The pool is open and ready for warm weather. Now you just need some fun ways to keep everyone entertained. Check out these 50 swimming pool games for adults and kids that will keep them having fun all summer long.
Marco Polo is a classic game of tag in the water. One person is Marco. That person will close their eyes and count to 10 while other players try to “hide” away from Marco in other areas of the pool. After Marco counts to 10, he will say “Marco.” The other players all respond with “Polo” so that Marco can hear them and try to find them. Once another player is tagged, that person becomes the new Marco.
Pool Volleyball adds an extra dimension to the regular volleyball game since it’s harder to move to hit the ball in the water. The gameplay and scoring work like regular volleyball, where a team serves and tries to make the other team miss the ball.
Players on each side of the net hit the ball back and forth across the net until someone misses. A point is scored by the last team to hit the ball inbounds, and the process is repeated until a team reaches a score of 25. The game works best in pools where players can stand so they can still move and jump to get the ball.
For some variation on the regular volleyball game, try a 4-way net instead.
Sharks & Minnows is another version of tag in the water. One person starts as the shark. All other players are minnows. The shark will say, “Fishy, fishy, come out and play.” At that point, all minnows must start moving in the water. At any point during the game, the shark can yell “Shark Attack” and begin to chase the minnows. The minnows must try to swim to the opposite side of the pool without being tagged. Any minnows who get tagged are now sharks. The process repeats until there is only one minnow left.
We have a separate article that discusses in detail the Different Pool Basketball Hoop Options for your pool.
You’ll need at least 4 people for this game. Players will need to be in pairs, and each pair will have one player get on the other player’s shoulders. The object of the game is to knock the other player off their partner’s shoulders.
Dive sticks are excellent for more experienced swimmers who like to be underwater. Throw out the dive sticks or rings across the pool. Let swimmers see who can collect more. Or time them to see who can collect all the objects the fastest.
Grab a stopwatch or some type of timer. See who can stay underwater the longest without coming up for air.
Use an inflatable ring toss game and test everyone’s skills tossing the rings over the posts. Each post is labeled with points so you can keep score. This game will work best in shallow water where players can stand to throw the rings. For an added challenge, you can go into deeper water where players have to tread water while throwing the rings.
Get a group of people to form a circle in the pool. Everyone moves around the circle in the same direction to get the water to start to swirl. It is easier to do in a shallow end where people can stand and walk, but you can do it in deeper water and swim instead. The faster people move, the faster the water will swirl. Once it begins to move you can pick up your feet and let the whirlpool carry you around the circle. Another variation is to have people swim against the current and try to reverse the whirlpool.
Take turns jumping into the pool “cannonball style”. See who can create the biggest splash.
Who doesn’t love a good water balloon fight? No rules here-just have fun!
Similar to the cannonball contest, you’ll see who can create the biggest splash…but this time you hit the water belly first.
For this game, you’ll need some clear plastic water bottles. Remove the labels and fill them with water. Throw them in and let the bottles sink to the bottom of the pool. Then yell “go” and let all players jump in and try to find the bottles.
A simple beach ball or balloon works for this game. The object of the game is to keep the ball in the air. Take turns hitting it but don’t let it hit the ground (or the water)!
Create some underwater dance/swim routines and see how close you can time your moves with other players.
Using a simple pool float, let one person sit on the float while other players try to knock them off. See who can stay on the float the longest.
You’ll need 2 people for this game. One person will choose a word or short phrase (1-2 words works best) to be the secret message. Both players will go underwater and the person with the message will say the word or phrase under the water. The other player will try to guess what they think the message is. You can also use categories (fruits, colors, etc.) to help the person guess.
Jump in your inflatable tank, equipped with its own water gun, and swim around the pool to take down your opponents.
Slides can be a lot of fun at the pool. In case you don’t have one built into your pool, an inflatable slide can provide a fun alternative, and it’s compact for storage when not in use.
Get your hair wet and see who can come up with the most outrageous hairstyles.
Water polo is a fun team game similar to soccer. You’ll set up a goal on each end of the pool. Players will pass the ball to teammates to try to get it into their goal. You can’t dunk other players under the water, and you can only hold the ball with one hand to shoot or pass.
