10 Fun Swimming Pool Games to Keep the Kids Entertained

When you have a swimming pool in your backyard, it can be easy to spend hours lounging in the water and relaxing in the sun. However, sometimes it’s also nice to change things up a bit and get some extra use out of your pool area by playing some fun swimming pool games.

Some of our favorite options include Marco Polo, swimming relays, or diving for rings. You could also try playing watersports like swimming soccer, volleyball, or basketball.

No matter what games you choose, there’s no doubt that spending time in your swimming pool will always be a great way to beat the heat and have a good time with friends or family. So why not grab your suits and dive right in?

In this guide, I list 10 of the coolest pool games you and your family and friends can enjoy. Some of these games do not need any special equipment and neither do you need to be the next Michael Phelps. I have included games for all swimmers of all levels to enjoy.

Before we begin, here are some benefits of playing games in the pool.

Picture of kids ready to play some swimming pool games.

Benefits of Playing Swimming Pool Games

Now that you have your swimming pool clean and the weather is warming it’s time to start enjoying the outdoors and what better way to enjoy the summer sun than by swimming in your backyard pool?

Not only is swimming a great workout, but playing games in the pool can also be a lot of fun. Here are some of the benefits of playing swimming pool games.

  1. Swimming pools are a great way to keep cool on a hot summer’s day. Not only does swimming help to relieve stress and give you a full-body workout, but it can also be incredibly fun and social. Whether you’re swimming laps or splashing around with friends, swimming is an ideal way to get outside and enjoy the sunshine.
  2. Another important benefit of water play is that it can help to build confidence and resilience in children. Whether they’re navigating obstacles in a swimming pool or simply racing their friends on an inflatable slide, kids learn important life skills like problem-solving and teamwork through engaging in water activities.
  3. Playing in the water is a great way to build strong physical connections with your body, which can have benefits ranging from improved coordination to decreased anxiety levels. Whether you jump in the deep end or do some gentle stretching on the edge of the swimming pool, being active in water is always good for your health and well-being.
  4. Water play is a great way to enhance the overall fitness levels of both kids and adults. It can help burn hundreds of calories and improve cardiovascular health in the process. Water acts as ‘equipment’ and provides almost 12 times the resistance provided by air. So, any movement you make in water will help you burn more calories than it would without.
  5. Water games have a low impact on your joints. In the pool, you’d weigh less than you normally do. This is due to the buoyancy and support that water provides. This makes exercise less stressful on the joints. Swimming activities are ideal for elders for this very reason.
  6. Water games have many important social benefits for kids. They learn to interact and also develop cognitive and listening skills. Water play can also teach kids to interact with each other and learn important skills like teamwork, interpersonal skills, imagination, etc.

5 Fun Games to Play in Your Swimming Pool

Swimming pools have become a staple part of American summers. Not only do we jump in the pool to cool off, but we also use pools for entertainment. As a pool owner, it is worthwhile investing in some poolside equipment and pool accessories. You will be very glad you did!

GoSports Splash Net PRO Pool Volleyball Net Includes 2 Water Volleyballs and Pump, Blue


No. of players – Two teams of 4 or 6 players each

Skill Level – Beginner

Pool requirements – pool with a depth of at least 3.5 to 4 ft.

Equipment – Volleyball net at least 2.5 to 3 ft high and a volleyball. The size of the net depends on the size of the pool.

When purchasing volleyball nets, you may be faced with the choice of the net for an above-ground pool and an underground pool.

Volleyball net arms are extendable. So, if you have an above-ground pool, you’d need to extend the arms of the net and for an in-ground pool, you’d need to reduce the length of the arms of the net to the smallest size.

I recommend this water volleyball set from GoSports Splash which comes with an adjustable net and 2 water volleyballs.


  • Compatible with most rectangular, round, and lap pools.
  • It has weighted bases that you fill with water to keep stable.
  • Engineered to withstand splashing.

For the complete set of water volleyball rules and how to play water volleyball, click here.

GoSports Splash Hoop Pro Pool Basketball Game, Includes Poolside Water Basketball Hoop, 2 Balls and Pump

Water Basketball

Water basketball is a mixture of water polo and basketball. Two teams compete against each other to shoot the balls in the basket. One important rule of the game: the ball should not touch the water or go outside the pool.

No. of players –  Two teams of  3 players each – you can have more players too.

Skill Level – Beginner

Pool requirements – pool with a depth of at least 3.5 to 4 ft.

Equipment – Basketball net at least 2.5 to 3 ft high and a ball.

Take the exciting action of basketball from a court to the cool water on a hot summer day!  Summer pool days and pool parties will never be the same without water basketball. 

You can buy this ready-to-use Water Basketball Set from GoSports


  • Engineered to withstand splashing and horsing around
  • Includes two water basketballs and a pump
  • Weighs 22.5 lb. when not filled with water.

