Top 8 Swimming Pool Games and Activities for Kids

Two boys jumping into a swimming pool holding onto pool floats

Temperatures are rising, and your kids are ready to enjoy your safer swimming pool with some fun pool games and their neighborhood friends. Kids’ pool games give children safe activities to learn more about the water, sharpen their swimming skills, or just let them have wet and wild fun. With the proper planning and supervision, you can keep them entertained for hours at a summer pool party or for months to help them beat the heat. Here’s how to make sure you and your pool are ready to be the “It” place until school is back in session.

Have Fun Safely

Safety must come first, even with swimming pool games for kids. That means protecting young swimmers from both themselves and the behavior of others. It’s a big responsibility that starts well before the party begins.

Creating a Safer Pool Area

Brown mesh swimming pool fence installed around a backyard pool

Accidental drownings can happen in seconds, and a lack of safety barriers is cited as a contributing factor in most incidents. Effective safety barriers prevent unsupervised access–always a heightened risk when multiple kids excited by pool time are present.

  • Removable Mesh Pool Fence – This modern pool fence uses strong poles to stretch a climb and rip-resistant mesh around the perimeter of your pool area, limiting access. It deters climbing, has no large gaps to push through or under, and uses a self-closing and self-latching gate to keep the pool secure. When it’s time to open the pool, the entire fence can be removed temporarily to give everyone more elbow room.
  • Pool Safety Nets – These strong, tear-resistant safety nets are made of knotted twine and anchored around the edge of your pool to prevent access to the surface of the water. Kids trying to climb out onto the net can’t navigate far before being caught and held up and out of the water near the pool’s edge for easy rescue.

Ensure Constant Supervision In and Out of the Water

There should always be a responsible adult keeping track of the action in and out of the pool. Assign a water watcher who is always focused on the pool itself, watching for signs of a swimmer in distress. Other parents should be ensuring play outside the pool, especially near the pool edge, is staying calm and safe.

Hands holding out a first aid kit over a swimming pool

Be Ready for Rescue

Make sure you have the proper emergency equipment and accessories on hand. This includes a first aid kit stocked with non-expired materials, flotation devices, and rescue poles. You should also make sure a phone for emergencies is charged and ready for use in the pool area should it be needed. All equipment should be visible, clearly marked, and responsible adults should be made aware of its locations.

Top Swimming Pool Games For Swimmers

While you may be able to make some changes for kids that are starting to swim, these swimming pool games are best for those who’ve achieved a certain amount of proficiency in the water and their similarly skilled peers.

Diving For Treasure

Diving games are always popular, but make sure to stipulate safe water entry based on your pool’s depth. The organizer stands at the edge of the pool and scatters the “treasure” in the water, usually either weighted dive toys or larger coins. The swimmers then enter the water to see who can collect the most treasure, either in one-on-one competition or small groups of treasure hunters. To add to the excitement, treasure can be traded for prizes or, in the case of coins, keep what you collect. To increase the skill level, have swimmers enter the water as the treasure is scattered and collect it as it sinks.

Submarine Races

This kids’ pool game favorite is a test of swimming skills and endurance. Swimmers take off from a set point under the water and work to be the fastest to reach the other end and return without surfacing or compete to see who can go the furthest without coming to the surface.


Similar to the popular hoops activity H.O.R.S.E., swimmers emulate the dive or aquatic feat of the person before them, taking turns being the swimmer to set the challenge. An impartial judge (parent) determines if they were successful while keeping the maneuvers safe. If it’s not a match, you get a letter. When you spell the titular F.I.S.H., you’re out. The last one in the game wins.

Shallow Shenanigans

Not every pool user is an accomplished swimmer. These games are perfect for those who stick to the shallow end, but they can also easily be modified to accommodate the whole party.

Marco Polo

A swimming pool game classic, one person calls out “Marco!” with their eyes closed and listens for the response of “Polo!” from active participants. Using only their hearing, the seeker locates and tags the other players until only one remains, who then becomes the new seeker.

Atomic Whirlpool

All participants stand around the edge of the pool and begin moving around the edge in a single, circular direction, either clockwise or counterclockwise. This creates a water current that builds until “Switch!” is called, and then everyone tries to reverse course, walking, running, or swimming against the current. It’s not easy to run, but it is an easy kids’ pool game for participants and spectators to get plenty of laughs from.

Funny Hair Competition

Perfect not just for non-swimmers but even those just learning to be comfortable in the pool, this silly game is fun for the whole family. The rules are simple, submerge yourself and emerge with the wackiest, craziest hair possible. 


Another fun pool-based tag variation, Octopus, starts with one player, the octopus, who links arms with their first victim, creating a longer-armed monster. As more players are tagged, they link arms with the ever-growing chain until the last person is caught. They then become the new octopus seeking their first victim.

Get Your Free Pool Safety Quote

Your local installer lives and works in your community to protect its families. When you call for a no-obligation estimate, they’ll talk to you about your needs, take measurements, and create a written estimate that lays out your pool protection options. Take the first step toward protecting your loved ones. Request your free quote from Lifeguard on Duty today.

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