Looking for ways to keep your teens entertained this summer?
Browse my list of the 46 most popular swimming pool games that they’ll never forget and will help you throw an epic pool party too.
Find fun and easy games for tweens and teens with instructions as well as necessary items to play included.
Racing Swimming Pool Games
Rubber Duck Race
Have players line up at one end of the pool.
Every player gets a rubber duck that they need to get to the other side of the pool.
The catch is that they cannot use their hands to push the duck along the water.
They can use their forehead or nose to bump it along, or they can blow it ahead of them.
The first person to get their duck to the other side of the pool wins.
It’s actually quite a hilarious game as the ducks tend to go every way but forward.
Everyone loves a fun pool floaty so how about using them to race to the other end of the pool.
This party game is best if you have a longer pool.
Every player gets to choose a floating device. Instruct them to sit on it and line up on one side of the pool.
A referee shouts “Go” and players race to the other end of the pool.
A player who falls off of his or her floaty is disqualified. The first player to reach the end wins!
A watermelon race can be played in several different ways.
The aim of the game is to push the watermelon from one end of the pool to the other.
If you have enough teens to make up teams, then it can be a relay race.
Another fun alternative is to grease up the watermelon, making it really slippery and even harder to maneuver.
To make this game more fun you can add some custom rules e.g. that players can only push the watermelon with their head and not use their hands.
I found this watermelon ball from Amazon that is perfect for passing, dribbling, and tossing in the pool. This innovative pool toy can be filled with water and is designed to look and behave just like a watermelon in water. Once your watermelon ball has been filled and pumped, it’s ideal for all kinds of water games.
Pool Rope Pull
Divide everyone into teams of two. You will need a rope for each team.
One player on each team will have to pull their team member from one end of the pool to the other.
Each team member stands on opposite ends of the pool facing each other and holding onto each end of their rope.
On “Go”, the person pulling on each team has to pull their team member across the pool towards them.
The first person to be pulled to the other side is the winning team.
Beach Ball Squirt Race
Players are not allowed to use their hands or body to move the ball.
The first player to get their beach ball to the other side of the pool wins.
Expect some extra water gunfights along the way.
Crossing The River
You will need to string two ropes from one end of the pool and tie it securely to the other end.
You will also need two floating devices to be used as rafts.
Each group puts equal amounts of kids on either side of the pool facing each other.
The first child in line from each team must get on the raft and pull themselves on the raft to the other side of the pool using the rope.
When they get to the other side, they can climb off and let their next team member from the other side do the same again.
The first team to get all the team members to the opposite side of the pool wins.
Tagging Swimming Pool Games
In freeze tag, one player is chosen to be ‘IT’. This person has to try and tag the other players in the pool.
If you’re tagged you must freeze (with your hands up) until another player thaws you by swimming between your legs.
You cannot be tagged if you’re swimming underwater.
It’s best to have several rounds so that everyone gets a turn to be ‘IT’.
I’m sure everyone has heard of Marco Polo. We couldn’t omit this classic swimming pool game from our list.
All you need is two or more players. One person is ‘IT’ and has to find the other players whilst swimming with their eyes closed.
When he or she says ‘Marco’ the other players have to shout back ‘Polo’ so that they can hear where they are.
If someone is tagged they become ‘IT’ and need to find the other players without looking.
An additional rule is that you’re not allowed to get out of the pool. Or if you’re caught out of the pool when the seeker says ‘Marco’ then you have to be ‘IT’.
Octopus is a variation of the game tag.
Select the player who will be ‘IT’ and place him/her in the middle of the pool.
The rest of the participants should line up on one side of the pool and try to swim across while the person who’s ‘IT’ tries to tag them.
Once a player is tagged, they must hold hands and team up with the person who is ‘IT’.
As more people are tagged, the ‘IT’ team grows like an octopus, making it harder for other players to get to the other side of the pool.
Keep going until all players have been tagged – then choose another player to be ‘IT’ and start again.
Dolphin or Submarine
Pick one player to be ‘IT’.
The other players must try to get to the other side of the pool without being tagged.
The ‘IT’ player calls out either “dolphin,” “froggy,” or “submarine”.
If s/he calls “dolphin”, all players must swim on top of the water.
If s/he calls “froggy”, all players must swim on top of the water.
And with “submarine” they must swim at the bottom of the pool.
‘IT’ has to close his or her eyes and try to tag the others.
The players yell “Survived!” once they reach the other side.
