Splash into Summer: The Ultimate Guide to Poolside Games and Activities for Every Generation

Summer is Finally Here!

As the days get warmer and longer, thoughts begin to turn to how you will spend the lazy days of summer. If you have a backyard pool, the answer is obvious! Whether you are swimming laps, playing with your kids, or entertaining company, the pool will keep you cool and occupied all summer long. When your kids get tired of splashing around or you want to bump your pool party up a notch, what will you do? We’ve got some suggestions for elevating the fun with the best water pool games.

The Classics

If you are not familiar with these pool games, have you ever even been to a pool party? Adults will love the nostalgia of these tried-and-true crowd-pleasers, and kids will love them just as much as kids have always loved them.

  • Marco Polo: One person is Marco, and Marco closes his or her eyes and counts to 10. While the counting is going on, the other players scatter around the pool. Marco then moves about the pool calling “Marco,” to which the other players respond, “Polo.” The goal is to find another player by sound, and once Marco finds someone, that person must become the new Marco.
  • Sharks and Minnows: One person is the shark, and all the other players are minnows. The shark stands in the middle of the pool, with the minnows all on one side facing the shark. When the shark calls out “fishy, fishy, come and play.” The minnows must begin walking towards the shark while the shark remains motionless. Suddenly, the shark calls out “Shark Attack!” When this happens, the minnows have to try to get past the shark, to the other side of the pool, without being tagged by the shark. The next round will have multiple sharks because anyone tagged becomes a shark. The game continues until one minnow is left standing, and that minnow becomes the starting shark for the next game.
  • Four Corners: One person stands in the middle of the pool, and each of the four corners is assigned a color. When the person in the middle of the pool says go, the other players have to move from corner to corner until the middle person shouts stop, at which point they all have to go to the closest corner. The person in the middle then calls out a color, and the people in that corner are out. Keep playing until only one player remains, then that player moves into the middle and the game begins again.
  • Chicken: This one is a little bit controversial because it is slightly more hazardous than the others on this list of classics, so if you are going to play it, do it in an uncrowded pool with plenty of room. In this game, one person gets on another’s shoulders to form a team, then teams battle to try to knock off the top person.
  • Duck Duck Dolphin: This is the same game as Duck Duck Goose, but in the water. Players stand in a circle in the water, and one player goes around the circle, tapping each person on the head and saying “duck” or “dolphin.” The person tagged as the dolphin must chase the person who is “it” by swimming, not running. The person who is “it” has to swim and try to get to the other person’s seat before being tagged.

Diving Games

There are tons of items you can buy to dive for, like weighted pretend treasure and diving sticks and rings in just about every color, pattern, and configuration imaginable. If you’d rather not hit the store before your party, though, there are some DIY diving games that will be just as much of a hit.

  • Change Champion: Toss some change of different denominations into the pool, so that divers can try to collect the most change. What makes this game difficult is that divers are only allowed to pick up one coin with each hand on each dive. At the end of the game, the person with the highest monetary value wins.
  • Homemade Dive Sticks: Fill plastic water bottles with colored water, making sure the bottles are completely filled and the lids are on tightly. You can also use plastic glow sticks as dive sticks for a night-time pool party.

Games with Balls

  • Pool Volleyball: Just like volleyball, but the net stretches across the pool.
  • Pool Basketball: Not just like basketball, but players try to shoot the ball into a floating hoop.
  • Mother Duck: With all the players out of the water, scatter ping-pong balls throughout the pool. Once the balls are in place, give a signal, and the players will all jump into the pool to begin the game. The goal is to herd the balls into a designated area along a pool wall without touching them. They can splash, make waves, blow on them, or do anything else that doesn’t involve physically touching them. Once a ball touches the wall, that player gets a point, and the ball goes into a bucket beside the pool. The game ends when all the balls are out of the pool. If you want to lean into the duck theme, use rubber ducks instead of ping-pong balls.

Challenge Games

  • Obstacle Course: You can get creative with this one, using hula hoops to swim through, pool noodles to jump over, pool floats to ride part way across the pool, diving sticks to collect, basketball nets for making shots, and anything else you can think of to make it challenging.
  • Swim Through Rings: Challenge kids to see who can swim through a series of underwater rings the fastest. There are some extremely cool rings you can buy, and some even light up, but you can also make your own by filling hula hoops with water and closing them back up with a piece of a pool noodle.
  • Human Ring Toss: Some of the participants line up in rows in the pool and some stand poolside, trying to toss rings around the people in the pool. The rings can be hula hoops or rings made from pool noodles, and if you want to make the game a little more challenging, assign points to the people in the pool.

Poolside Games

Even the most fun pool games in the world won’t keep kids in the pool all day. When they’re ready for a break, these poolside activities will keep them busy. Adults can have fun with these, too!

  • Chalk Art: Break out the sidewalk chalk and let the kids decorate the pool deck.
  • Science Experiments: Conduct simple science experiments, like building little boats out of aluminum foil and seeing whose boat can float the longest, or testing surface tension by trying to get lightweight objects to float.
  • Noodle Boats Races: Cut pool noodles up to make little boats, and attach small flags to them. Then let the kids personalize their boats by decorating them using markers, stickers, or foam shapes. Once they’re complete, the boats can be raced!
  • Pool Golf: This game has a floating green, so you can putt from the side of the pool and never get wet!
  • Pool Party Bingo: You can find pool party bingo games online, or make your own, with cards that feature pool-themed items like goggles, floaties, sunglasses, flip-flops, bathing suits, popsicles, and so on. Enticing kids with a game of bingo can also be an effective way to get them to take a break and eat!

Look to Aaron Pools and Spas for Fun in Your Own Back Yard, All Summer Long

When you are ready to enjoy all the benefits a swimming pool has to offer, there’s no better company to install a pool for you than Aaron Pools and Spas. We’ve installed countless swimming pools and hot tubs since our company was established in 1972, and this family-owned-and-operated business has a dedicated, award-winning team with over 400 years of combined experience. We love to help improve the quality time that families spend together at home, which is why we provide pools and spas with exceptional craft, bringing your vision to life with the best, materials, layouts, and styles available. We also offer pool cleaning products to make sure your pool looks beautiful, feels amazing, and is safe. For the best possible service from our highly experienced installation team, call 508.996.3320 or contact us today.


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