I thought I would just make a list of all the games that we love to play in the pool on a hot summer day.  Most of these I have been playing my whole life and they seem so second nature I won’t go into too much detail.  But if you need more info let me know.

  • Categories/Colors- One person stands on the edge of the pool out of the water,  facing away from the pool.  He chooses a category and everyone in the water chooses something within the category.  We usually start off with colors and sometimes some limits have to be made so the older kids don’t choose “brick red,” “forest green,” or “carnation pink.”  The person that is it will slowly list items in his category.  If he says the item that you chose, you quietly and quickly swim to the other side.  If the person that is it turns around and sees you he jumps in and trys to catch you before you reach the other side.  If he gets you, you are it!  If he turns around and no one is swimming across he must take one big step forward/away from the pool.
  • Toothpick Jump- Someone takes a toothpick (or something else that is small and floats) and puts it at the bottom of the pool.  Everyone else is standing on the edge of the pool waiting to spot the toothpick.  As soon as you see it, you jump in and try to grab it, which means everyone else probably jumped in too and created a lot of waves.  This usually turns aggressive, but is super fun.  You can also play this game with a clear 2-liter bottle.  It works a little bit opposite than the toothpick.  All of the players are looking away and the bottle is thrown into the water.  The clear bottle filled with water sinks to the ground and everyone tries to find it.

    image from moneypit.com

  • Chicken Fights- Everyone choose a partner and one gets on the other shoulders.  It is easiest if the bottom person is standing about chest high in the water.  Then all the people on top try to knock the other people on top into the water. Loads of fun!

    chicken fight in pool, image from wenderful.com

  • Sharks and Minos- Start out with one person playing the Shark in the middle of the pool.  Everyone else goes to one side of the pool and plays Minos.  When the shark is ready, all the Minos try to swim to the other side of the pool without being caught by the shark.  If the Minos do get caught by the Shark, they turn into Sharks too and immediatly try to get other Minos.  When the Minos have made it to the other side, you start another round, this time with a lot more sharks in the middle that were caught last round.  The last surviving Mino wins.
  • Marco Polo-Choose one player to be “it”. That person goes under the water and counts to ten. While the “it” person counts, the other players scatter around in the pool. When the count is over, the “it” player tries to tag the other players, using only the sound of their voices to find them. The “it” player calls out “Marco”, and the other players call out “Polo”. When the “it” player tags another, that player becomes the “it” person and the game starts over again.
  • Synchronized Swimming- Should I be embarrassed to admit how many synchronized swimming routines I have made up?  Sometimes with kids, and sometimes with all adults.
  • Races- We usually create different kind of races across the pool that could include: arms only, legs only, one breath, or surf on a friend.
  • Keep away- In and out of the water, if there is a ball involved somehow keep away always happens.
  • Dolphins and Sharks- This one is similar to Sharks and Minos with the goal of the game being to get everyone on the same team.  This time you divide all the players in half .  On one side of the pool you have Sharks and the other side you have Dolphins.  The leader calls out either “dolphins” or “sharks.” Whichever group you called has to quickly swim away to their safety point (their side of the pool) while their opponents chase them, trying to tag as many as possible. Throughout the game the leader will randomly call out either team. Any player tagged has to join the enemy team. The game ends when all players have become part of one team.
  • Gofer Bob- This game is similar to the arcade game where you try to hit all the gofers’ heads with a mallet.  The person that is “it” has a noodle in their hand and tries to hit the other players in the head to get them out.  The players can easily bob under the water for protection, but watch out when you pop up for some air.