When a player is tagged, they become ‘IT’.
Sharks and Pirates
One player is the shark in the middle of the pool, and all other players are pirates standing on the edge of the pool.
When the shark yells “Man overboard!”, all the pirates must jump in and swim to safety to the other end of the pool.
If the shark tags a pirate, then s/he becomes the shark and the game starts again.
The pirate that survives the longest and doesn’t get caught is the ultimate winner.
Finding / Collecting Games
You will need about 30 ping pong balls, 2 buckets, and a waterproof permanent marker to play this fun swimming pool game.
Number each ball from 1 to 30 with the permanent marker.
Throw all the ping pong balls in the pool and give each team a bucket to collect them in.
When everything is ready, the teams can jump in the pool and collect as many balls as possible and place them in their team’s bucket.
However, each player can only retrieve one ball at a time.
Once all the balls have been retrieved, each team needs to add up the numbers on their balls.
The team with the highest score is the winner.
A fun alternative to this game is to use color markers and place a small colored dot on each ball in the teams’ color.
Teams can only retrieve balls in their color, which makes this version of the game frustrating and more fun!
Blow up several balloons in different colors and float them in the pool.
Assign a different color to each player.
On ‘GO’ players jump in the pool and try to collect as many balloons in their color as quickly as possible and bring them back to the end of the pool.
This is a really fun swimming pool game as it’s quite hard to hold onto your balloons and swim at the same time.
An alternative to this game is to use water balloons as they won’t sink to the bottom of the pool, but are very wobbly and difficult to hold.
Be aware that kids will start throwing the water balloons/bombs at each other as soon as the game is over, so be sure to step aside to avoid getting wet.
Read 51 Fun Water Balloon Games for more summer fun ideas.
Floating Apples Pool Game
Ask all the kids to stand around the pool while you throw apples in the pool.
You can have an apple for each player or less, then they will have to fight over who gets the apple.
Players need to retrieve an apple and bring it to the edge of the pool, using only their mouth. NO hands allowed.
It’s pretty tricky to sink your teeth into a bobbing apple, making this game hilarious and fun to watch as well.
Matching Items Pool Game
The aim of the game is to find items that match each other.
For example, they might have to find a knife and fork or a bat and ball, or a bucket and spade, key and lock, or matching socks.
You can throw in as many matching items that you can think of, or find.
The teen who finds a matching item first, or who finds the most matching items wins.
Raft Float Ball Pit
Group the children into teams of two. One team member will be lying on a raft holding a bucket or basket, and the other team member stands behind them.
Place the rafts on the edges of the pool facing towards the center of the pool.
Throw several ping pong balls or water balloons in the middle of the pool.
On “Go” the player holding the raft must push their teammate as hard as necessary to reach the center of the pool so that they can collect as many balls as possible.
Kids must stay on their rafts. If they fall off their raft they can only collect balls again once they’ve climbed back on.
When all the balls have been collected, the team with the most balls wins.
Underwater Swimming Pool Games
Invisible Bottle Hunt
Take a clear plastic water bottle, fill it completely with pool water, and screw the cap on.
While everyone is facing away from the pool, throw the bottle in and wait for it to sink to the bottom.
The first teen to find and retrieve the invisible bottle from the pool is the winner.
You can use real coins for older teens, fake coins for younger kids if you prefer.
Have everyone stand facing away from the pool while you throw in several coins.
As soon as you’ve thrown them all in, they can jump in (no diving, or they could hurt each other), and find the coins.
Whatever coins they collect they can keep, so everyone’s a winner to some degree.
A fun alternative to this game is to use the exact amount of fake coins as participants.
On one of the coins, you write the word ‘WINNER’ using a waterproof permanent marker.
The person who finds this coin wins a prize.
Instead of using only coins, you can throw in many different items as well.
You can throw in just about anything like pool toys, diving sticks, fruit, or spoons.
Just be sure to count the number of items you throw in the pool to ensure you get them all out.
An alternative version of this involves participants trying to get as many items out of the pool in one breath.
Swimming Through Hoops
Tie a weighted toy to the hula hoop with a string short enough to make the hoop is underwater.
You can add several hoops at different heights underwater to make a fun obstacle course.
Tweens can swim around the obstacle course on their own for fun – I’m picturing pretty mermaids – or you can time them to see who can get through the obstacle the fastest.
Alternatively, you can also see how can get the furthest through the obstacle course with one breath.
