Summertime is a perfect time to play in the water. Pools, beaches, and lakes provide perfect places to cool off and play a fun water game. Not all water games require that you get in a body of water. Water balloon games also cool off participants and provide a great deal of fun. Try out one of our many swimming pool and water games the next time you have a party or get-together.
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Water games are fun for every age and perfect for hot summer days, picnics, and camp – any outdoor activity. Make sure parents know you are having a “Water Play Day,” as bathing suits need to be worn for most of these games.
Fill a bucket with water and inexpensive sponges. Designate one player “It.” On the signal of “Go!” It tries to tag other players by throwing wet sponges. The last one left becomes the next “It.”
Beach Relay Race
- A beach bag filled with game items for each team: towel, sunglasses, and magazine
- A lawn chair for each team
Teams gather in lines some distance from the beach. Each team has a member go, in relay-race fashion, to the designated place on the beach carrying the lawn chair and the beach bag.
Each person must:
- Set up the chair.
- Lay out the towel.
- Put on the sunglasses.
- Open the magazine.
- Repack the bag.
- Return and pass the bag to the next team member.
The team that has all members complete the tasks first is the winner.
Jump Rope Water Splash
Materials: Jump ropes, plastic or paper cups filled with water
Give each child a plastic or paper cup full of water. The goal is to make three consecutive jumps without spilling any water. Two players twirl a large jump rope, while other players attempt to keep the water in their cups. The winner is the one who managers to keep the water in their cup the longest.
Melting Ice Cubes
Line up players in two teams with an equal number of players. The first player on each team is given an ice cube. The child rubs the ice cube between his hands for as long as possible to try to make it melt. When a player’s hands get too cold, they pass the ice cube to the next child in line. The first team to melt the ice cube wins.
Water Balloon Games
Water balloons provide a fun, inexpensive game tool. The tossing games that we have shared can all be played as team games.
- Hula Hoop Water Balloon Toss
All you need for this simply water balloon game is a hula hoop and a supply of filled, water balloons. One person holds a hula hoop and players take turns tossing the water balloons through the hoop.
- Leaking Water Balloon Toss
You will need filled water balloons that have holes poked in them with a safety pin. You want more than one so you can play this game more than one time. Players stand in a circle, tossing the balloon to other players. The goal is not to be holding the balloon when it runs out of water.
- Water Balloon Toss
You will need enough water balloons for each set of paired players plus some extras to replace those popped. Two lines of paired players, facing each other, toss a water balloon back and forth, taking a step backwards after every toss. The winning pair is the one that is able to do so the longest without popping theirs. You can play this game over and over.
- Musical Water Balloon Toss
You will need a large supply of water balloons for this game. Have players play catch with the balloons. Every time one breaks, do not provide a new balloon unless the player who dropped the balloon sings a song. Suggested songs are “Happy Birthday” (at a birthday party), or nursery rhymes.
Towel Water Balloon Catch Game
Divide players into teams of four. Provide two towels and a supply of water balloons for each team. The goal is for two players to use a towel to toss water balloons and the other two players on the team try to catch the tossed balloons. The team able to catch the most balloons without breaking them wins the game.
Water Balloon Dodge Ball
Divide the players into two teams with an equal number of players and water balloons. Have the teams face each other a good distance apart. When you yell, “Go!” the teams try to hit members of the opposing team with water balloons. Players hit are out. When all the water balloons are gone, the team with the most players remaining wins.
Warning: Make sure you pick up all the broken balloon pieces, as they are dangerous for young children (a choking hazard) and wild life.
Swimming Pool Games
Always be careful and sensible when playing in or near water. The games mentioned here should only be played in swimming pools and by those who are able to swim without help.
Follow these rules when you play swimming pool games:
- Always make sure children are supervised by a responsible person.
- Remember that water can be dangerous.
- Always put safety first.
- Always obey pool rules
Swimming Pool Races
Remember to keep the race course safe. Also, use common sense, such as use of the shallow end for swimmers who are not confident in the water.
Include things such as swimming through hoops, pushing a ball through the water, swimming underwater, retrieving objects from the bottom of the pool, etc.
Compete to see who can:
- Retrieve items e.g. set of keys, coins, diving bricks
- Go through weighted hoops (if available)
- Swim the farthest under water
- Hold their breath the longest underwater
The Invisible Bottle Swimming Pool Game
Fill an empty, clear, two-liter plastic bottle with pool water. Try to use one with a white cap, or a cap the same color as your pool tile. Line the players up on the pool deck with their backs to the water. Throw the bottle into to water and when the players hear the splash they turn around and try to find it. This is harder than it sounds as the water camouflages the bottle.
Shark in the Pool Game
This game of tag allows players to hop in and out of the water. The shark – It – tries to tag players when they are in the water. If the shark tags someone, they become “It.” Players can only stay out of the water for 5 seconds at a time to give the shark a chance to catch them.
Variation: Players are not allowed to leave the water. Once a person is caught they either stand or sit on the side of pool.
