20 Swimming Pool Games: Fun For Kids and Adults. 

Swimming pool games and how to play pool games. Great swimming pool toy and game ideas for a fun pool party time.

Even though the Summer is hot, that's no reason to keep you kids inside, especially if you have a good sized swimming pool.  However, just going swimming may not be enough. Your kids may want a little more.

With just a little planning you can have a fun swimming day your children will remember for a long time using these free swimming pool game ideas and suggestions.  Use your imagination and you can even use some of these swimming games for your Spa or Hot Tub. 

For the younger ones I would suggest baby swim diapers when playing these games. You can sit on your pool patio furniture or join in the fun.

Swimming Pool Games To Play

Choose a good pool game to play from this list. Use them if you like, or you can modify them and make up your own pool game rules to suit your purpose. Either way, your kids are going to have fun with these swimming games during their swimming pool party.

Air Mattress Pile-On

Get an air mattress, fill it half way with air, and count how many kids can stand up without falling over. Always have adult supervision and never allow pushing.  Don't use this swimming game with small swimming pools or kiddie pools as the children may fall and hit the side or ground.

Belly Flop

Nothing says a good time like a well planned out Belly Flop ContestHave a prize ready for the winner. You can be the judge by the crowd's applause.

Your 3 categories:

  • Form/Creativity
  • Pain
  • Air/Hang Time

Bronco Busting Pool Rodeo

Get 4 teams with 4 players. Have a heavy-duty tube and tie 3  long ropes to the tube to reach the outside of the pool.  Each team chooses the riding cowboy and then each of the other teams chooses 3 people of the opposing team to pull the rope and try to “buck” the rider off the tube.  The rider with the longest time wins. Have the kids where cowboy hats or funny helmets.

Catch Me If You Can

Line up the players up in single file. An adult stands poolside (or in the water) and throws a ball up so that the players jump and catch it.

Crocodile Wrestling

Inflatable pool toys, like a crocodile, and give the kids 60 seconds to do their best impression of wrestling a crocodile. Give point for creativity, longevity, loudness, death rolls, etc.

Dive Sticks

Get some dive sticks for some easy pool toys and part of a great swimming pool party. Give the player points for fastest, most in 30 seconds or a minute, different colored ones, etc... There are also many hot tub toys on the market as well.  An old cut up garden hose will do just fine if you don't have dive sticks.  You can also do a "Penny Drop" by throwing change into the pool and see how many the children can get in 1 minute for this swimming game.

Marco Polo

Have the children choose the one to be "it".

This "it" closes his eyes and tries to tag the other swimmers. "It" calls out "Marco" and the other swimmers must say "Polo". If "it" tags another player, then that player becomes "it". If a player gets out of the water, "it" can say, "Fish out of water!" If the player cannot get back into the pool before "it" finishes saying that line, then the fish out of water becomes "it".

Of all the swimming pool games, this classic never gets old.

Noodle Joust

Have 2 players to sit on a raft in the middle of the pool. Each player has a pool noodle and they joust with the noodles to try and get the other player off the raft. When one player can get the other player off the raft, they are declared the winner. The winner then jousts the next player.

Swimming Pool Basketball Game

Get a good pool basketball hoop and you're on your way. Play it just like regular basketball, just in the water. Two points per basket.

Pool Volleyball

Play this swimming game just like regular volleyball, but in the water. Divide up teams into 3-4 players (or more) per side. The back player serves the ball over the net and the other players on the opposing team must hit the ball back over the net. If the ball is not hit back, then that team serves.  First team to score 20 points wins.

Relay Races

Have 2 teams of players line up on one side of the swimming pool. Players take turns going from one side of the pool to the other:

  • Twirling
  • Summersaults in the water
  • Swimming through hoops
  • Picking up dive sticks
  • Picking up pennies
  • Riding a pool noodle
  • Riding on an inflatable swimming pool toy with oars
  • Pushing a ball through the water
  • Swimming backwards
  • Use your imagination to create fun swimming pool games


Play this swimming pool game just like the "basketball" game H-O-R-S-E only this time use a water basketball hoop.

Sharks And Minnows

This is a classic for swimming pool games.

  • Select 2 or 3 swimmers to be sharks and their area is the central part of the pool
  • The other swimmers (minnows) line up in the "safe zone" on the other side of the pool
  • Once the game starts, the minnows must swim to the opposite side of the pool to reach the other safe zone
  • If the shark touches any part of a minnow while any part of a minnow is above water, the minnow then becomes a shark
  • When there are only a few minnows left, the sharks and minnows switch sides and play again
  • Give the swimmers a certain amount of time (number of seconds) to get from one side of the swimming pool to the other. If the pool is very large you can add a "catch a breath" zone in the middle of the swimming pool.

Water Ballet

Team of 4-8 people are given a certain amount of time to perform a water ballet recital. Dress up like a ballerina to make it even more fun, and remember the classical music for this swimming pool game.

Water Freeze Tag

One player is "it". This "it" tags players and the player must freeze where they are. Other players can unfreeze them by swimming under their legs, climbing out of the pool and doing a cannon-ball, or anything else you may think of to get them "unfrozen". When all players get tagged "it" can then choose another player to be the new "it".

Water Hoop/Basketball

Have one hoop on both ends of the pool and play a game of basketball.  To make it interesting have a 5 second rule, meaning no player can have the ball for more than 5 seconds.

Watermelon/Apple Relay

This fun swimming pool game is for individuals or teams. Each player pushes a watermelon from one end of the pool to the other without their feet touching the bottom of the swimming pool. You can also use an apple and push it with your nose. I wouldn't advise pushing a watermelon with your face, for obvious reasons. 

Water Polo

For these kinds of swimming pool games you'll use the same rules as Water Hoop but you'll use goals instead of hoops. Same thing, only different.

Wet Shirt Relay

Have two equal teams line up on the same side of the swimming pool. The first players put on a large T-shirt, swim to the other side of the pool and back. They get out of the pool and take off the wet T-shirt. They hand the shirt to the 2nd player who must then put on the T-shirt, swim to the other side of the pool and back. This keeps going and the first team done wins.

If you find these kinds of swimming pool games are too easy, you can always bump it up a notch by having the players put on a mask or goggles, bathing cap, flippers, and swim through a pool ring or hoola-hoop. Don't put on too many clothes as this may hinder swimming. You want to make it a challenge, but not too hard to swim.

Water Tag

Choose a player to be "it". Use a large sponge for "it" to tag other players.  Have "it" throw the sponge at the other players and whoever "it" hits becomes the new "it". 

Swimming pool games should be fun and exciting for you and your children. Always remember to have adult supervision and the most important aspect of any swimming pool party or swimming games is swimming safety.  There's really nothing better on a hot Summer day than to go swimming and having some great swimming pool games planned out.

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