There are many games that involve holding one’s breath. But the safest and most fun variation is ‘Submarine’.
Essentially, it turns breath-holding into a race instead of just a timed contest.
Compete to see who can swim the furthest on a single breath.
Diving Ring Toss
Have a parent throw diving rings into the pool.
Have everyone try to bring back as many as they can in one breath.
Whoever has the most rings wins.
Glow In The Dark Pick Up Pool Sticks
This is a favorite game to play with tweens or teens.
Best to play at dusk or in the dark.
Snap all the glow sticks and throw them in the pool and let the kids swim to retrieve them.
Throwing Swimming Pool Games
Frisbee Golf With Sponges
Play this game by floating 5 frisbees upside down in the pool.
Write either 5, 10, or 15 on each frisbee in a permanent marker to indicate points.
To earn the most points, take turns throwing the sponges or water splash balls trying to land it on your chosen frisbee.
Beach Ball Questions
Throw the ball around the pool and the person who catches it must answer the question they see in front of them.
The game is great for getting older children involved and for learning cool facts about each other.
Pool Volleyball Game
Pool volleyball is as much fun as beach volleyball and great exercise too.
Divide the pool in half with a volleyball net.
Each team has to hit the ball over the net and not let it drop on their side.
If the ball falls in the water, the other team scores a point.
There will be lots of laughter and fun dives as players try to reach the ball and lob it back to the other side of the net.
The team that gets 11 points first wins.
Swimming Pool Basketball
This fun game can be played by 2 players or more and is sure to keep your kids entertained.
You can find some great inflatable swimming pool basketball hoop sets that your kids will love.
They must try to throw the ball in the floating basketball hoop from the edge of the pool.
The person who scores the most points wins.
Swimming Pool Ring Toss
If your kids enjoy playing ring toss, then they’ll love playing this classic game in the pool as well.
Each player has a turn to toss all of the rings and the player with the most points wins.
Water Cornhole Toss
Cornhole toss is another classic game that everyone loves to play.
The Itza Floaty Pong has 12 interlocking target rings, allowing you to create different shapes and designs to make the game more challenging.
Each player gets 6 foam balls to throw in the rings.
The player with the highest score wins.
Swimming Pool Battle Games
Pool Float Watergun Fight
Teens love any excuse to be allowed to shoot others with water, so why not make it one of the pool party activities.
We’ve found that tube floats actually work best for this game as they can spin and duck inside the tubes easily.
For younger tweens there are special floats that have a tube connecting from the water in the pool, allowing for continuous spray from the water guns.
This is one of the most fun our teenage son has had at a pool party.
You will need one pool float and joust per player.
Our friends had bought ones similar to this one from Amazon.
Players then try to push or knock the other player off their float.
If a player falls off, they hand their float to another player to continue trying to get the previous winner off their float.
The last person remaining on their float wins.
Dollar Tree version: Use pool noodles for riders to balance on, and another set of pool noodles for jousting.
This is an old-time favorite, especially with teens.
Players divide into groups of two.
One kid must sit on top of the shoulders of his/her teammate.
The aim of the game is to try and get the person on the other team member’s shoulders to fall off.
There will be a lot of pushing and shoving, but no kicking allowed.
It’s best to stay in the middle of the pool and to have the tallest person be on the bottom of the team.
This game is sometimes called ‘Chicken Fight’. Check out these super cool chicken fight floating chickens to help you play this game if you don’t want to climb on someone’s shoulders.
Swimming Pool Party Games
Related Article: Fun Party Games For Teenagers
A great way to start any party is with a Pinata. Why not incorporate this with some cool pool party water gifts like squirt guns, rings to toss, water balloons, and don’t forget to add some sweets of course.
Hang the pinata over the pool and have the teens hit it with a pool noodle or pool jousting stick as they jump in.
Watch this video to find out how to make a pinata:
This is an awesome pool party activity, especially with pools that aren’t too deep.
All players get in the pool and line up in a single file around along the edge of the pool.
The more teens participating the better.
Everyone then starts to walk as fast as they can around the pool.
This will slowly create a whirlpool and the strong current will eventually pull you all around the pool.
A fun addition to this is to ask everyone to stop and walk in the opposite direction once the whirlpool is really strong. It will be almost impossible to do and have everyone in stitches of laughter.
Frozen T-Shirt Contest
You will need to prepare the T-shirts a few days before the party. Soak two T-shirts and then put them in the freezer.
