These popular pool party games will keep your kids and their friends active, happy and entertained for hours!
Whether you’re throwing a birthday party, hosting an after-school play date, or getting friends and family over for a pool-side barbie, Swimart’s top 10 pool party games are the perfect way to keep everyone happy – the young and young at heart! We’ve even included an 11th game for adults (see below).
Before the fun begins …
We always recommend adult supervision when children are in or around swimming pools and to protect your skin and eyes from the effects of the sun by slipping on a shirt (or rashie!), slopping on sunblock and slapping on a hat.
1. Marco Polo
Marco Polo has been a family favourite for generations and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t spent hours playing this as a child and parent! Just like the famous Italian 13th century explorer after which the game is named, players explore and discover.
If you’re unfamiliar with Marco Polo, this is how it goes: One player who is nominated as ‘it’ closes their eyes and calls out “Marco” to which the other players respond “Polo”. This response helps ‘it’ locate and tag players. If ‘it’ suspects a player has left the pool – usually to escape being tagged – they can call out “fish out of water”. If any player is out of the pool they become ‘it’. If ‘it’ thinks a player has part of their body out of the pool they can yell “Mermaid on the Rocks” which makes that player ‘it’.
According to Retroland, the game is named after Marco Polo as he “didn’t really have a clue as to where he was going much like our friend ‘it’.” We recommend that the person who is ‘it’ keeps their hands out in front of them while playing to avoid bumping into the side of the pool.
2. Pool noodle horse races
Competitors line up at one end of the pool, each astride a pool noodle ‘horse’ before racing to the other side. If there’s more kids than noodles you can hold relay races with teams of two; one child from each team races one lap of the pool before ‘dismounting’ and passing the noodle ‘horse’ to their team mate who races the second lap. (Pool noodles are available at Swimart in a choice of colours.)
Astride pool noodle ‘horses’, players try to unbalance their opponent so they fall off their ‘horse’. An alternative to pool noodles is Swimart’s Floating Log Joust Set, which has two inflatable ride-on logs and soft log ‘boppers’ for jousting sticks.
4. Treasure hunt
Kids love racing for underwater treasures. While players’ backs are to the pool, one player or supervising adult throws sinkable items into the water then announces “Start”. Players dive underwater to find and collect as many items as they can. The game ends when all items have been retrieved and the winner is the player who collects the most items.
Small clear plastic water bottles (with labels removed) filled with water make quick and easy – and hard-to-find – dive toys. For something more colourful, Swimart has a choice of affordable dive game toys, including sets of six Dive Sticks, Dive Discs and Dive Rings, and a soft neoprene Mixed Dive Set all in bright colours to help make the game fast and fun.
We also have a Dive ‘N’ Match game, which tests players’ memories as they have to find two matching pieces within three sets. Of course, goggles will help players find the discs underwater faster. The Dive ‘N’ Match game comes with a pair of goggles and Swimart has a wide range with anti-fog technology.
5. Watermelon Push
As individuals or in teams, players push a watermelon from one end of the pool to the other without touching the bottom of the pool with their feet. This game sounds easier than it is, which is part of the fun! And the best part of Watermelon Push? Eating it afterwards!
6. Octopus Arms
The person who is ‘it’ goes to the middle of the pool while the other players go to each end. When the game starts, players try to get from one side of the pool to the other without getting tagged by ‘it’. When tagged, they join ‘it’ in the middle, joining hands to help them catch players. The game ends when all players are tagged. If you have a small pool, ‘it’ can play with their eyes closed.
7. Piggy in the Middle
If your kids are into ball sports, they will enjoy playing this game. One player, the ‘piggy’, stays in the middle of the pool, while other players at each end of the pool throw a soft ball to each other, over the head or to the side of the ‘piggy’ who tries to catch the ball. When the ‘piggy’ catches the ball the player who tossed it becomes the new ‘piggy’ in the middle. If ‘piggy’ finds it too difficult to the catch the ball, players can be asked to close their eyes when throwing the ball to each other.
8. Pool ball games
Water ball games are a winner with kids who enjoy playing netball, basketball or volleyball on land! With Swimart’s Shoot ‘N’ Hoops, kids can score goals by throwing the lightweight ball through its inflatable floating hoop. This pool game can be made more challenging by getting the players to shoot while treading water, with their eyes closed or their backs turned, or while the other players make waves that cause the hoop to move. For volleyball lovers, there’s Swimart’s Spike ‘N’ Splash Pool Volleyball, which is easy to set up and fun for kids and adults. You’ll quickly see why this is a popular pool game on many cruise ships!
9. Tight Squeeze
A pool game that’s cheap and challenging is ping pong squeeze. Each player has to keep a ping pong either between their legs or under their arm while swimming. The winner is the player who can do this for the longest time. If one ping pong ball proves too easy, increase it to two or three balls. Another version of this game is ‘sitting’ on a plastic soft ball. The winner is the player who can keep a ball underwater, under their bottom, for the longest time. Sounds easy? Give it a try!
10. Ping pong races
For this game, you just need ping pong balls (the more the better!) and two buckets. Divide players into two teams. With one team at each end of the pool, a spare player or supervising adult tosses the ping pong balls into the middle of the pool. Players have to collect one at a time, putting each one in a bucket at their team’s end of the pool. The winning team is the one with the most balls!
11. The adults’ pool party game
When the kids are out of the pool, it’s time for the adults’ pool game! Grab a swimsuit, a cool drink and a comfy seat like Swimart’s in-pool South Beach Sling Chair or inflatable Chill Out Pool Ring Seat (which conveniently have beverage holders) and relax for as long as you can before the other players, i.e. your kids, bomb you or yell for more ice-cream!
Visit your local Swimart store for the latest in pool games and toys or call 1300 991 104 to find out what you can order online.