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10 Swimming Pool Games for Kids

10 Swimming Pool Games for Kids-Bondi Joe Swimwear
There are loads of great swimming pool games for kids. Whether you are at the hotel pool or the beach, good swimming games can provide fun for all ages, and keep the kids occupied for hours. We all have great memories of playing Marco Polo with the neighbourhood kids in the backyard pool, and the game remains extremely popular today. Below you will find our guide to the best pool games, plus handy tips on recommended ages, swimming strength and requirement required.

Swimming Game #1 - Marco Polo

No list of great pool games would be complete without Marco Polo, the ultimate pool game that kids have been enjoying for years. Difficulty: Moderate Strong swimming required: No Equipment required: No How to play: To play Marco Polo, one child closes their eyes and shouts “Marco”, all the other kids in the pool must respond “Polo”. Marco must find all the other players using sound alone. Children are disqualified if they don’t respond with a strong “Polo”. If the child playing Marco suspects that a player is out of the pool, they can yell “Fish out of Water” and any kids out of the pool are deemed out of the game. Remember to make sure the Marco player doesn’t cheap by opening their eyes. Safety tip: when playing pool games like Marco Polo, be sure to enforce the rule that kids shouldn’t run around the pool edge.

Swimming Game #2 - Chicken Fight

A great swimming game for older children, remember to advise the kids not to be too rough and to watch hitting heads on the edge of the pool. Difficulty: Moderate (requires strong kids/adults to carry others on shoulders) Strong swimming required: No Equipment required: No How to play: Chicken fight is played by pairing players into twos, with one sitting on the shoulders of the other. The job of the kid on top is to engage with other teams and try and knock the person off the shoulders of their teammate. Players can do anything to get the opposition to fall off – from splashing water to soft tackling. Safety tip: like all pool games, be sure to set appropriate conduct rules to prevent rough behaviour and injury.

Swimming Game #3 - Belly Flop Contest

Most adults will have fond memories of a belly flop or two at the pool as a kid. Belly flop contests have been a favourite kids pool game for generations – but watch out for the pain factor if kids do too many of them! Difficulty: Low Strong swimming required: Enough to swim in deep end of pool Equipment required: No How to play: children take turns diving into the pool and doing belly flops. A belly flop is when you land with maximum skin area on your belly on the water surface causing a big noise and a bit of pain – so be careful and be sure to not do this pool game too much or risk red skin and pain!

Swimming Game #4 - Flying Ball Catch

Australia children grow up watching the cricket players making classic catch moves. This swimming pool game sees kids diving into the pool to catch a flying call – demonstrating their own classic catch moments. Difficulty: High – some catching skills required Strong swimming required: Enough to swim in deep end of pool Equipment required: Yes – tennis ball How to play: to play this swimming game, the kids line up on the side of the pool and one child (or the supervising adult) throws the tennis ball into pool close to where they are standing. The kids dive off the edge of the pool one at a time as the ball is throw and attempt to catch the ball. Points go to kids that can catch the ball (it’s hard, and requires a good throwing technique). As kids get better at it, more points can be awarded for the quality of the catch – add some theatrics for more impact! Film the catches with a camera on slo-mo mode to add to the entertainment factor! Safety tip: be sure to throw the ball away from the edge of the pool so kids do not hit their heads on the side of the pool as they jump.

Swimming Game #5 - Splash contest

Kids loving splashing around in the pool, so this swimming game is about maximising the splash factor with a huge dive (or “bombie” as we Aussie’s call it) into the pool. Difficulty: Low Strong swimming required: Enough to swim in deep end of pool Equipment required: No How to play: Kids line up on the side of the pool and take turns jumping into the deep end to create massive splashes. Choose an adult to judge the contest and decide who makes the biggest splash (based on splash height or total water displaced!). Safety tip: remember to play this swimming game in deep water only and be sure of others utilising the pool to ensure they are not in the splash zone. Some pools will have strict rules against jumping in and doing this, so check the signage!

Swimming Game #6 - Relay Challenge

If you have lots of kids on your hands, a relay challenge can be the perfect pool game to entertain them for hours. Turn this swimming game into a mini Olympics and watch the kids love it! Difficulty: Low Strong swimming required: ability to swim length of pool Equipment required: No, but a baton/stick could good if on hand. How to play: Divide the kids into teams and have them line up in equal numbers at either end of the pool. Count down to the start of the game when the first kids from each team jump in and swim to the other side, where they pass the baton or tag the next team member to travel back. Repeat as required until all the kids have a turn. Be sure to balance the swimming strength of the kids!

Swimming Game #7 - Dive and retrieve

Kids love diving into the depths of the pool and retrieving objects from the bottom – and this pool game is exactly that. Great for one kid playing alone or for a whole group of kids to try. Difficulty: Moderate Strong swimming required: ability to dive down and come back up Equipment required: Diving sticks are ideal, but if you don’t have them, a coin will do. How to play: throw the diving stick or coin into the pool when the child is not looking, then ask them to open their eyes, dive into the pool and find the object. Safety tip: remember to not over stretch the child based on their swimming ability and remind them that holding their breath for long periods of time is not advisable.

Swimming Game #8 - Piggy in the Middle

If you have three of more kids, piggy in the middle is fantastic pool games for all ages. Just remember to put the stronger swimmers in the deeper end of the pool! Difficulty: Low Strong swimming required: No, depending on whether the kids can stand in the pool Equipment required: Ball How to play: this pool game starts by forming two teams, one on each side of the pool. Someone is chosen to go in the middle and be the “piggy” first. Kids on one side of the pool must throw the ball to the other side, over the head of the piggy and be caught by the other side. The piggy must try and catch the ball – relying on their ability to jump and intercept it, or dive faster towards the ball if someone misses a catch or the ball is badly thrown.

Swimming Game #9 - Throw and Catch

Simply throwing the ball around the pool is also a great swimming pool game for kids of all ages. The ball can be thrown in a round robin to anyone or back and forward in a more structured pattern. Difficulty: Low Strong swimming required: No, depending on whether the kids can stand in the pool Equipment required: Ball How to play: anything goes with this pool game – simply throw the ball around to other kids as desired. Add classic catches, complex passing patterns or other games as required – or simply enjoy the basic game of throw and catch!

Swimming Game #10 - Popsicle

Popsicle is a classic pool game for kids that sees the players standing frozen in the water once they are tagged – but it’s the unfreezing method that causes all the laughter and keeps kids entertained. Difficulty: Moderate Strong swimming required: Yes to unfreeze others Equipment required: No How to play: this pool game is essentially tag but done in a swimming pool. A child starts in the “it” position and must go and tag the other kids. When they are tagged, the children must stand frozen with their legs apart under the water and hands in the air. Kids that are still in the game and not frozen can unfreeze frozen kids by swimming between their legs. The game ends when the person who is it freezes all of the other kids. If this takes too long, a time limit can be set to make the game more fun for all players.

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