Author: Whitney Hollingshead

Spending time at the local pool is a must-do for most American families. Before we present some really fun pool games, let’s go over some safety basics that every parent needs to enforce when heading to the pool this summer:
Pool Safety Tips

1. Lifeguards are not babysitters. Children should always have adult supervision when they are near any body of water.

2. If you are going to the pool in a group, at least one adult must be the designated supervisor to watch all of the children in the water without any other distractions present.

3. Children should never push other children at the pool, hold them under water, or jump on top of them.

4. Keep sick children home from the pool. Make sure your children always wash their hands after using the bathroom (especially before entering the pool).

5. Do some research to determine the best flotation device for each of your non-swimmers. Click here for a comprehensive list to help get you started.


Now that we’ve covered some important safety tips, check out these fun games to play in the pool:

Flamingo Dosey Doe Chain

In order to play this game, all children need to be in the shallow end of the pool where their feet can touch and they can still keep their heads above water. One child is chosen to be the flamingo dancer. All of the other children become flamingoes. All flamingoes must stand on one foot in the water and hold both hands on their hips. The flamingo dancer must stand on one foot, but is free to move their arms around.

The flamingo dancer moves toward another flamingo and tries to link their arm through the arm of a flamingo. The flamingo can try to move away, but must stay on one foot and keep their arms on their hips. If the flamingo dancer is successful, the caught flamingo must stay linked to the dancer; however, the other arm is now free to move. The pair then moves to link up to another flamingo.

If any player falls off of one foot or uses the other foot, then the player is out. If any player, other than the flamingo dancer, uses their arms to move, then that player is out.

Play continues until all of the flamingoes are caught on the same chain, the flamingo dancer fails to stay on one foot, or all players not connected to the chain are already out of the game.

Hot Beach Ball

You’ve probably played some version of the game hot potato. This game is very similar. Give your kids a beach ball or balloon once they are all in the pool. The object of the game is to work as a team to keep the ball in the air and out of the water. The children pretend that the ball is also too hot to hold and must keep the ball moving quickly.

If a child holds on to the ball or knocks the ball into the water, then that child is out. Play continues until one child remains.

Steamboat Races

In order to play this game, each child will need some passengers for their boat. You can use rubber duckies, dolls, or action figures. You will need multiple passengers available for each child.

The first race uses only one passenger per child. Each child holds one of their passengers against their belly as they move to a floating position on their back. A judge yells “Go!” and each child must remain on their back and kick their feet to propel their body as a steamboat across the pool. The children cannot use their arms while crossing the pool. They also cannot hold on to the passenger in any way. The passenger must stay balanced on their belly. If the passenger falls off, the child must retrieve the passenger and travel from the retrieval point to the end of the course according to the normal rules.

The first child to steamboat across the pool on their back while carrying their passenger to the other side is the winner.

If one passenger becomes easy to manage for all of the children, increase the difficulty by adding an additional passenger for each child. You can continue to increase the number of passengers until it becomes too difficult.

Keep a close eye on your kids at the pool this summer and encourage them to try new games in the water. Hours of fun await your family at the local pool!