Introducing fun pool games for kids is a great way to enhance their water confidence, promote physical activity, and amplify the fun factor! After all, making a splash in the swimming pool is always a favourite pastime for kids. Using the power of play is a fantastic way to teach swimming, as any parent, grandparent, or swimming teacher can tailor any of these games to play in pool time to create the most engaging and entertaining experiences in the pool.
I have compiled a list of the top 10 swimming pool games to play that are fun and engaging and will teach your kids some essential swimming skills.
1. Sunken Treasure
Aim: to gain confidence in submerging under the water.
Equipment: a selection of sinkers
'Hey kids, let's have a treasure hunt underwater!' Children can play Sunken Treasure (one of the most popular games to play in pool) in any water depth. Be sure to play it in water depth that will challenge your children. Place a selection of sinkers on the pool floor, and on the command to start, the players have a set time to collect as many objects as possible, one at a time. Alternatively, you can play the game with an odd number of sinkers, and the players collect them one at a time as quickly as possible instead of in a preset time. The winner is the player with the most sinkers collected.
Key phrases: 'take a deep breath, hold it all in' 'reach down and see what you can find'
Progression: players collect multiple sinkers in one dive to encourage them to hold their breath longer.
2. Simon Says
Skill: moving around the pool, floating, submerging
Aim: to enhance confidence by using a variety of skills.
Difficulty: as difficult as you want to make it
Equipment: as needed depending on the chosen activities.
You take the role of 'Simon' and issue instructions to the other players, which should be followed only when the phrase begins with 'Simon says'. Instructions can include skills such as blowing bubbles at the surface, sinking, and floating in a specific shape, depending on the ability and confidence level of the children playing the game. Each player begins with a set number of points, for example, 10 and loses a point each time they follow an instruction that does not start with the phrase 'Simon says'.
Progression: string together combinations of skill, for example, 'star float and blow bubbles'
3. Shopping Trolly Grab
Skill: moving around the pool
Aim: to gain confidence in moving around in the water.
Equipment: float or kickboards, floating toys
Your children will need a float or kickboard each to play this game. These will become shopping trollies. Scatter a range of floating toys around the pool. On the command to 'go!', each child pushes their shopping trolly (float) around the pool, collecting as many objects as possible, placing them carefully on their float, and taking them to the poolside. The winner is the player with the most on their float (in their shopping trolly). You can play this against the clock to add an element of urgency and speed to the game.
Key phrases: 'use long strides' 'use your arms to go faster' 'reach for it'
Progression: use a mixture of floaters and sinkers so children can submerge in addition to moving around the pool.
4. Pass And Catch
Skill: moving around and getting used to the water
Aim: to get used to the water and to being splashed.
Equipment: ball or similar object to throw and catch
Play this game in a depth of water that is not too easy but challenging for your children. Get them to stand far enough apart so they can throw and catch a ball or similar soft object. The idea of the game is to throw and catch the ball or object as many times in a row without dropping it. If a player drops a catch, the count begins again.
Key phrases: 'use long strides' 'feel the water supporting you' 'reach for it'
Progression: use an object that sinks, and each player submerges to catch it before it reaches the pool floor.
5. Tug Boat Tow
Skill: floating and gliding
Aim: to use the support of a partner to gain confidence in floating and gliding.
This fun game is played in pairs and involves one child behind the other, holding the shoulders or hips, depending on the water depth of the child in front. The child in front then tows the child behind around the pool like a tug boat towing a ship. Encouraging the child being towed to adopt a flat and stretched body position is essential.
Key phrases: 'stretch out' 'make your body as long as you can' "feel the water supporting you'
Progression: the child being towed has their face down in the water whilst blowing bubbles. Have one child lay on their back and be pulled by the other child by them, holding under their shoulders.
Incorporating fun pool games for kids is integral to transforming their fear of water into a love for swimming. It's crucial to oversee these games and ensure safety measures are in place. Whether planning a pool party or looking to enrich a regular swim day, these games can ramp up the fun factor, making swimming a delightful experience for your little ones.
Use some of the best and most fun pool games for kids to teach your children basic and essential swimming skills. Watch as they splash around having fun without knowing that they are actually learning how to swim!
Download your copy and discover the power of play!