Water Games and Pool Activities for Kids and Teens

Three boys (3-7) jumping in swimming pool.
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Water games and pool activities can be a fun for groups of teens at youth events, summer camps. and pool parties. Enjoy games you can with and without a pool.

Dry Land Water Games

Water Balloon Squat Relay: Be sure all of your teens are ready to get their pants wet in this water game. You will need to fill as many water balloons as you have teens. Break them into two equal teams. Set a finish line for each team. At the signal, a racer from each team goes to their team finish line and squats on the water balloon to pop it. Then either have that racer or a referee replace the water balloon. The racer returns to their team and tags the next person to race to the line and pop the water balloon. Repeat until one team has had each person burst a water balloon.

Fill a Cup Relay: This can be done with just two players racing or with teams. Each team needs a bucket of water, a sponge, and a cup placed at least 15 feet away. On the signal, they immerse the sponge in the bucket of water, race to the cup, squeeze out water, race back to the bucket, and repeat until the glass is full of water. Alternatively, you could use a spoon rather than a sponge.

Ice Cube Melt Relay: Have a bag of ice cubes and a cup for each team. Each team sits in a circle. On the signal, one player takes an ice cube from the bag and holds it to melt into the cup. Players can pass the ice cube and cup to the next player whenever they wish but must go in order. When one ice cube is melted, they can take another one and continue. A team wins when the cup is filled with water.

Jump Rope Water Splash: You need a long jump rope and each player has a safe plastic cup filled with water. Two non-competitors swing the jump rope. Each player takes a turn jumping for five to 10 jumps while holding the cup. The last player who still has water in the cup is the winner.

Duck Duck Splash: Played like duck duck goose, the players are all seated in a circle. The player who is IT has a water balloon or a cup a water and walks around the outside of the circle, tapping other players gently on the head and saying duck, duck, duck until they reach the person they want to tag. Then IT calls "Splash" and dumps the water over that player's head or breaks the water balloon on the target's head and then tries to race back to their empty spot before being tagged by the wettened player, who becomes IT if they don't catch the original IT.

Water Limbo: There are water toys that you can use for this game, but any garden hose with a nozzle will work. A non-competitor holds the hose and directs an arc of water that the other players have to pass under without breaking the stream. For each round, the arc of water is lower to the ground. The winner is the last person who hasn't broken the stream.

Pool Games

Cannonball Competition: This pool game requires a pool of sufficient depth, a judge, and the teens must all be able to dive and swim. Each teen takes a turn performing a classic cannonball dive into the pool. The player who makes the biggest splash wins.

Dolphin Relay Race: All of the players must be able to swim. You will need two beach balls. Divide into equal teams. At the signal, the first player for each team pushes the beach ball down the length of the pool using only their forehead or nose. They are not allowed to touch it with any other part for their bodies or they have to return to the start. They pass the ball to the second teammate waiting at the far end. This continues until all players on one team have completed the relay and there is a winner.

Coin Toss: Toss a jar of coins into the pool and see who can collect the most coins.

Poison Pool Toss: This can be done with two players. You will need a number of floating toys or objects. Divide the pool in half using a rope or net. Place equal numbers of objects on each side. At the signal, the players retrieve and toss the objects to the opposite side. Set a timer and the player with the least number of objects on their side at the end is the winner.

Watermelon Pool Relay: Take turns pushing a watermelon from one end of the pool to the other. For an additional challenge, don't allow them to touch the bottom of the pool with their feet.

Tips for Playing Water Games with Older Kids and Teens

Often at teen parties there will be teens who do not want to play games. Always offer the game up for anyone who wants to play, but encourage them to do so. A cool prize will often entice an older child or teen to play. Here are some tips specific for water games with teens:

  1. If you are playing pool games, be sure all of the teens that are playing can swim and they have not been using drugs or drinking alcohol.
  2. If a teenage girl wants to sit out and does not want to swim, do not push her for a reason.
  3. Do not play water games right after eating. Right before a meal is served or a picnic is ready is a good time to play a few games and cool everyone off.
  4. Ask that the young ladies wear a tank top or t-shirt if they are wearing a bathing suit top that looks like it may not make it through the game.