For rules of 3 x 3 water basketball, click here.

GoSports Floating Water Polo Game Set - Must Have Summer Pool Game - Includes Goal and 3 Balls

Floating Water Polo

In water polo, two teams compete against each other to put the ball in their opponent’s goal or net. The team with the higher number of goals wins.

Skill Level – Intermediate to advanced. You need to know swimming, wrestling, and defensive skills. You also need to know backstroke, floating, etc.

Pool requirements – pool with a depth of at least 3.5 to 4 ft.

Equipment – caps, mouthguards, swim goggles, two goals, balls.

I recommend the GoSports Floating Water Polo Game Set since it contains everything you need to play this swimming pool game.


  • 1 goal, 3 balls, and a ball pump with a needle for inflation
  • Net is PVC – 4 ft width x 2 ft height
  • 3 x 6-inch water polo balls with anti-slip grip

For basic rules of water polo, click here.

ROYPOUTA Pool Games, Inflatable Floating Cornhole Game with 8 Bean Bags, Outdoor Games & Toys for Adults and Family Kids Teens, Corn Hole Toss Game Water Games Backyard Beach Lawn Lake Outside 2 Pack

Floating Cornhole

If you enjoy cornhole, you will love floating cornhole. What makes floating cornhole even more exciting is that the cornhole boards that you toss the bean bags on keep floating and moving – sure to evoke a lot of laughter and squeals of joy from the players and audiences alike!

No. of players: 2-4 for each team

Skill level – beginner-friendly

Pool requirements – Small to mid-sized pool

Equipment needed – 2 bean bags, inflatable corn hole board

I recommend the BOOMART Floating Cornhole Bean Bag Toss and Cornhole. It is fast and easy to inflate-deflate and is also made of a heavy-duty PVC gauge that resists wear and tear.


  • 8 bean bags that are 4.5 x 4.5 inches each.
  • Cornhole Board size: 35.5 x 21.5 inches. Each board has a hole for you to anchor it using string/ropes.
  1. Diving for Treasure

No. of players – 2 to 6 

Equipment needed – goggles and treasure

How to play

  • An adult or non-player throws treasure all over the pool.
  • Players swim and dive down to collect it.
  • The one with the most treasure wins.
  • Make sure the players are clearly seen – avoid crowding.
Picture of a swimming pool

Fun Games to Play in the Pool Without Equipment

Marco Polo

Marco Polo is one of the most popular games among kids for a variety of reasons. First, it engages both their physical and mental abilities, combining swimming with elements of strategy and problem-solving.

Moreover, its popularity likely stems from the fact that it can be played in almost any swimming pool or body of water. Whether kids are swimming at camp, at the local recreation center, or in their own backyard swimming pools, they can easily organize a game of Marco Polo to keep them entertained for hours on end.

Overall, it is no wonder that this classic swimming game remains a favorite among kids today. This game is an all-time favorite amongst my kids and their friends. 

No. of players – 3 and over

How to play

  • One player is designated, Marco. 
  • S/he keeps their eyes closed and calls out ‘Marco’ while reaching out with their hands to touch other players who shout Polo. 
  • The player designated Marco needs to tag someone else so they can be Marco next.
  1.  Tag

Tag is a super fun game for kids, teenagers, and adults alike. It can be played by 6 or more players. There are multiple variations of tag as follows:

King’s Bridge

The game King’s Bridge is popular with kids because it’s a simple game that can be played in swimming pools. The object of the game is to cross the pool without being touched.

The game is popular with kids because it’s easy to learn and play, and it doesn’t require any special equipment. All you need is a swimming pool. The game is also popular because it can be played by people of all ages.

Kids can play with their parents or grandparents, making it a great family activity. In addition, the game is affordable and can be played anywhere there’s a swimming pool. For these reasons, it’s no wonder that the game King’s Bridge is so popular with kids.

How to play

  • This is an awesome game for young players. One player is designated King or Queen and s/he has to stand out of the pool with their back to the other players. 
  • The other players have to stand on the farther end of the pool away from the King/Queen and they ask “King/Queen, may we cross your bridge?”
  • The King/Queen can choose an option: ‘Only if you’re wearing blue, or only if you are a girl/boy, or if you are born in so-and-so month, etc.” 
  • The remaining players then try to ‘cross the pool’ and the King/Queen jumps in the pool and tries to tag one of the players who become the King/Queen next.

Underwater Tag

The game Underwater Tag is one of the most popular swimming pool games with kids. This fast-paced, action-packed game is perfect for kids who love to swim and stay active.

How to play

  • Choose one person to be a chaser.
  • Everyone else swims around the pool
  • Players try to avoid the chaser by swimming underwater.
  • Chaser can only tag players by touching the part of their body that is above the water.
  • Players come up for air and that’s when they are “unsafe”.
  • A tagged player has to get out of the pool until the game is over.
  • The game ends when all players are tagged by the chaser or at a predesignated time.

