Mark, guest contributor

When the temperature rises and the sun makes you feel like you’re about to melt, a dip in the pool is the best way to cool yourself and enjoy the holiday with the family. And if you think that the pool can’t be used for anything but swimming, think again, as both the pool and the garden can represent great playing fields for summer games in which fun is guaranteed.

Just make sure to secure your garden by removing anything you can step on – from small garden tools to rakes. Also, it is advisable to secure your pool with pool fencing (which is mandatory in Australia mind you) and to make sure no one can slip around the pool, all of which is done in order to avoid any unnecessary accidents, especially for children.

Next, we’ll show you 10 games that can be played in these two environments. These games are intended to help you and your child stay fit, all the while bonding and having fun:

1. Filling Buckets

For those who are fans of competitions, this game just can’t be ignored. You will need at least two players without counting yourself. Each child or team will be provided with one empty bucket of water and one plastic cup in advance. The challenge is to fill the empty bucket with water from the plastic cup. The first team that fills their bucket wins.

2. Limbo Under Running Water

The garden hose will be of great help in this situation: turn on the water and set the jet to its strongest setting. The little ones will have to go under running water without touching it. Slowly, lower the hose down. The winner will be the one who will be able to go on running without touching the hose, or rather without getting wet. The losing team will be easy to spot – they will all be wet!

3. The Wet Sponge Game

Wet a bigger sponge and offer it to your children as ball to play with. One child, designated by you, will have to throw the sponge at the others. The child or family member touched by the sponge will be next in line to take it and start targeting the others. This is a summer variant of “tag, your it” game.

4. Ducks vs. Hunters – The Garden Version

The wet sponge can also serve for a game of “ducks vs. hunters”. In this case, two children will be sitting on the opposite sides (they are the hunters) and throw the sponge at each other while trying to hit the children that are between them (they are the ducks). The first and last “ducks” touched by the sponge become hunters in the next game. This, as you may have recognized, is dogeball – but a safe, fun, and refreshing version of dogeball!

5. Ducks vs. Hunters – The Pool Version

Ducks vs. hunters can also be played in the pool using sponge or a ball. The rules are the same, only the environment changes.

6. Marco Polo

A version of “hide and seek” played in the water. One of the children will be Marco Polo. He will have to shut his eyes and count to 10 while the other players spread around the pool. After Marco Polo finishes counting, he has to touch another player with his eyes closed. He will yell “Marco” and the other participants must respond with “Polo”, so he can estimate where they are at the moment. When another child is reached, he or she becomes Marco.

7. Treasure Hunt

Spread the coins at the bottom of a swimming pool and give your children a back story for the epic treasure hunt. Until you count to 10, they must return to you with as many coins as possible. The one who gathered the most coins wins.

8. Baton (version 1)

For children who already know how to swim, teaching them baton will be easy as 1-2-3. The game is another version of the popular relay race, but played in the water. The two teams line up at the entrance to the pool, and when they are given the green light to start, one child from each team jumps into the water with a little ball in his hand (or the other relay set) and swims to the other side of the pool. The other two competitors start after the first are done. The team with the highest amount of victories is declared winner.

9. Baton (version 2)

Another way to play relay race is by placing the children at set distances along the pool. Each team will basically form a “column”. Whoever gets to start first has to swim along the pool with the ball in their hand until they reach a teammate and pass the ball over. In turn, the other kid has to do the same thing, and so on until the last member of the team reaches the pool’s end with the ball in hand. The team that gets the ball to the pool’s end first wins the game.

10. Water Basketball

Find or improvise a ring which will float on water. Make sure that its size is a little larger than the ball you choose for the game. Children will be divided into several teams and the team who manages to throw the ball in the ring most of the times win. The fun part here is that the ring moves over the water but the game may be though of as water basketball.

I hope you will have awesome family fun with the help of these tips for great summer games. I know I will!


Mark is a father of two great kids whom he wants to grow up in equally great people, so he teaches them important life lessons while he still has influence on their development.