The Best Summer Pool Games

You just settled in your poolside lounge chair with the latest bestseller. But before you can take the first sip of your iced tea, the kids surround you, telling you they’re bored. Don’t lose your patience. We’re going to share some of the best summer pool games that will keep those kids occupied and let you get back to your book. Actually, you may find that they’re having so much fun that you put your book aside to jump in and join them.

Ping Pong Madness

All you need for this game is a bag of ping pong balls. Toss them into the pool and set a timer for two minutes. The object is to see who can collect the most balls within the time limit.

Noodle Joust

This can be played with just two people.  Each player sits on a pool float anThis can be played with just two players. Each player sits on a pool float and holds a pool noodle. The idea is for the players to “joust” with each other until one is unseated from their pool float.

Animal Noises

This pool game is especially fun for the little ones in the family. Designate an adult to be the “caller.” Then, have the players line up alongside the edge of the pool, about four feet back from the edge. One at a time each player steps towards the edge of the pool to jump in. Just as they are about to jump, the caller yells out the name of an animal and the jumper needs to make that animal’s sound mid-air as they jump.


Remove the label from a clear plastic water bottle, fill it with pool water, and close the cap tightly. Drop the bottle into the pool and have the players dive in to retrieve it. The bottle will have pretty much disappeared and finding it will be surprisingly challenging.

Hula Hoop Target Toss

Here’s another use for those ping pong balls. Float one or more hula hoops on the surface of the water. Let players take turns tossing the ping pong balls into the hula hoop. The winner is the one who gets the most balls into the target.

Pool Noodle Horsey Race

Each player sits astride a pool noodle. The object is to see who can reach the other side of the pool first. It sounds simple, but trust us, this is harder than you would imagine.

Rubber Ducky Push

Each player will need a rubber ducky bath toy. Every racer has to cross the pool pushing their ducky ahead of them. There’s just one catch: no hands allowed! They can push it with their head or nose, blow air on it, splash water at it — anything goes as long as they don’t touch their duck with their hands. The winner is the one who gets their ducky across the pool first.

Pool Float Race

Players line up along one side of the pool with a pool float, pool noodle, inner tube … whatever type of floating device they want. On the signal to “go” they jump in and race each other across the pool.

Back Float Race

Players float across the pool on their backs, balancing a small toy or sponge on their foreheads. The object is to be the first one across the pool without losing the toy.

Pool Obstacle Course

Set up obstacles in the pool, such as a hula hoop to swim through, a pool noodle to swim under, a pool float to climb over, and rings to dive through. The fastest person through the obstacle course wins.

T-Shirt Relay

This game is most fun if you have three or more people on a team. Form two teams. The first player on each team dons a large t-shirt over their swimsuit and at the “go” signal, swims the length of the pool where a team member is waiting. Player 1 strips off the tee and the next player puts it on as quickly as possible before swimming back across the pool to pass it off to the next team member. Prepare for shrieks of laughter as all the players try to wrestle the soggy t-shirt on and off! The team that finishes first wins.

Whether you’re keeping your only child entertained, or you’ve got a pool full of swimmers, we hope these pool games inject some excitement into your day. We can almost guarantee that no one will be telling you they’re “bored” again this summer!

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