Swimming Pool Games

Always be sensible when playing in or near water and supervision by a responsible person is recommended.
The games mentioned here should only be played in purpose built swimming pools and by those who are able to swim without help.

Don't have a swimming pool? The best above ground pools feature sturdy, steel frames for improved safety.

Remember water is dangerous.
Always put SAFETY FIRST.
Always obey pool rules


Sent in by Kristina Domansky

One person is chosen to be the leader and goes to the opposite side of the pool to the other players. The leader then chooses a category (eg cars, colours, food, ice cream, drinks, etc) and tells the other players, who have to choose their answer/s to that category. The leader can either get out the pool or put their head under water in order not to hear what answers the other players are choosing.

When the players have chosen their answer the leader has to try and guess the other players choices. If they get it right the player (or players if several have the same answer) have to race to the opposite side of the pool while the leader races to the players side of the pool. If the leader wins they remain the leader, but if they loose the person who won the race becomes a new leader. All players must be touching the side of the pool before racing.


Sent in by Kayla D

Nominate someone to be the leader, who then has to do something funny like a funny walk or an impression of someone, then they jump into the pool anyway they want. The other players then have to follow and copy what the leader did. If they get part of it wrong they get given a C of the word CHICKEN. This happens each time until they have collected all the letters that spell CHICKEN.

Players can also decide to chicken out on a particular go to avoid getting a letter. But show that they have chickened out by doing the chicken dance, say "Bok, Bok" and then jump in the pool. Players may only chicken out 5 times.

You can make the game easy, medium, or hard:-

Colors (Colours)

Sent in by Allison Eader

One person is chosen to be 'it' (the catcher) gets out and faces away from the pool. All the remaining players in the pool chose a color. The catcher continues to face away from the pool and asks "Do you have your colors?" and if players answer they do the catcher then starts calling out various colors. When a player's color is called they have to try and swim across the pool quietly without being heard. The catcher if they hear a player moving can then turn around and try and tag them before they reach the safety of the other side of the pool. You can use different categories like cars, flowers, etc...

Make out Tag

Sent in by Mary Bestwick

Simple game of Tag (or IT), but players have to be tagged underwater. If you tag somebody you have to kiss them.


Get players to partner up. Players try and swim in pairs with one half doing the arm movements while the other half of the pair holds onto their partner and does the leg movement. Best tried in the shallow end.

Sand bank

Play as in 'Stuck in the Mud', with one or two players being nominated to capture the others. Once a player is caught they have to go to the shallow end the stay there until they are set free by a player, who has not yet been caught, swimming through their legs.


Effectively a swimming pool version of tag or 'it'

One or two people become sharks with the objective of catching the other players who are in the water. Players are not allowed to leave the water. Once a person is caught they either stand or sit on the side of pool. 

Simon Says

Sent in by Christian Forster

1 person says, 
"Simon says jump!" - players have to jump
"Simon says leap into water!" - players have to leap into water
"Simon says swim front crawl!" - players have to swim front crawl
"Simons says get an inflatable and swim around for a minute" 
Do these in any order

[Ed: You could probably do this using any set of commands that are safe to play. 'Simon Says' is typically played so that any instruction preceded by the words "Simon says" are obeyed, if not you are out. However, if an instruction is given without Simon says being given, this instruction should not be obeyed, otherwise you are out.]


Play as NEWS. but include nautical terms like:

"Port" - Swim to the left side of the pool
"Starboard" - Swim to the right side of the pool
"Stern" - Swim to the back (deep end) of the pool
"Bow" - Swim to the front (shallow end) of the pool
"Shark" - Swim to any edge and get out of the water, fast!
"Whale" - Swim/float on your back and create a 'blow' (water fountain) with their cupped hand or feet.
"Pirate" - Everybody huddle together in the middle of the pool (or shallow end)
"Shipwreck" - Everybody forms a human line through linked hands from one side of the pool to the other (or as far as possible)

Water Polo

Best played in the shallow end, unless your group is made up of strong swimmers! Play across the width of the pool with two targets, such as floatation board set on end, set up as goals at either side. (or proper goals if they happen to be handy). Rules can be improvised, but to simplify:

Races / Competitions

Remember to keep the courses safe and use your own common sense, such as use of the shallow end for swimmers who are not confident in the water. Possible races can include

Diving Games

Retrieving items eg set of keys, coins, diving bricks
Going through weighted hoops (if available)
Distance you can swim under water
Amount of time you can hold your breath underwater.


Life Saving Skills

If you have a lifeguard nearby who is willing, or if you know some yourself, ask them to show a few simple lifesaving skills such as being able to throw a rope from the side. If you have stronger swimmers show them the proper way to tow somebody through the water.