three kids playing in the pool with noodles

Everyone knows learning or practicing a skill is easier when you’re having fun. That is why the team at DSH has put together a list of 6 pool games you can play to improve your kid’s swimming skills. 

If you have access to an indoor pool this Winter or are planning to take a sunny vacation down south, these games will definitely make the time in the water more fun, and help your kids get further along their aquatic journey, by improving their confidence and helping them be more comfortable in the water

 

Treasure Dive

This game has endless variations and ways to be played, but the goal is always the same: retrieve the sunken object from the bottom of the pool. To play you can use any small, non-sharp sinking object such as coins, or rocks, or there are also several diving toys available in the market. The game can be played individually, or in teams. 

While the swimmers have their eyes closed, throw the toys to different parts of the pool and wait for them to sink. Ask them to open their eyes and give them the go, to retrieve them. You can either time them to see who’s the fastest to recover all the objects or play to see who can recover more objects from the bottom of the pool. 

One of the best things about Treasure Dive is that it is apt for all swim levels and can be progressed as the skills increase. For example, the object to retrieve can become smaller, or the depth where you throw the objects can increase. It is a great game for skill-building and it will help swimmers get comfortable with water on their faces. Since they need to dive, it is also a great game to practice breath control. 

 

Simon Says

A very popular “dry” game that can be modified to be played in the pool by different ages and swim levels. It is especially good for those kids that are in need of practicing specific skills. 

The rules are simple, all players must follow the instructions from the leader when they say “Simon says…”. Players lose if they do an action not preceded by the command “Simon says”, and must abandon the game until only one player is left. 

A game for the whole family, everyone can take turns beings Simon, and see who comes up with the most exciting challenges. Depending on the swim levels of the players you can make them as hard or as easy as you want. Some ideas include blowing bubbles, reaching the other end of the pool in a specific stroke, or doing handstands, flips, and turns. 

Breath control, endurance, kicking, stroke development, and water confidence are some skills you can practice with this game. 

 

Red Light, Green Light

A great game to boost endurance, breath control, listening skills, and instruction following, Red Light, Green Light is also adapted from the “dry” version. 

Depending on the skill of your swimmer, you can decide on the distance you want them to swim. Have the kids start on the edge of the pool, when you say “green light” they must start swimming to get to the other side, but stop every time you say “red light”. The winner is whoever gets to the other side first. 

The great thing about this game is that kids will practice their propulsion skills in a fast-paced activity and it can have as many variations as you want. For example, they can only use one type of stroke, or they all must use flutter boards.

 

Tag

This timeless game will make most children forget their fear of water and make them enjoy splashing around. Just like the “dry” version, one person is the tag, and the tag must chase the other players until they can touch someone and make them the tag. 

A great game to increase water confidence, and improve endurance and breath control. As with all the other games, the player’s skills will determine the game’s difficulty. You can determine a playing field and whoever gets out of the designated area is out of the game, enforce no-diving rules or use a toy as the tag, so there is no need to push each other. 

 

Sharks & Minnows

One of the best games for large groups, Sharks & Minnows is a pool party classic that, similar to Tag, will advance your swimmer’s skills without them really noticing. They will just be having lots of fun. 

There are lots of versions of this game, but the general idea remains the same: one person starts as the shark, and the rest are the minnows. The shark stands at one end of the pool, the minnows at the other, the shark calls out “Fishies, fishies, come out to play” and all the minnows must make their way to the opposite side of the pool without being caught by the shark. Whoever gets tagged, becomes a shark for the next round. The game ends when only one minnow remains. 

Endurance, agility and breath control are the skills most developed through this game. As with the other games on this list, you can make variations to fit your swimmer’s comfort level, such as playing on a shorter length of the pool or giving younger swimmers some advantages before the shark attacks. 

 

Relays

Another classic for large groups, Relays is a great game to not only work on swimming skills but also on team play. Each team should have at least three players. 

The level of the swimmers will determine the starting point of the players. For experienced swimmers you can have the whole team wait on one end of the pool, so each swimmer has to go back and forth. For a more moderate option, half of the team can stand on one side of the pool, the other half on the other end so they only swim the pool length once. Or you can even divide the team along the length of the pool. 

To make it more challenging, constantly change the swim styles. For example, have the first player do front crawl, the second one must go underwater, and the third one backstroke. You can also use a baton or a toy that the players must pass to each other. The team that completes the race first, wins.

At Davina’s Swim House we use variations of this and other games to help our swimmers get comfortable in the water and help them improve their swim skills. Want your kids to be safe swimmers and enjoy their time in the water? Sign up for swim lessons, we are open all year long and we offer classes for all ages and levels.