The deck is decorated with sea creatures, the beach music is playing and your swimming pool cake is displayed beautifully on the patio table. Your pool party setting is close to perfect, but for the rowdy kids who have turned a simple swimming party into an all-out splash fest. That last cannonball contest soaked all of the towels and left the little fish crackers literally swimming in their bowls. Perhaps it’s time to gather the kids for some pool party games that promise a splashing good time where most of the water actually stays inside of the pool.
To play this game, choose one person to be the tagger, and have that player stand outside of the pool. The kids in the pool all line up along the same side of the pool where the tagger stands, facing away so she can’t see the players in the pool.
The swimming players then choose colors without letting the tagger know what colors they have chosen. When the tagger calls out a color, the swimmer who chose that color must try to make his way to the other side of the pool, without being heard by the tagger. If the tagger thinks she hears someone moving, she can turn around, dive in and attempt to tag the moving player before he reaches the other side. If a player is tagged, that player becomes the new tagger. However, if the tagger turns around and no one is moving away from the side of the pool, then she has to take one step back from the pool and call out a new color.
Think or Sink
This trivia game will have kids trying to answer correctly or wind up all wet. To play, have one adult in the pool and one standing nearby outside the pool. Have players line up along the outside of the pool. The adult inside of the pool will begin by asking the first player in line a trivia question. The player has 10 seconds to answer correctly before the adult outside of the pool will come along and gently push that player into the pool. Players who get pushed into the pool will remain there as play continues. The last person left standing outside of the pool is the winner.
If your pool party has a theme, you can base the game questions accordingly. For instance, a pirate-themed party’s trivia questions can be based on popular pirate books, television shows and movies for kids.
Choose one player to be the octopus and have him stand in the middle of the pool. The remaining players try to swim from one side of the pool to the other without being tagged by the octopus. Any players who are tagged must join hands with the octopus and help tag swimming players in the next round. As play continues, the arms of the octopus begin to stretch farther across the pool until there is little room left for swimming players to escape its reach. Once all players have been caught, the first player that was tagged becomes the new octopus.
To play this game, you will need one floating raft or tube for each player. Toss them into the pool and have kids go about their business as they swim and play. Every few minutes, blow a whistle. When the whistle blows, all of the kids must hurry and get to an island (a raft). Once each player has found an island, take one away and have them resume normal swimming activities. Keep blowing whistles and taking away rafts, so that the kids have to share island space as play progresses. As the rafts become limited, give kids 20 seconds from the time a whistle blows to make their way to an island. Any players without both hands on a raft when time is up are out of the game. You can decrease the amount of time from whistle to raft for each round. When there is only one raft left, players who make it to that island in time are declared the winners.
Frozen Goggles Race
Before the pool party, take two pairs of goggles and freeze them each in an equal-sized block of ice. Divide players into two teams and give them each one of the frozen blocks. Kids may use the pool water, garden hose, towels and each other to try and melt the block of ice to gain access to the goggles. The first team to melts their ice and have one of its members wear the goggles wins.
For this game, divide players into two teams and have them line up on one side of the pool. Players must race, relay style to the other side of the pool and then back to tag the next swimmer, but must only do so by swimming the doggie paddle.
You can add funny actions to this race, such as having each player bark three times, or get out of the pool and shake off the water before tagging the next player in line.
Pool Noodle Relay Race
To play this game you’ll need two pool noodles. Divide players into two teams. Have the teams line up on one side of the pool. Give each team a pool noodle. The first players in line for each team must swim, on the noodle to the opposite side of the pool and back to their teams. The noodles then get handed off to the second players in line who must do the same. This continues until all team members swim the course, using the noodle. The first team to have all members complete their noodle laps wins the race.
At some point during the pool party when all of the guests are out of the water, scatter several trinket prizes in the pool. Once the prizes have sunk to the bottom, announce to the kids that the pool is full of sunken treasures for them to recover. You can allow players to keep the items they recover, or collect them all in one bucket and then dole them out to make sure everyone receives a prize.
Rubber Duck Race
To play this game you will need two rubber ducks. Have kids race their ducks across the pool, using their noses to push them as they swim.