A refreshing dip in the water is sure to deliver relief from the scorching summer heat. However, if you haven’t yet had a chance to embark on your long-planned vacation to the beach, you’re not alone. In fact, most Americans don’t have the luxury of popping over to the ocean’s shore at a moment’s notice. In such instances, the swimming pool becomes the holy grail of summertime splendor and meaningful memories.

Don’t have a pool? Have no fear, water lovers of the world. There are more than 10.4 million residential pools and 309,000 public swimming pools in America [source: CDC]. It’s quite likely that there is a pool in the vicinity. So, grab your sunblock and a beach towel, because we’ve compiled 7 Family-Friendly Summer Pool Games that are sure to make a splash:

Marco Polo

“Marco Polo” was a famous Italian merchant traveller… who also shares the same name of one of the most popular pool games of all time. To play, one player must cover his or her eyes or wear a blindfold while the other players scatter around the pool. The blindfolded player must then swim around the pool, trying to find the others by their voices and splashes. At any given time, the command “Marco” is exclaimed by the individual wearing the blindfold. All other players must respond “polo” to indicate their whereabouts. The first player to be tagged loses the game, but is crowned “Marco” for the next round.

Sharks and Minnows

It’s an “oldie but goodie” as they say in the trade. This game involves one “shark” and all other participants are designated as “minnows.” The game begins when the shark, standing in the water with his or her face away from the others, shouts “Sharks and Minnows!” This command indicates to the participants that it’s time to make their way across the water. If a participant’s entire body is under water, than he or she cannot be tagged. The first to be tagged loses the game, but gets to be the “shark” the next round.


The game “Colors” is a fun take on “Sharks and Minnows” and can be enjoyed by the whole family. This particular game is one the little ones will especially appreciate as they learn the names of colors. One player is designated to play as the color commander while other participants choose a color of their choice. The color commander then shouts out colors as they come to mind. If a participant hears his or her color called, then he or she must begin the long swim to the other side of the pool without being tagged.

Musical Beach Ball

Much like the classic Musical Chairs, this game requires participants to stand in a circle, evenly spaced. Have an adult outside the pool control the music. While the music plays, the kids have to pass the ball among themselves as quickly as possible. Whoever is holding the ball when the music stops is out; if the music happens to stop while the ball is in the air, the last player to touch it is out. The game continues until only one player is left in the pool.

Diving Rings

This classic diving game combines competition and skill. While all participants are shielding their eyes, a designated representative tosses the dive rings into the pool and scatters them at random across its length. Upon command from the round’s leader, the other participants are then instructed to collect as many dive rings as possible. The winner, defined as the participant who collected the most, gets to toss the rings the next quarter.

Whether you have a pool in your backyard or plan to take advantage of a community pool in the near future, it’s important to use the buddy system and maintain safety awareness. Be sure a parent or guardian is monitoring all underage activity and that a designated lifeguard is available in case of emergency.

Before the bone chilling (hehe) temperatures of Winter, these games will surely provide hours of fun in the pool with the whole family. So, who wants to play?