5 Pool Games For the Whole Family

by Sami Garrison

5 Super Fun Games to Play in the Pool

My parents moved into the house they still live in when I was 8 years old. We had an amazing in ground pool and I spent a ton of my childhood summers inside of it! Now as an adult, I still spend a ton of time in it but with my kids! My sentimental self can’t help but think about how cool it is to teach my kids and husband the same games my siblings and I played when I was young. 

1. Colors

This is my favorite game and has probably been the one I’ve played the most in my life. 

One player is “it” and stands on the side of the pool or the diving board with his back towards the pool. The rest of the players line up along one side of the pool facing the other edge and think of a color. The person that is “it” will start guessing colors. When your color is called you MUST let go of the wall and swim to the other side. The player that is “it” can turn around and check to see if anyone is swimming to the other side. If they are the person that is “it” can jump in and attempt to tag them. If no one is going when the player that is “it” checks, he must take a giant step away from the pool. This will happen every time he checks and no one is going. Once a person is tagged they become “it” and the game starts over. 

Variations and Extra Rules: 

Depending on how inventive your kids are you may need to limit it to just primary colors. I still hold resentment towards my brother over the time he wouldn’t go because he chose the color “Mac and Cheese”. 

You can choose other categories other than colors. The person that is “it” may pick a category such as barn animals, types of cereals, things that rhyme with “cat”, etc. 

If you are having trouble with kids switching colors halfway through the game you can have them whisper their color to the player next to them, just to keep them honest! 

2. Marco Polo

This classic game is super fun in the pool! One person is “it” and will be Marco for the round. The rest of the players are Polos. Marco closes his eyes and counts to ten while the rest of the players spread out inside the pool. No one is able to leave the pool while the game is in session. When the person who is ‘it” says Marco ALL other players must say Polo. Marco tries to tag someone by listening to where the players are. 

Variations and Extra Rules: 

You may play where the players can get out of water. However if you do that and Marco says “Fish Out of Water!” and a player is outside of the pool they are the new Marco. 

To make it easier for the Marcos to not cheat put some paper towels inside a pair of goggles.

3. Keep Away 

This game requires a soaker ball. Players make a circle and one player is “it” and goes in the middle. The players attempt to keep the ball away from the player who is it. If the person who is it gets the ball the player to last touch it is now in the middle. 

4. Tunnel Tag

This game is very similar to freeze tag. One person is “it” and attempts to tag all the players in the pool. If he tags someone they must stop where they are and spread their legs. They cannot move until another player swims under their legs. The person who is “it” must freeze everyone at the same time. The last person touched is “it”. 

Variations: Sometimes younger kids might have trouble getting everyone frozen at the same time. We sometimes make the rule that if you are frozen twice you are frozen forever and cannot be unfrozen. 

5. Jump Catch 

This one is a great one to play if you want to participate in hanging with the kids but with the least amount of effort. You will need a ball. It doesn’t really matter what kind but one that is kind of easy to throw accurately and small enough for little arms to catch. One person (probably you) is the designated ball thrower and the rest of the players line up outside of the pool. The thrower takes the ball and the rest of the players take turns trying to catch it. The first person to catch the ball five times wins! 


You can mix it up by having the jumpers do different things when they are jumping off and trying to catch the ball. Such as: clap twice before catching, catch the ball and throw it back before landing, catch the ball one handed etc. 

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1 comment

Lisa Marie Alioto September 11, 2020 - 12:47 pm

I love Marco Polo – an oldie but a goodie!


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