Who can tread water the longest? Find out with this pool game.
I know what you’re thinking…scrabble in the pool? Use a permanent marker to write letters on some sponges. Throw the sponges in the pool and have players collect them. See who can create the most words with the letters they’ve collected. This is also a great game for kids learning their letters or young players learning to read/spell.
One person has a pool noodle and the other players get to be the moles. All moles bob up and down in the water and try not to get hit by the person with the pool noodle.
The person who will be the shark gets into the center of the pool. All other players are in the shallow end of the pool. Players take turns asking, “What time is it, Mr. Shark?” When the shark responds with a time, players take that many steps towards the shark. When Mr. Shark responds with “Dinner Time,” he will turn around and try to tag as many players as possible.
This works best with the round inflatable tube rafts, but you can use longer lounge floats if desired. Have participants start on the same side of the pool and try to race to the other side without falling off the float.
You can play this solo or with multiple people. Throw some coins into the pool and let them sink. Have divers swim down to collect change. If multiple people are playing, the person who collects the most money wins. This game is great for kids learning to count money or to practice addition.
A classic game of keep away. Three players are ideal, but you can add more if desired. One person is the “fish” and gets between the other 2 players. The 2 outer players work to keep the ball away from the fish. If the fish catches the ball, they move to the outside and the person who threw the ball is now the fish.
Similar to the tread challenge, see who can doggy paddle the longest. You can also race to see who is the fastest.
Try to stand on a pool noodle and keep it underwater. The person who stays on longest wins!
Choose a leader for the game. Other players must repeat the same movements that the leader does. Get creative and add some spins, twists, and jumps for other players to have to imitate. Be sure to rotate leaders so everyone gets a chance to make up the moves.
Get as many ping pong balls as you desire. Throw them into the pool and let players race to collect them all. These will float, so this game may be better for younger players who do not swim well underwater.
Just like a relay race on land, except you swim instead of run. Divide participants into teams. Each team will have one player swim a lap in the pool and tag their teammate when they return. Once tagged, the next teammate swims their lap. This continues until one team wins by having all players complete their lap.
Now you can pretend to be a mermaid and swim like one too! This set has a monofin for your feet or the whole mermaid tail to cover your legs and feet.
This game is best with smaller, lightweight children. Adults take a child and try to toss them up into the air or across the pool to another adult for a fun family game.
Use any type of ball you wish. Have someone throw a ball at you while you are trying to jump into the pool. See if you can catch the ball and hold onto it after you land in the water. We recommend splash balls for this activity.
This inflatable tic tac toe game is great for some pool time fun. The board floats in the water and players toss the rings to try to make 3 in a row.
This one is for the adults. Grab an inflatable beer pong table to make your next party even more fun!
Get some rubber duckies or other bath-time toys that float. The object of the game is to get your duck across the pool without using your hands. Put the duck on your head or use your nose to try to push it across. Encourage creativity-anything goes as long as you don’t use your hands.
All you need is a pool noodle and the ability to swim underwater. Have 2 people hold the pool noodle in the water and let players try to swim under it. If you touch the noodle, you’re out. Lower the noodle each round until only one person remains.
This is an easy game to adapt to the pool. One person is Simon and gets to tell other players what to do. (Like jump in the pool, do a flip underwater, etc.) Players only move if Simon gives the command with “Simon Says.” The last player remaining becomes Simon and the game can start over.
Use the paddles to hit the ball back and forth with another player. It’s recommended for the shallow end of the pool where players can stand.
A classic bean bag toss game comes to the pool with this inflatable cornhole set.
Players each have a beach ball. They must push the ball across the pool using their nose. Whoever makes it to the other side first is the winner.
Test your skills with this inflatable ladder toss set. While you can’t play this one in the pool, you can play it next to the pool!
See how long you can hold your breath in this underwater swimming race. Players will start at one end of the pool and see how far they can swim on one breath. The swimmer who makes it the farthest is the winner.
Use these rings to create an underwater obstacle course. The rings will sink to different depths so that swimmers must move up and down to get through them all.
Cards and water typically don’t mix. But try these waterproof playing cards or uno splash to combine pool time with some family games. This inflatable table and chair set would work nicely to host your game.