The Blob

There are a few reasons why swimming pool games like The Blob are so popular with kids. First, they provide a great way to cool off on a hot day. Secondly, they offer a chance to be active and have fun with friends.

And finally, it can be enjoyed by people of all ages, making it a great option for family gatherings or birthday parties. So next time you’re looking for a fun activity to enjoy with friends or family, consider giving swimming pool games like The Blob a try.

How to play

  • Designate one person as ‘Blob’
  • Others swim around the pool, trying to avoid being tagged
  • Once a swimmer is tagged, s/he joins hands with the Blob and together they try and tag other swimmers
  • The game ends when all but one player is left. The player left is the winner and the next Blob.

Lifeguard Tag

Lifeguard Tag is one of the most popular games amongst kids these days. This is likely due to its fun, immersive gameplay, as well as the fact that it doesn’t require any equipment.

The goal of Lifeguard Tag is for players to move around a swimming pool without being caught by a “lifeguard,” who is trying to tag them. This game requires quick thinking and fast reflexes, and it also encourages teamwork and strategic planning.

Despite the fact that Lifeguard Tag can be quite competitive at times, it is enjoyed by children of all ages. So if you’re looking for something new and fun to do with your kids this summer, why not give Lifeguard Tag a try? You may be pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoy it!

How to play

  • Designate one player to be a ‘lifeguard’
  • Divide other players into two teams standing on the opposite ends of the pool
  • The lifeguard calls out two players’ names – one from each team. They have to swim and cross to the other side and exchange places before the Lifeguard can tag them.
  • If someone is tagged, s/he becomes the next lifeguard. Otherwise, the Lifeguard calls two more names.

Sharks and Minnows

The game of Sharks and Minnows is one that has been popular with kids for many years. Part of the appeal of this game comes from its simple set-up: swimming pools or any large body of water are all you need to play.

Kids also love the competitive spirit and rush of adrenaline that comes with trying to escape being tagged by a “shark”.

No.of players – 5 or more

How to play

  • One player is designated Shark.
  • The other players are Minnows and they stand on the opposite end of the pool to the Shark.
  • The Shark then shouts ‘Minnows Minnows, come and play’.
  • The Minnows start swimming towards the shark.
  • The Shark then shouts ‘Shark attack’ and tries to ‘catch or tag’ the Minnows.
  • The minnows must try and avoid getting tagged and reach the end of the pool.
  • Any minnow that gets tagged by the shark becomes the next shark. S/he can then tag other minnows.
  • The last minnow left standing is the winner. 

Eel in the Cave

Eel in the Cave is a popular swimming pool game that is easy to learn and lots of fun. The basic premise of the game is to swim through a cave, avoiding the eels that live there.

No. of players – 7 or more

How to play

  • One player is designated Moray.
  • The rest of the players form groups of three. Two join hands to create a cave and the third stands in between them in the cave – this is the eel.
  • Moray then stands in the middle of the pool and calls ‘eel in the cave’. 
  • Players forming the cave must lift their hands and the eel should rush to find a new cave. 
  • The Moray needs to quickly get into one of the caves.
  • The eel without a cave becomes the next Moray.


Sometimes, the simplest games are the most fun. Simply race across the length or width of the pool. This game does not need props and you can even play it between two people.

Pool Popsicle

The game Pool Popsicle has become increasingly popular with kids and teens in recent years. This fun and engaging swimming pool game combines the strategies of both freeze tag and swimming pool games, making it an exciting challenge for players of all ages.

How to Play:

  • Designate one player as ‘IT’.
  • The “IT” person tries to tag other players. Players cannot be tagged under the water.
  • Players that are tagged have to stand frozen in the pool with their arms stretched upwards to the sky. 
  • They can only be unfrozen if another untagged player swims in between their legs and thaws them.

Conclusion – Fun Games to Play in Your Swimming Pool

A swimming pool is a great place for games as long as you practice basic safety. There are hundreds of games you can play in the swimming pool. Some need props, the others don’t. You can even make up your own games or add twists and tweak the rules of existing games.

I hope this guide helps you pick the best games for your next pool party.

Below is a YouTube video showing five popular swimming pool games.

FAQs – Fun Games to Play in Your Swimming Pool

What are the most popular swimming pool games?

Games like Marco Polo, Tag, Shark & Minnows are highly popular and all-time favorites among swimming pool games. Other popular pool games include Floating Cornhole, Water Polo, Water Basketball, and Volleyball.

What are some pool party games?

You can play games like squirt gun wars, ring toss, floating cornhole, and pool basketball at your party.

How do you play alligator in the pool?

Alligator is a kind of tagging game. It is played by tagging a player and the tagged player each joins the rank of the gator. The game continues until one person is left untagged – s/he is the winner.

Picture of me holding our swimming pool skimmer basket.

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Picture of our swimming pool.