Water games are a fun way to get full-body exercises for people of all ages. The low-impact nature of water activities makes them feasible for almost anyone. Always take proper precautions when playing games in water, such as keeping youngsters nearby and wearing life jackets if playing in deeper water.
Choose one person to be Marco Polo. That player closes her eyes and counts to 10 while the others scatter in the pool. After the count, Marco swims around with her eyes still closed trying to tag another player, while calling out "Marco," to which the other players must answer "Polo." A tagged player becomes the new Marco.
Have one player stand at the end of the pool and the others at the other end. Those at the other end call out, "What time is it Mr. Sharkey?" to which the lone player says a time, such as four o'clock. Whatever number he calls is the number of strokes the other players swim toward him. In this case, that would be four strokes. This continues until the lone player responds: "It's lunch time!" Everyone must then turn and swim back before the player can tag one of them.
Form teams, have them stand in line at one end of the pool and give each team a paper cup. Set an empty bucket at the other end for each team. On your mark, the first player from each team fills her cup and hurries down to the other end to dump it in the bucket, then returns and hands the cup to the next player, who does the same. The first team to fill its bucket wins.
Divide the pool in half with a rope or net and divide players evenly on opposite sides. Toss an equal number of pool toys like noodles, vinyl balls and soft-sided balls into the water on each side. On your mark, both teams try to toss all of their toys to the other side while keeping their side free of toys, tossing back the ones that are thrown by the other team. Set a time limit, after which you count the toys to determine the winner.
Toss coins into the water and have players dive in and collect as many as they can at one try. This also is good for toddlers in a kiddie pool, who can just bend down to grab as much treasure as they can within a time limit.
Play limbo by turning on a hose full power and having players limbo beneath it. Keep lowering the height as players either pass by dryly or get wet. The winner is the last one to make it under the water without getting wet.
Put ample amounts of sunblock or other greasy substance on each player's hands and have everyone stand in a circle in the pool, tossing a beach ball around. Players who drop the ball are out. The winner is the last one still able to catch it. Reapply the sunblock as the game progresses.
Toss a vinyl inner tube or pool float into the pool as a basket and have players shoot basket into it with a beach ball. You can play H-O-R-S-E or divide into teams to have competitions.
Start a sprinkler and form two teams on opposite sides. Give them a rope and have them play tug-of-war into the sprinkler water.
Give each player a paper cup full of water. While two players twirl a jump rope, players hold their cups and make three consecutive jumps. The player with the most water at the end is the winner.
Name one player the shark; the others are mermaids. The shark starts on the side of the pool close to the middle or on a ladder while the mermaids start at one end of the pool. When the shark says go, the mermaids must try to make it across the pool and back. The shark jumps in and tries to tag mermaids, who must freeze once tagged. If an untagged mermaid tags a tagged mermaid, the tagged mermaid is free again. The mermaids win if they all make it across the pool and back. The shark wins if everyone is tagged.
Give each player a beach ball to hug and stand in the center of the water. On your mark, they must move around like bumper cars, trying to knock the balls loose from the others. Any player who touches a wall, loses his balance or uses his arms is out.
Play underwater football with players who can hold their breath. Start at the center of the pool with two teams lined up in position. Plays can start only when all players are underwater. Any player that comes up during a play is out of the play. Teams get four tries to move the ball to the other side of the pool for a touchdown. When a player is tagged carrying the ball, the play is stopped. If the team is unsuccessful after four tries, the other team gets the ball at the last position of the other team. The team that has the most points at the end of the game wins.
Have players stand in the pool, then toss in some ice cubes, which they must pick up with their feet only. Set a time limit and see who has the most cubes at the end.
Put two watermelons in the pool and divide players into two teams, each behind a floating melon. Taking turns, each player must push the melon to the other side and back without touching the pool bottom with her feet. The first team done wins.