Remember Marco-Polo? A classic pool game we all remember. But, it’s not the only game in town, friends. Your kids can have a blast playing these creative, fun pool games and build some swimming skills while they’re at it. They’ll never want to get out of the water!

Toydle: pools gamesFive Pool Games That Aren’t Marco-Polo

  1. Sharks and Minnows – This one’s a classic. Bonus? You don’t need a pool – you can easily adapt this game for your yard or playground. How-to: Pick one person to be the “shark” and others to be “minnows.” The shark will stand in the center of the pool or where ever the shark can easily touch the bottom, and the minnows will form a line facing the shark. The shark says, “Fishy fishy, come cross my ocean!” At this point the minnows try to swim past the shark to the opposite wall without getting tagged. If a minnow is tagged, that minnow becomes a shark. The game is played until all the minnows have been tagged. The first person tagged becomes the shark in the next round.
  2. Ping pong Float – Great for younger children, this one can help them feel more comfortable in the water. How-to: Grab a few items that float, such as ping pong balls. you can challenge them to keep the ball underwater. The ping pong balls pop to surface and “fly.” Another fun game with ping pong balls is to toss a handful of them into the water and have your kids race to collect as many as possible – as many as they can hold or carry without losing them. (Hint: it gets harder to keep them the more they collect, so they will start drifting away!)
  3. Treasure hunter – For your stronger swimmers, this is a fun way for them to strengthen their swimming kick. How-to: take several coins and toss them in the water. Have your swimmers dive for them. Treasure hunting is something they can do over and over again, and at the end of the day, let them keep the change.
  4. Noodle-saber jousting – A great one for older kids, your swimmers can hang out in the deep-end with this one. The game is played with pool noodles and floats. How-to: Have them sit on top of a pool float, and joust with their noodles. Try to get your opponent to fall off. Safety tip: this is not a good one for the shallow end, where smaller children could get splashed or jousted with a pool noodle.
  5. Face Race – Make sure you take a video of this one. How-to: Grab those ping pong balls again, or beach balls, and have a face race. Try to get your ball across the pool – no arms allowed!

If you really want to play Marco Polo

Here’s a refresher: Choose a swimmer to be “it.” The “it” swimmer closes his or her eyes and says, “Marco!” The other swimmer says, “Polo!” The swimmer who is “it” then tries to find the others swimmers by sound – eyes stay closed. There’s nothing wrong with bringing out a classic. You can get creative, too! Adapt these pool games for the level of swimmer you have by changing them up, adding safety devices such as life jackets and arm floats, or coming up with your own.

Want more summer fun activities to keep your kids busy? Check out some of our other posts to give you some inspiration:

Water Play Projects for Outside

DIY Portable Water Canon

Play Outside With Your Fort!

Toydle: pool games