Fun Pool Games - 10 Great Pool Party Games

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1. Dolphin Race or Relay

If there are just two players, this game is a race. With four or more players, it can be a relay. Each team has a beach ball that the players must move from one end of the pool to the other using only their noses to push the balls along as they swim. If anyone uses his or her hands to move the ball, he or she must return to the starting position. The first person or team to finish wins.

2. Numbers Crunch

Divide the players into two teams and have each team line up on opposite sides of the pool with a plastic bucket. Then scatter about 25 – 30 numbered ping-pong balls around the pool. The numbers represent the point values for each ball. With an On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! both teams jump in and try to retrieve the balls and place them into their team’s bucket. The catch is that players are allowed to retrieve only one ball at a time. When all of the balls have been collected, each team adds up the numbers on their balls to determine their score. The team with the highest score wins. This game can be made more interesting by allowing teams to win extra points for collecting sets of consecutive numbers.

3. Popsicle

This is a modified version of freeze tag. Define a playing area where everyone can stand with his or her head above water. One person is it and tries to tag the other players. If a player is tagged, he or she must stand frozen like a popsicle (with hands straight in the air) until another player thaws him or her by swimming between his or her legs. A player cannot be tagged while underwater. After a minute or two, have someone else be it and continue the game until everyone has had a chance to be on the offensive.

4. Pool Bottle

Take an empty clear 2 litre plastic bottle. One with a white cap, or the same colour as your liner. Fill the bottle with pool water and line the players up on the pool deck, backs to the water. When they hear the splash they can turn around and try to find it. It’s harder than it seems as the bottle camouflages to the bottom.

5. Colours

Choose a person to be “it”. “It” stands on the side of the pool with their back to the other swimmers who are lined up in the water on the same side of the pool as “it”. Players choose a color and keep it to themselves. “It” begins to call out colors one at a time. If a players color is called out they must try and make it to the other side of the pool as quietly as they can. If “it” hears them swimming then they can dive into the pool and try and tag a player. If “it” turns around and the players still have a hand on the side of the pool then “it” must take a step away from the edge and start again. If “it” catches a swimmer then the swimmer becomes the new “it.”

6. Wet T-Shirt Relay

This game starts out like any other relay race. Two teams are created, and half of each team lines up on opposite ends of the pool. So what makes this relay race different? The wet T-shirt! The starting player for each team is given a soaking wet T-shirt. The players put the T-shirt on, completely — then jump in, swim across the pool, climb out, take off the shirt and hand it to the next player on the team. The first team to get everyone across the pool in the T-shirt wins.

7. Gator

This swimming pool game is a good one if you happen to have a large group. Here is how you play it.

Have one person designated as the “gator.” He or she treads water in the DEEP END of the pool while all other participants are standing on the side. The leader will then yell “gator!” and at that point, the players standing on the side of the pool have 30 seconds to successfully jump in, swim to the other side of the pool, and get out without being tagged by the gator.

Anyone who is tagged in the first round has to join ranks with the “gator” and try to tag the swimmers in the next round(s). The game goes until there is only one person who has not been tagged. Hand out a simple prize for the winner.

8. Jump or Dive

Participants line up at the side of the pool with a little bit of a running start. They jump off the side of the pool and whilst in the air a leader will yell jump or dive and the participant must perform the requested action. This game is fun for the players but often even more fun for onlookers.

9. Skip Ball

4 players compete against 4 other players. The game is played in a rectangular in-ground pool. Each team consists of a skipper (1), a midfielder (2), and two defenders/rebounders (3-4 The game is played with a volleyball sized kid’s play ball. The first team to 11 points wins the game.

Play begins with a coin toss to determine who will skip the ball first.

The skipper from the attacking team must jump off the diving board. While in mid air the skipper must “skip” the ball (just like skipping a stone) across the water and out of the pool on the other side.
The throw is no good if the ball does not hit the water first or the skipper makes contact with the water before he/she throws the ball.

While the skipper is throwing the ball the defending team is trying to block the shot in the shallow end. While the defense is trying to block the ball the rebounders/defenders of the skipper’s team are trying to push the defenders out of the way to give the skipper an open shot on goal.

After a shot has been taken each team fights for possession of the ball. The team that can keep possession of the ball and can make a controlled contact with the deep end wall of the pool will then have a chance to skip the ball.

The mid-fielders on each team swim in the middle of the pool or hold on to the side and wait for passes from the rebounders/defenders. In this position midfielders can try for a “touch” on the deep end, or pass the ball off to a skipper (which at this time is usually located farther in the deep end). If the ball goes past the goal line (after skipping on the water at least once) 1 point is awarded to the skipping team.

Some of the other rules are:
The ball must only be held with one hand.

The ball must not go under water.

Any fouls will result in an automatic shot at goal by the non offending team.

After a goal is scored, the defending team restarts the ball in one of the corners of the shallow end.

If the ball goes out of the bounds past the side lines, the non-offending team gets a shot on goal.

10. Swimming Pool Bowling

This is a fun swimming pool game that is great for groups of 6 to 20 students. All you need is some sort of flotation device (an innertube, air mattress, or inflatable raft). Here’s how you play.

Get everybody into the shallow end, about waist-deep water. Choose one person to be the “bowler” and one person to be the “bowling ball.” The rest of the groups are pins. The person who is the bowler helps but the person who’s the bowling ball ONTO the raft/tube. The two of them stand about 8 feet away from the rest of the group.

The rest of the group (the pins) should cluster together and, when told to, do a synchronized handstand. (So, their heads are underwater, and their feet are sticking out of the water…thus making pins.)

At that point, the bowler pushes the raft/tube toward the pins. The bowler gets points for knocking the pins over. (If a pins’ knees goes underwater, they are considered “knocked down.”)