For these pool party games, you’ll need a… pool. If you don’t have one, you can try renting the community center’s pool or taking the party to a nearby lake (if you’re lucky enough to live near one.).

But don’t worry. If there’s no large body of water in your vicinity, you can opt to choose these excellent water games that don’t require a pool ;-).

Word of caution: Before the kids jump in, there are several things to take in account when preparing pool party games. Safety is the most important thing to consider. Always maintain a high adult-to-child ratio, while not forgetting that the younger the kids are, the more adult supervisors you need. Try to minimize diving and jumping into the pool; simply keep the games in the water. And have everyone drinking like camels and using sun block.

Crossing the River

String two ropes the length of the pool and divide the group of kids into two teams. You will need two “rafts” (anything that the kids can float on, preferably keeping somewhat dry, but not that stable…). Then split each team in two and put each sub-group facing each other on opposite sides of the pool (standing next to the rope).

The first kid in line from each team must climb onto the raft, pull the raft to the other side using the rope, climb off and let one of the team members on the other side do the same. Continue with the others. The first team to finish OR the team with the least wet team members win.

Pinata

Yes, you can even incorporate the classic Pinata into your pool party games. Make your own pinata full of little water gifts such as sunglasses, squirt guns, swimming goggles, etc. (Here are directions for making a pinata). Hang the pinata over the pool and have the kids hit it as they jump in.

Long Jump

Have all the kids line up behind the diving board. Be the judge yourself or assign someone to be the judge (the judge should be in the water so they can have a clear look of what is happening). The judge puts a small floatie (should be something fairly soft) about a foot away from the diving board, and each player has to jump over it. After everyone has had one turn, the judge moves the floatie out another foot. You’re out if you touch the floatie while trying to jump over it. The furthest jumper wins.

Dog Race

This race is for youngsters that can swim the dog paddle (just like a dog). Line all the kids up on the edge of the pool and whistle when everyone is ready. The kids jump in and begin to dog paddle to the other side, get out, and bark three times. First one to finish wins.

Jumping Jellyfish

For this pool party game, have all the kids stand at the edge of the deep end and choose someone to be “IT”. IT then tries to make the players laugh, and each time they laugh IT gets to push them into the water. The last person who doesn’t laugh can either be IT or choose someone else to be IT.

Treasure Dive

Divide the kids into two teams and have each team stand on a different side of the pool. Then go to the middle of the pool and toss in a bunch of treasures (it can be things that float and also things that sink). See which team can bring back the most.

Cannonball Splash

In this game, the kids compete to see who can make the biggest splash. Divide the kids into two groups – one for the cannonballs and the other group as a team of judges. The cannonball group line up behind a diving board and have to make the biggest splash to get the highest vote. The judges are the voters and give each person a vote out of ten. (An adult is needed to decide what the majority of the judges want to give each person). Tip: don’t forget to have your cameras ready!! This is an amazing opportunity to take a picture of each kid right when they are about to splash. You can send each kid their picture when sending out the thank-you cards.

Tug-O-War

Just put a rope across the pool and whichever team loses falls in like dominoes.