The aim of the game is to thaw the frozen T-shirt and put it on.
Divide all party guests into two teams and give each team a frozen T-shirt.
The shirts can be thawed with any means: a garden hose, a swimming pool, a hot pavement – you name it.
The team that manages to put on the thawed T-shirt is the winner.
Watch this hysterical video of teens trying to thaw their T-shirts:
Have all the kids stand at the edge of the deep end to play this pool party game.
One child is ‘IT’ and has to try to make the other players laugh.
If someone laughs, the ‘IT’ gets to push them into the pool.
The last person to laugh gets to be ‘IT’.
All teens love to make cannonballs and see how big of a splash they can make.
Have them stand along the edge of the pool spaced at least a foot apart. If you have a large group you might have to split them into groups.
On “Go” everyone jumps in at the same time.
An adult can decide who made the biggest splash, or you could take a video or photo for a fair comparison.
This is like musical chairs in the pool. You will need some large inflatable pool toys.
When the music playing everyone must swim to the music.
When the music stops everyone must try to get onto an inflatable pool toy. You are allowed to have more than one person on a floaty, but they must stay on as long as the music is off.
As soon as the music starts they must get back in the water and one floaty is removed.
Everyone that didn’t manage to get on or stay on a floaty is out and must get out of the pool.
Continue the game until there is only one inflatable pool toy and two players left. The last one that can stay on the floaty for at least 30 seconds wins.
What Are They Saying Pool Game
Everyone goes underwater and one person has to repeat a word several times underwater.
When they come up they all have to guess what was said.
Handstand Pool Contest
Depending on how many teens are at the party you might need to split them into groups.
Unless you have a really large pool it’s probably best not to have more than 4 kids do handstands at the same time in the shallow end.
Everyone must try to do their best handstand in the pool.
Parents will judge who did the best handstand in each group and the winners of each group will go up against each other.
Judges can rate them from 1 to 10 on how straight their legs are and how long they can keep their handstand in the pool.
Shaving Cream Shoot-Off
Divide the kids into two groups.
One child in each group gets to put shaving cream all over their face.
His/her teammates must try to ‘shoot’ off the shaving cream using water pistols.
The team that can clean the cream off their team member’s face first wins.
It’s probably best to keep the game as easy as possible as teens will need to hold their breath while someone acts out the charade underwater.
Kids look pretty funny acting out their clues underwater.
Before everyone gets in the water, they might want to play some poolside games first. Even though it’s a pool party, it doesn’t mean that everyone will want to get in the pool immediately.
Here are some great options to get the party started.
Pass The Water
Split the group into two teams.
Line everyone up in two lines and give the person in front of each line a large cup of water.
They must pass the cup over their heads to the person behind them, trying not to spill anything.
It’s a fun game where everyone gets a little bit wet.
The team with the most water in the cup at the end of the line are the winners.
Pool Tug Of War
Pool tug of war is a fun way to get them into the pool.
This classic game is played with a team on each side of the pool.
On ‘go’ each team tugs on the rope as hard as they can trying not to be pulled into the pool.
Remind the players to let go of the rope as soon as someone from their team falls in or everyone will be pulled into the pool together.
Fill The Bucket
Divide players into two teams and make them stand in a line.
You will need two buckets per team and a sponge each.
The bucket at the end of the line should be filled with water, and the bucket at the front is empty.
On ‘go’ the person at the end of the line has to wet the sponge and the team has to pass it overhead up the line, where the remaining water is squeezed into the bucket.
The sponge is then passed back and the process is repeated.
The team with the most water in their front bucket after a few minutes are the winners.
Water Balloon Toss
Everyone is to get into teams of two and stand about three feet apart facing each other.
The aim of the game is to throw a water balloon at your partner and not drop it.
After each throw, each team member takes one step backward and throws it to their team member again.
The last team standing the furthest apart that hasn’t popped their balloon is the winner.
Please adhere to safety guidelines at all times and adjust the games to fit the swimming strength of the children at the party.
You should always have adult supervision at any pool party to ensure safe play at all times.
Rather split children into smaller groups to minimize the risk of injury, especially if they are jumping or climbing on top of each other.
There are many different types of pool party games. Some require toys, others do not.
There are some that are perfect for tweens, and some that are more suitable for older teenagers. Although you never really grow out of diving, splashing, racing, and tagging each other at a pool party.
Please share any pool games you know that we haven’t listed in the comments so everyone can enjoy them!