15 Pool Games for Kids of All Ages That Are Sure to Make a Splash

Discover cool swimming pool games for everyone that will bring summer fun all season long!

Updated June 30, 2023
kids playing in swimming pool

Swimming pools give kids and families so many opportunities to get active and play when the weather heats up. These pool games for kids will provide plenty of fun in the sun for children of any age. They're so thrilling, even the adults might decide to take a dip!

Swimming Pool Games for Younger Kids

Don't let your little fishies spend the summer whining, "I'm bored," while at the pool. These swimming pool games will keep younger kids occupied until the sun goes down. With so much sun and activity, a good night's sleep is just about guaranteed after a day spent playing these water games.

Floatie Raft Race

girl swimming fast with pool float

Even kids who are not proficient swimmers can enjoy this entertaining pool game, as long as they have appropriate supervision and swim safety gear. Put two floaties in the pool and send kids across the water. They can paddle and kick as they attempt to make it to the other end of the pool first!

Water Dance Challenge

Young kids love to get loose and shake their groove thing. Break a group of younger kids into two teams, and see who comes up with the coolest, most creative water dance routine. They can incorporate diving, jumping, handstands, somersaults, and dancing to make up a winning water routine.

Diving for Treasure Challenge

children in pool underwater

Once kids have learned basic swim skills and can safely get to the bottom of the pool and back to the surface easily, play diving for treasure. For this water play activity, throw items that sink to the pool's floor.

You can put items in shallow parts if kids are just learning to dive beneath the surface and pop back up, or you can toss them in deeper waters if your young kids can handle that level of difficulty. Kids will love the task of reaching the pool's floor and hauling up coins, gems, and various dive toys that you use to play this game.

Water Is Lava

The Floor is Lava is a popular game to play indoors or outside, but you can put a new spin on the game by taking the concept to the water with Water is Lava. You won't be trying to stay dry, but instead, the task is to keep a balloon from getting wet.

Have kids make a circle or spread out in an area of the pool where they can touch the bottom. Using a balloon (or with older kids a rubber ball), and bat the balloon or ball back and forth, never allowing it to touch the water.

Fun Pool Games for Older Kids

At first, older kids might be slightly skeptical of your water game ideas, but they won't want to get out of the water once you get them into the pool and submerged in these activities.

Search for the Bottle

group of teenagers jumping in pool

Fill a clear bottle with water, and sink it to the bottom of the pool. Have the teens jump in and search for the elusive bottle. While this seems fairly simple for savvy teens, the bottle will be virtually invisible underneath the water's surface, and quite challenging to find.

Sharks and Minnows

To play Sharks and Minnows, you need to choose one player to be the game's shark. The shark swims to the middle of the pool, and the minnows (the rest of the players) gather at one end of the pool.

The shark says go, and the minnows begin swimming from one end of the pool to the other. If the shark tags a minnow, they are out of the game. You can also choose to have the tagged minnows become sharks and join in on the tagging fun.

Quick Tip

You can create variations of this game to make it easier or more challenging. For example, sharks must keep their eyes closed and try to tag players simply by listening to the sounds of splashing.

Number Crunch Race

Before playing, you will need to gather up about 25 ping pong balls and number them one to twenty-five with a permanent marker. When it is time to play, divide the kids or teens into two teams. Teams can be large or made up of only two people per team. You can even play this game with two kids or teens versus one another.

Toss all of the balls into the pool. Teams have to hop in and retrieve the balls one at a time. Once all the balls have been recovered from the pool, teams add up the numbers on their balls, and the team with the highest score wins.

Diving Olympics

For the parents of experienced swimmers who have a pool that is deep enough to safely dive in, consider having your kids show off their best moves! Parents and other adults can score each participants dives between 1 and 10, rating them for best form, the most creative moves, and of course, the biggest splash!

Chicken Fight

family playing chicken fight

This classic swimming pool game requires four players, two per team. One player will sit on top of their teammates shoulders. The person on bottom is the "vehicle" so they are in charge of moving the top player around and keeping them upright. This player cannot use their hands.

The top player is the "attacker" and their job is to try to knock over the top player on the opposing team. The first team to topple over wins! This game can be played in both small and large groups. For large groups, once a team is eliminated, see if the next team can overcome the champs!