Popsicle Pool Game
In this game of freeze-tag in the water, when a player is tagged, they stand straight with their hands above their head, like a popsicle. If a player is underwater, they cannot be tagged. Additionally, when a player is underwater, they can tag a frozen player and unfreeze them.
The Octopus Pool Game
All the players in this game try to get from one side of the pool to the other without being tagged by It. If a player is tagged, they join hands with it in the middle of the pool. They join It in tagging other players. Each player tagged holds hands with the players attached to It. Eventually you have a long line. The last player remaining not linked to the others become the next It.
A classic game of tag in the water, a player is chosen to be “It.” With eyes closed or back turned, It yells “Marco!” The rest of the players respond with “POLO!” while they move around the pool and try to avoid being caught.
Swimming Pool Games for Kids
These water games for kids provide hours of fun. Use them at parties or to keep kids entertained on a long, summer afternoon.
Simon Says Water Game
One player plays Simon and gives directions for the other players to follow, such as:
- “Simon says jump!”
- “Simon says leap into the water!”
- “Simon says swim front crawl!”
- “Simons says get an inflatable and swim around for a minute”
If a direction is given without “Simon says . . .” and a player follows this direction, the player doing so is out. If someone does not obey a Simon Says direction, they are also out. The player that remains the longest becomes the next one to be Simon.
Water Polo Pool Game
This fun water game is best played in the shallow end of the pool, unless your group is made up of strong swimmers. Play water polo across the width of the pool with two targets, such as floatation boards set on end, set up as goals at either side.
Players include a referee, and two goal keepers.
When a player holds the ball, they cannot move. They must either try to score a goal or throw the ball to another player. All other players, including the goal keepers, are free to move, but must remain in the water. If the ball goes out of the pool, it is handed to the nearest goalkeeper who makes a throw. Whenever a goal is scored, the ball is given to the referee to be thrown into the middle as a `toss-up’ between teams.
It is just as fun to collecting things that float as it is collecting things that sink to the bottom of the pool. Ping pong balls work perfectly because they are light weight and hard to see. If you wish, you can put numbers on them for point values, initials on them and have players find just their own, etc. The more ping pong balls you toss into the pool the more fun it is.
Swimming Pool Games for Adults
Adults will enjoy these swimming pool games designed just for them.
Chicken Pool Game
Nominate someone to be the leader. The leader has to do something funny, such as:
- A funny walk
- An impression of someone
- Jump into the pool anyway they want
The other players then have copy what the leader did. If a player gets any part of it wrong, they get given a C of the word CHICKEN. Once a player has collected all the letters that spell CHICKEN, they must get out of the pool, do the chicken dance, say, “Bok, bok,” and jump back into the pool.
If a player wishes, they can also decide to chicken out to avoid getting a letter. However, if they do so, they are out of the game.
Pair up players. The goal of this game is to swim in pairs with one doing the arm movements, and the other doing the leg movements. This is harder than it sounds. Players race to the end of the pool to see which pair wins.
Ship Station Pool Game
A game that challenges players to follow directions, Ship Station uses nautical terms.
- “Bow” – Swim to the front (shallow end) of the pool.
- “Pirate” – Everybody huddle together in the middle of the pool (or shallow end).
- “Port” – Swim to the left side of the pool.
- “Shark” – Swim to any edge and get out of the water, fast!
- “Shipwreck” – Everybody forms a human line through linked hands from one side of the pool to the other, or as far as possible.
- “Starboard” – Swim to the right side of the pool.
- “Stern” – Swim to the back (deep end) of the pool.
- “Whale” – Swim/float on your back and create a ‘blow’ (water fountain) with their cupped hand or feet.
Categories Pool Game
One person serves as leader and goes to the opposite side of the pool from the other players. The leader chooses a category – for example cars, colors, food, ice cream, animals, etc.) The leader tells the other players the category and they choose an answer related to the category as a group. The leader either gets out of the pool or puts their head under water in order not to hear what answer the players are choosing. Once the players have chosen their answer, the leader has to try and guess the other players choices. If the leader gets it right the player (or players if several have the same answer) have to race to the opposite side of the pool while the leader races to the players side of the pool. All players must be touching the side of the pool before racing. If the leader wins they remain the leader, but if they lose, the person who won the race becomes the new leader.
Swimming pool and water games work well with every age and in many different environments. Try water games at camp, for a backyard party, or at the park. Not all of our games require a large body of water. Some we have shared use sponges or are water balloon games. Make sure you have adequate supervision for swimming pool games for kids. Swimming pool games for adults can break the ice and make a party or get-together more fun. Whichever game you choose, age group it is for, or occasion for which it is used, you are sure to have a fun and memorable time.
Susan majored in English with a double minor in Humanities and Business at Arizona State University and earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Liberty University. She taught grades four through twelve in both public and private schools. Subjects included English, U.S. and world history and geography, math, earth and physical science, Bible, information technologies, and creative writing.
Susan has been freelance writing for over ten years, during which time she has written and edited books, newspaper articles, biographies, book reviews, guidelines, neighborhood descriptions for realtors, Power Point presentations, resumes, and numerous other projects.