If your aim is to get the kids to spend as much time in the pool as possible before summer ends, we’ve got you covered with 10 of the coolest, most creative pool games for toddlers to teens. Not only are these ideas a whole lot of fun, but they also help kids become more comfortable and confident in the water, something that’s so important to us, since we want those little tadpoles of ours to be safe when they’re playing in the pool. Especially when they are swimming with a bunch of their giggling, shouting, jumping friends.
Related: Pool safety: 11 top tips for keeping kids safe this summer
That’s why we’re so pleased to be working again with our sponsor iSwimband, a company founded by a group of fathers after one of their children’s classmates was seriously injured in a preventable pool accident. This wearable drowning detection system literally saves lives, so we are so glad they’ve created a product that adds an extra layer of safety and protection for our kids while they’re having fun playing in a
So on their behalf, we’ve rounded up some of the coolest, most creative pool games for kids, no matter what their swimming level. Marco Polo? BTDT.
We hope these ideas make those pool parties and summer gatherings even more fun. And be safe out there!
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1. Red Light Green Light pool game for kids
This favorite lawn game gets a poolside makeover from Sense of Wonder Play School. Here, any red and green props can be used to represent stop and go and we like that our kids won’t go hoarse yelling commands over the squeals of their friends. Besides being a fun competitive game, we also like that this can help to get young swimmers “reaching and pulling” themselves through the water and also learning to tread water when they get deep enough that their feet no longer touch the bottom.
2. Noodle Races in the Pool
Fun for kids and adults, pool noodle races from one side of the pool to another look so easy but are a surprisingly good way to practice balance and strengthen arms for swimming. Plus, watching a bunch of people riding noodles like horses is very entertaining, as you can tell in this photo from the local Aquatic Center in the Village of Exeter, NE.
3. The Lost Bottle pool game for kids
Kind of like I-Spy in the pool, a clear plastic bottle becomes almost invisible when at the bottom of the pool. This is suggestion from Kidspot is a great game to play with older kids who are comfortable diving underwater. Play in the shallow end with less confident swimmers to help get them underwater for more than a second, or move to the deep end if they’re really great at holding their breath. Alternatively, you can use coins or even goggles — good practice for when one kid inevitably loses them at some point during the day.
4. Hold Pool Noodle Boat Races in the Pool
Got a leftover pool noodle lying around? We love this fun DIY idea from Our Family of Seven that uses just a few supplies to make an entire fleet of ships. (And hey,when you’ve got five kids, you especially don’t want to spend the time and money to stock up on on tons of expensive pool toys.) Bring your pool noodle sailboats into the pool and let the kids hold their own pool races. While it’s great for kids of any age, this one is such a smart way to get water-shy kids into the shallow end, even if it’s just sitting on the edge with their feet in the water.
About our sponsor
For an added layer of safety and reassurance while your kids are playing pool games, we’re all fans of iSwimband which can be perfect for both older swimmers challenging themselves with pool games, and for younger kids who are just getting used to being around water but don’t yet feel comfortable getting in.
With the iSwimband attached to a wristband, bathing cap, or pair of goggles, a loud alarm will sound on your connected device after the iSwimband sensor been submerged a set period of time. All it takes is Bluetooth technology (no WIFI needed) and you’re all set. Though of course, you want to watch your kids too.
You can even track up to 8 kids using the free companion iSwimband app, which is a smart idea for parties or family gatherings when there are a whole lot of kids playing fun pool games together, like these.
Find out more about how this dad-invented device is saving lives and providing peace of mind to thousands of parents at the iSwimband website and save $10 off the iSwimband system using promo code CoolMom10
5. Math Games in the Pool
No wait…don’t skip this just because it says math in it; these 5 smart pool games for kids via Toddler Approved are super fun! They were created to help kids get ready for kindergarten, but really, they’re perfect for any younger kids who can’t quite enjoy deep diving games. In this photo, all you need are some pool noodles for making a makeshift net for Math Basketball in which kids can toss foam numbers in order; but check the site for several other ideas we love too.
6. Pool Cannonball Contest for kids
Even kids who don’t like to get their faces wet may relent in order to participate in a cannonball contest off the side of the pool. Way less painful than a belly flop contest, your kids may even try to go tandem in an effort to make the biggest splash. We love this photo from Beauty Through Imperfection (also at top) which totally captures the spirit of summer fun in the pool. Just be a little extra vigilant in watching kids when they’re jumping off the sides of the pool and make sure they’re in deep enough Safety first, right?
7. Nighttime Glow-Stick pool game
Dive sticks are fun for kids during the day ,but have you ever tossed glow sticks into the pool at night? It definitely extends the fun after the sun goes down. We like Over the Big Moon’s suggestion to keep kids contained to a smaller hot tub (not too hot though!) to make it easier to keep track of kids in the dark. Or, just save this pool idea for kids for a night when you have plenty of adults on hand to count heads.
8. Floating Disc Game for the Pool
KanJam may be the hot outdoor lawn game of the summer, but we’re digging this floating version which brings the play into the pool. It’s a much easier and less splashier “sport” type game than pool basketball and volleyball, which can also get a little loud and crazy. And don’t worry; if you get the Slot Slam Flying Disc Game (we found it at a great price from or Amazon affiliate with free Prime shipping), the foam discs not only float, but they won’t sting if they miss their target and hit a sunbather. Which with our luck, will probably be us.
9. Find the Ping Pong pool game for kids
So of course HWTM would have a fabulous idea for swimming pool games for kids for summer parties. We love this particular one for a birthday pool party or a bigger gathering of kids which come from our friends at Anders Ruff. You’ll need to invest in a bunch of ping pong balls and mark a bunch with the lucky birthday girl or boy’s age. Dump them all in the pool and let the kids collect them (like a water-filled Easter egg hunt of sorts). The kids who find the ones with the numbers get a little prize. Just consider playing this one in a private backyard pool or special roped off area; We can see this getting a little unwieldy in a public pool.
10. Watermelon Polo Pool Game for Kids
Grease a watermelon, toss it in the pool, and add some kids for a hilariously difficult game of watermelon water polo, as suggested by She Knows. And hey, you’ve got a snack for the kids when they’re done. Ha! (photo via Jerry Pennington Photography)
Thank you so much to the fantastic iSwimband, for sponsoring this series, and for keeping so many children safe and giving so many parents a little more peace of mind. Visit their website or Facebook page for more info. It’s pretty cool.
EXTRA COOL: Cool Mom Picks readers can save $10 off the iSwimband system using promo code CoolMom10