While kids don’t need that much encouraging to jump into the pool, organizing some pool games for the kids for your next pool party is a great way to keep the kids occupied for extended periods of time. Choosing the right swimming pool games can also help build their swimming skills and strengthen their bodies at the same time.

Here are five fun pool games for kids you can use for your next pool party as well as a few tips to make sure that the kids stay safe while enjoying themselves.

Swimming Pool Games for Kids

Hungry Whale

For this swimming pool game, one of the swimmers is chosen to be the whale. He or she then floats on his or her back. Meanwhile, all the other swimmers walk around the whale in a circle while shouting out, “Little Whale, what time is it?”

The swimmer who is chosen to be the whale would then reply. If the swimmer selected to be the whale responses with time, then the other swimmers would continue walking around the whale in a circle and would ask the question again. If the swimmer picked to be the whale shouts, “Lunch time!” he or she would flip over and chase the other swimmers. The first one that the whale tags before reaching the pool wall becomes the new whale.


This swimming pool game is the water version of the game tug-o-war, with a slight twist.

For this game, you will need a kickboard or a sturdy water raft and three flags. Place one of the flags at the center of the kickboard or float. Choose a referee for the game (preferably an adult) and position him or her parallel to the flag on the kickboard. Ask the referee to hold the two remaining flags on either hand and keep them apart so that they form like a human letter “T.”

Divide the swimmers into two teams and position them on opposite sides of the kickboard or raft. Once the referee gives the signal, the swimmers will then need to kick as hard as they can so that they can start moving the other team backward. The team that can push the kickboard or raft so that the flag in the middle of the kickboard or float is parallel to one of the flags being held by the referee is the winner.

Beach Ball Race

For this game, you will need two small beach balls. You can also use inflated balloons if you have them as decorations for your pool party.

Divide the swimmers into two teams and give each team a beach ball or balloon. At the signal, each swimmer should hug the beach ball or balloon close to their chest and then swim across the pool and head back. The first team that finishes wins.

This is a great pool game for adults as well. Instead of hugging the beach ball, have each adult swimmer move the beach ball or balloon across the pool and back just using their face. No blowing and no hands are allowed.

Plastic Bottle Boat Race

For this game, you will need a couple of empty plastic bottles, preferably with different colors and a colored rope or ribbon to serve as the finish line.

Divide the swimmers into two teams and give each team a plastic bottle. At the signal, the teams help each other to get the plastic bottle to cross underneath the rope or ribbon any way they want without touching the bottle. The first one plastic bottle that crosses the finish line wins.

Hippo Ride Race

This is a great pool game to help get both grown-ups and kids to join in the fun.

Divide the swimmers into two teams. At the signal, the child hops onto the back of the grown up and holds onto him or her as the grown-up swims across the pool. The next pair can only start swimming after the grown up swimmer touches the pool wall. The first team with all of its members on the other side of the pool wins.

Pool Party Safety Tips

  1. Make sure to apply sunscreen to your kids.

Be sure that you use sunscreen all over their body and face at least 15 minutes before you release them into the water and again every two hours. According to the American Academy of Dermatology water reflects the sun’s rays, increasing the amount of harmful UV rays that reaches your kid’s skin.

When choosing a sunscreen for your child, make sure that it’s waterproof with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher. Choose a sunscreen that uses ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium oxide as these ingredients cause less irritation on your child’s sensitive skin.

  1. Have an adult in the pool at all times.

Only watching your children at a distance during a pool party is not enough to keep your kids safe while they play in the pool. Make it a point that there is an adult who knows how to swim in the pool within arm’s reach of the children at any given time.

  1. Specify the shallow areas.

Most backyard swimming pools are designed to have a deep end on one side and a shallow end on the other. Before your pool party starts, make sure that you explicitly specify the shallow portion of the pool so that you and your friends would be able to point this out to the kids when they arrive.

One way to do this is by hanging a string of festive flags across the pool. Not only does it quickly show the kids only until which part of the pool they can swim. The flags also serve as a decorative element to your pool party.

  1. Avoid using glass and ceramics.

A pool party with the kids is not the time to take out those fancy glasses and China since there is always that risk that they could break, which can easily cause some injury. Using disposable plates, cups and utensils are safer are not only safer but also much easier to clean up afterward.

  1. Keep alcoholic consumption in check.

Although there is nothing wrong with having a few drinks at a pool party with kids, it’s also important to make sure to drink moderate amounts since drinking alcohol significantly causes your reflexes to diminish rather quickly. So drink responsibly.

  1. Have a first aid kit handy.

Kids will be kids. So expect that there will be quite a bit of running around no matter how many times you tell them otherwise. Make sure that you have a first aid kit equipped with everything you need to treat cuts, scrapes, and even cramps handy. Not that we expect anything bad to happen to the little ones, but it is still best to be prepared.