To paraphrase a familiar saying, “The family that plays together, stays together.” Families that play together in the backyard swimming pool can stay together all summer long, enjoying each other’s company and connecting in new and inventive ways.  As a bonus, pool time is a great way to get teens off their screens (you can’t bring those screens into the pool!).

When families play together, day-to-day stresses begin to slip away. In a pool, people naturally laugh and show a lighter side of their personalities. With kids and parents all swimming and splashing together, family memories are built upon outdoor activities while playing all sorts of pool games.

Here are some game ideas that the whole family can enjoy:

Whether it’s a game of HORSE or team play (kids vs. adults anyone?), basketball is a great family activity in the pool.  S.R.Smith offers two Swim N’ Dunk Residential Challenge Basketball hoops. One version is salt friendly, featuring a SealedSteel© coating that performs well in salt pool environments. Both models come standard with plastic anchors and escutcheons.

Olympic Preview
Run a set of races using a stopwatch to time laps and simulate a real Olympics-style event. Decide on freestyle, breast stroke, backstroke, butterfly, or invent your own swimming style. For safety reasons, start inside the pool and push off the side. Your race has begun!

Gathering Game
Start saving lightweight items that can float: Popsicle sticks, ping pong balls, things like that. Set a basket on one side of the pool. Scatter the items in the pool. The object of the game is to see how fast each person can gather the items (one at a time) and place them in the basket. The person with the fastest time wins.

With the Pool Cover Off Its Game On

Freeze tag in the water. When someone is tagged, they stand straight with their hands above their head, like a Popsicle. The added twist in this game is submarining. When a player is under water, they cannot be tagged,” but they can swim past a “popsicle” and unfreeze them.

Safety First
Remember, no matter what games you decide to play with your family and friends, safety is always paramount. Games involving balls or other objects should never be thrown at other people. Try to keep activities well into the center of the pool, away from the pool wall. As always, no running on the pool deck or diving board!