Playing pool games over the summer is an ideal way for everyone to have an awesome time. And while having equipment does open the doors for a number of fun pool activities, buying them is not the only way keep the gang entertained. There are many pool games with no gear required that will keep your family active and laughing all day long. Whether you have an in-ground pool, above-ground pool, or kiddie pool, all you need are a few friends or the family, and the fun can begin.
From Marco Polo to Sharks and Minnows, keep reading to see our favorite pool games that are light on equipment and heavy on excitement below. And remember, always have at least one adult with a watchful eye on the pool who is not participating in the pool games to keep an eye on all the swimmers.
Marco Polo has been around for ages – and for good reason – it’s a blast to play with three kids or more. One person is designated as Marco or “it”. That person goes to the edge of the pool, closes their eyes and counts to ten while the other players scatter throughout the pool. Once they reach ten, the chosen Marco begins reaching around and searching for the others with eyes closed. As “it” begins to shout “Marco,” each of the other players must respond with “Polo” (unless they’re underwater). The first player to get “tagged” becomes the next Marco.
Shark and Minnows
This classic pool game doesn’t require any pool toys. All you need to play is a group of enthusiastic players. More is better, but the game is still fun with small groups, too. One player is chosen to be the shark and the rest become minnows. The shark starts off in the shallow end of the pool while the minnows start off on the other end of the pool. When the shark yells “Minnows in!” or a similar phrase, the minnows jump or dive into the pool and try to swim to the other side without getting tagged by the shark. Every minnow the shark tags joins the shark’s team and helps to tag other minnows. The last minnow becomes the first shark in the next round.
Divide a group of four into two teams. On each team, one member will get onto the other’s shoulders and work to knock their opponent(s) into the water, either by toppling just the “top” or both “top” and “bottom” together. Steer clear of the edges of the pool to keep this game safe!
Another swimming pool game that doesn’t require a trip to the store is Popsicle. If you’ve ever played freeze tag, this is exactly that, only in the shallow end of the pool. One player is designated as “it” and must tag the other swimmers. When a player is tagged, they must stand frozen with arms up over their head. They can be unfrozen and join back into the game by being tagged underwater by another swimmer. To maximize the fun be sure to change the “it” person every few minutes so the game doesn’t get old for the “it” player.
Similar to H.O.R.S.E in basketball, players must follow the leader and complete swim tasks like doing a belly flop, swim across the pool in a certain way, or do a headstand. If a player cannot complete the task, they earn a letter. When a player earns enough letters to spell FISH, they are out. The last player swimming is the new leader.
Choreograph your dance own routine to go with one of your favorite songs. Grab the video camera (make sure not to get it wet) and record the performance!
Belly Flop Competition
Think of the belly flop competition as a sillier (and perhaps more painful) cannonball competition. It’s is all about the biggest smack of flesh on water!
Begin by choosing someone to be “It.” This person stands outside of the pool with their back turned from the water and all other players line up directly underneath them with their hands on the wall. The “it” person chooses a category (think ice cream flavors, breakfast cereal, superheroes, etc.) and the other players wait for their selectin to be guessed. If it is, the player tries to swim to the other side of the pool without being tagged out.