kids should be able to cover longer distances and may even be able to do different competitive strokes. Divide up into teams and have at it. For a little added incentive, you might put some prize or dare on the line.
7. Capture the Flag
This classic game can easily be converted into a keep it cool game during the hot summer months. For example, turn on the sprinklers or turn it into a strategic water balloon fight! After dividing everyone into two equal teams, and the home base is decided on, give each side water balloons to throw at opponents rather than tagging.
8. T-shirt Relay
This relay gets fun, really quickly. Create two teams and give each one an oversized T-shirt. The goal is simple- each teammate has to swim a specific distance across the pool wearing the shirt, take it off and place it on the next person completely (head and both arms must be in the correct holes) before they do their leg of the race.
9. Bucket Balance
With a minimum of 4 kids, the ultimate goal is not to get wet, but that is most likely not going to happen with this challenging but fun game! Have all the kids lie on their backs to form a small circle.
With their feet in the air, a “table top” is made to place a bucket full of water. While balancing the bucket, the goal is for everyone to take off their shoes within a specific amount of time. Talk about teamwork and communication!
10. Slip ‘n Slide Kickball
Follow the same rules as kickball, but you have to slide all the way to the kiddie pool bases! You’ll need 4 plastic drop cloths (3ft x 50ft), 4 circle kiddie pools, dish soap (if you want to make the tarps extra slippery), about 24 tarp stakes and a kickball.
The stakes help keep the tarps in place, however, make sure they are deep into the ground to prevent anyone from getting hurt. Also, make sure to fill up the kiddie pools completely with water since a lot of splashing will happen!
Having fun in the pool might seem like it’s just for little kids, but with these games, you can show your teens that they can have fun as well. Keep building their relationship with the water and your kids will develop fond memories they can look back on forever.