Safe and Exciting Games for the Pool!
Drowning can happen with a blink of an eye. It can be quick and silent. Being a lifeguard for many years, I have realized that children's games can be a major cause for injury at the pool. In most cases not drowning, but I have seen countless injuries that are results of pushing, running, and climbing on each other. There are many fun and safe games that can be played at the pool. I have seen many children make up games every year.
This Lifeguard's List of Risky Water Games
Water games can be a start of a disaster. A lot of water games will start with someone being dunked underwater or something being thrown at them. Games that involve risky behavior such as these can be the first step to a child's drowning:
Pickle. Games such as pickle, where people are jumping in all directions and jump almost right on top of each other. I have been hit in the face with a ball some children were using for pickle.
Water Balloons. Other dangerous games include, water balloon fights and chicken.
Chicken. Chicken is where there are at least four people and one person will sit on the shoulders of another, and the person on top will fight it out until someone falls off.
Safe Games for the Pool
Still, most kids don't enjoy a just a quiet dip in the pool to cool off. Here are a few games that are safe for any pool.
One game that seems to always be a favorite is Backwards Tag. It's a simple way to have fun. This game works best with at least 5 people. Everyone starts at one wall of the pool. It's best to have the other side of the pool no farther than 10-20 feet away. One person is it and stands outside the water with their back facing the pool. The objective of the game is to get to the other side of the pool with out the other person who is it knowing. So staying quiet when you push off the wall is key. Every time the person who is it turns around and no one has left the wall, they have to take a step away from the pool. Many will splash around to trick the person who is it into thinking they have left the wall.Once someone has left the wall the person who is it will jump in and tag them.
Another, is a game called Categories. It is similar to Backwards Tag. Someone will be facing away from the pool while a group of people will be in the water just below them. The person who is it will say a category. For example colors. The person who is it will then yell out some colors. Once your favorite color is called you will push off the wall and go to the other side of the pool. The person who is it will try to tag whoever has left teh wall. Once someone is tagged they are it. Other examples of categories are soda, cars, restaurants.
Coin Toss is another game that is a favorite. The game works best if you have at least two people playing, but its fun with a group as well. You toss one or multiple coins anywhere in the pool and the first one to find the coin wins. You could also throw multiple coins, and whoever finds the most wins.
Jump Dive Twist.
Jump Dive Twist is a game that is played off the diving board. It can be played with a larger group, but requires at least two people. One person will sit on the the edge of the pool while one person will be on the diving board. The person on the diving board will jump off and while they are in mid-air the person sitting on the side of the pool will yell out either jump, dive, or twist. The person in mid-air then has to try and do whatever was called out.
Another fun one is Star. This game should be played with a larger group but at least 3 people. Someone will be it and sit at the other end of the pool. They say movie initials. For example, H P A T S S. Which stands for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. If someone on the other side of the pool knows what it is they yell star and start swimming toward the person who is it. Once they get to them they touch their hand. Then they will say what movie they think it is. If they get it, it is their turn to call out the initials. This game can be movies or t.v. shows.
Another is Tips. It can be played with at least two people. This game is played with a ball in shallow water. One person will start off with the ball and pass it to someone else in the group. The objective of this game is to pass the ball with out fumbling it or letting it drop, while using the tips of your fingers. You want to pass the ball as quick as possible amongst the group. Whoever fumbles with the ball first is out and the last one standing is the winner.
Some others include the classic game of Marco Polo, Cannonball Competitions, Water Basketball, Sharks and Minnoes, Hand Stand Contest, and Monkey in the Middle.
Safety is a key importance while being at the pool, and with all of these games you are sure to have a safe and fun time at the pool.