Need to Know

This fun pool game is best played in large spaces, like a public pool, so that players can stay far away from the edges to avoid getting hurt.

Strongest Sea Legs Competition

In this simple pool game for kids, all players need to do is line up along the wall. They get one shot to see who can push off the wall and move the farthest across the pool! After one round, it is hard to stop the competition!

Pool Games for Large Families and Groups

If you have a large family or a big group of kids, try these fun water games with them. These activities really do illustrate that when it comes to fun and games, the more the merrier!

Underwater Races

girl swimming under water in pool through hoop

If you have a big gang who loves the water, set up some relay races. You can try traditional swimming relay races, or play fun variations of the classic water game. Ideas include:

Wet T-shirt Race

This game is played like a regular relay swim race, except each person taking a turn in the race must put on a soaking wet (and very heavy) T-shirt, and try swimming to the other side of the pool.

So Many Strokes Relay

Every person in the underwater relay race has to swim using a different stroke. Try traditional strokes as well as silly strokes like the spinning corkscrew.

Hula Hoop Relay Race

Place several hula hoops in the pool, the same number for each team. Players must swim and dive in and out of the hoops, racing to the end of the pool.

Underwater Telephone

This is a great swimming pool game for big groups because just like the regular game of telephone, the ending answer can get quite silly! Think of a two to four word phrase. For instance, "Summer sun is hot!". The intent is to have two players go underwater at a time. One person (player A) says the phrase and the other (player B) must decipher what they think the player A said.

Once done, player B will go underwater with a new player and repeat the process, saying the funny phrase they think they heard. This will continue until all players have heard the phrase and then you reveal the answer!

Aqua Obstacle Course

water obstacle course

Obstacles courses are fun challenges for large groups of kids, so set one up in the pool! Use floats and pool noodles to jump on. Use ping pong balls and buckets or basketball hoops, and work in a few course components that challenge kids to sink the ball in a bucket or basket before moving on.

Toss a few coins to the bottom of the pool and see who has the diving skills to race to the bottom and pop up first. Kids will have a blast taking turns getting through all the course challenges, and seeing who makes it to the finish line the fastest.

What Time Is It, Mr. Shark?

For this exciting water game, one person is chosen to be Mr. Shark. They will stand at the side of the pool. All the rest of the players are fish and they will begin in the water at the opposite end of the pool. The shark will start with his or her back to the water. The fish will yell "what time is it, Mr. Shark?". Mr Shark can then say 1 o'clock, 2 o'clock, etc.

The time will signify how many steps the fish need to take across the pool. For example, if Mr. Shark says 9 o'clock, then each fish has to take nine steps. The shark can then turn around and scan the pool. He will turn back and the question will be asked and answered again. This will continue until Mr. Shark thinks that there are fish close enough to catch.

At this time, Mr. Shark will turn his back again and when asked the time, he or she will respond with "dinner time!". Mr. Shark will then jump in and see if they can tag someone. The fish that is caught will then take over as Mr. Shark and the players will go back to their initial spots in the pool.

Marco Polo

Marco Polo is a classic game that is similar to tag. You can play with as little as two players, but this game is really elevated when a large group of players joins in the fun.

One person is deemed the tagger. This tagger moves about in the water with their eyes closed, yelling, "Marco." The other swimmers yell out, "Polo," as they try to avoid being touched by the tagger. The tagger must listen to the players' voices and follow the sounds, with the aim of getting players out.

Quick Tip

To make this game more challenging, allow players to get out of the pool. If players hop out and the person yelling "Marco" says "fish out of water," then the person who is out of the pool is automatically out.

Swimming Is Packed With Benefits

Swimming offers people so many health benefits. You don't have to get in the pool and bust out some laps to reap the many perks that being in the water provides. Swimming and splashing around gives kids an entire body workout and provides them with adequate daily exercise. This activity is also great on a human's cardiovascular system.

Swimming can also do wonders for those who struggle with mood issues and it has been shown to improve stress levels in some research groups. Regardless of which swimming pool games for kids you choose to try out, know that any of these options will provide your family with exercise and fun all summer long. And you can share the fun with these entertaining pool quotes once you've had your pool day, too!

15 Pool Games for Kids of All Ages That Are Sure to Make a Splash