Although you might use your backyard swimming pool as a way to keep in shape, splashing around in the water is an ideal way for kids to beat the summer heat. Be the coolest parent on the block by organizing specific pool-based games for your kids and their friends to enjoy. Always ensure every kid can swim and keep a watchful eye on the group as they have fun.
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Salt and Pepper
This game helps your child learn to swim quickly above and under the water. Divide the group into two teams, or play with two children. Call one group "salt" and the other "pepper." Line each group on opposite sides of the pool. On your call, one salt and one pepper swim across the pool. The salt person swims on top of the surface, while the pepper person swims under the water. The first child across earns a point for his team. The team with the most points after every child has taken a turn wins the game.
Grab two pool rafts and let your kids practice driving in the water. Use a variety of floating objects, such as corks, inflated balloons, small balls and plastic toys. Divide the children into teams of two. Scatter the floating objects on the surface of the pool. Have two children sit on one raft, one on the front and one on the back. The child in front closes her eyes while the child in back directs her toward the floating objects. The backseat driver cannot help move or steer the raft, but can pick up the objects as she and the driver float past. The team that collects the most objects within the allotted time wins that round.
Usually played on dry ground, splashdown is even more fun in the pool. Your child and a friend can play this game or divide a larger group into teams of two. Begin in the shallow end with the partners facing each other. Give each team a large, wet sponge. Ask the child holding the sponge to throw the sponge to his partner. If his partner catches the sponge, both children take one step back. Continue throwing the sponge and stepping back until one player misses. The team that doesn't drop its sponge wins. For older, stronger swimmers, play this game in the deep end for an challenging workout.
Divide the kids into small teams and have the teams line up on the pool's edge. The first players jump into the pool, swim underwater and do a trick, such as lying flat on the bottom of the pool, turning a somersault or performing a handstand. The second player jumps in after the first, repeats the first trick and adds one of her own. The subsequent players perform the first tricks and then add another. The game ends with the first player trying to replicate all the moves of her teammates. The team that remembers the sequence most accurately wins the game.