Once your kiddos have started swimming and are comfortable in the water, let the games begin. These 4 classic water games are simple, require little to no props and can be adapted for kids of varying abilities. Read on for some aquatic action they’ll love as much as you did.

photo: Phalinn Ooi via flickr

Marco Polo
This game requires at least 2 people but is more fun with a small group of about 5. One person is “Marco” and said person must keep their eyes closed while saying “Marco!” and listening for the rest of the players to respond with “Polo!” The first person to be tagged becomes the new Marco. For younger kids, this is best to play in the shallower end of the pool until all players are confident swimmers. Or make it a “floatable” game and let all the kids be in their own little boats. Parents and kids can become teams as both Marco and Polo or choose an adult to be Marco.

Sharks & Minnows
This game is challenging for 3 or 4 people, and quite a bit livelier for a small group. One person is chosen to be the shark. When they shout, “Minnows!” all the other swimmers must get into the pool and swim to the opposite end without being tagged by the shark.
The first person the shark tags becomes the shark in the next round.

The bigger the group for this, the more fun but even a small crew can make a whirlpool happen at home. Keep this one to the shallow part of the pool where they can stand. Have everyone get start to walk in a circle in the same direction. Slowly, the water will start to pick up the current and create a mini whirlpool. Once a whirlpool is in effect, lift up your feet and float in the current. As soon as it slows, start to walk again. Repeat.

Diving for Treasure
This game requires kids to be able to dive underwater with their eyes open, so be sure all the players are strong swimmers who can hold their breath. You’ll probably want some goggles on hand for this one. Little ones who can’t do this safely can be the treasure scatter-er. Get a few shiny objects: a large coin, a white stone, a toy that you know will sink, etc. Toss the object into the pool, then let the seekers in to find the different treasures. Be sure and supervise closely any child holding their breath underwater, and always discourage diving, especially in the shallow end.

What classic games do you play with your little swimmers? Share with us in the comments below.

—Amber Guetebier

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