The first half term of the year has arrived, but for parents there can be some worries about how to keep children entertained with a small budget. After all, entertaining kids all day for a week can become costly!
Whether you’re staying at home, going on a staycation or a holiday abroad, how about finding the opportunity to take your children to the swimming pool? This will probably be enough in itself to keep your children happy, but for those days where they need a little extra stimulation why not try a swimming pool game. Find your local pool here this half term, grab their pair of Sharkfin swimming goggles and play any of these popular pool games to keep your children entertained for hours in the water!
Games that need equipment:
All you need for this is a beach ball or other soft ball per player. All start from one end of the pool with the ball in front of them. The first to get the ball to the other side of the pool wins. Oh, and throwing the ball is obviously cheating.
Each player needs to grab a noodle, which are readily available at most local swimming pools. Using the noodle as a float by leaning onto it, race each other from one side of the pool to the other. This can also be done on holiday with a rubber ring.
This is an easy game that can keep those playing amused for hours. Stand in a large circle and use a blow-up ball. The aim of the game is to keep the ball in the air without it hitting the water. Whoever lets it touch the water is eliminated, and the winner of the game is the last person left.
Diving for Treasure
Throw dive sticks (or even better, pennies if allowed) into the pool where they will sink to the bottom. Players then need to dive to the bottom of the pool to retrieve them. This gives hours of entertainment and will build up their confidence in the water.
Select two players to sit on a pool mat. Give each player a pool noodle and have them joust with the noodles and try and get each other off the raft (mat). The winner takes on the next player.
Place a hula hoop or rubber ring in the water so that it floats on the surface. Get the children to jump through the hula hoop without any part of their body touching the hoop. The players who do touch the hoop are out.
Games that don’t need equipment:
This game is best played with older children and adults with a group of four. Two people must sit on the other two’s shoulders and fight to push each other off.
Have everyone get in the pool and stand in a circle with very little space between them. Get everyone to walk for a couple of minutes, then jog for another couple of minutes, then ‘run’ around in a circle. If done right the water will ‘carry’ them around the pool.
Finally, tell them to turn around and go the other way. It is almost impossible to go against the current!
Follow The Swimmer
This game is best suited for younger children. Start with one player as the leader and another as the watcher (the adult). All players start in the pool with the leader in front. The leader swims however they like (backstroke, underwater etc) and everyone has to copy. The watcher decides who isn’t mimicking and they are eliminated. The best copier wins!
One player is ‘it’. Whilst counting up to a chosen number the other players scatter around the pool. Once finished counting, the ‘it’ player has to keep their eyes closed at all times and find the other players to tag them by using only their voices. The ‘it’ player shouts MARCO and the other players respond with POLO. When the ‘it’ player tags someone, they become ‘it’ and the game starts over.
The ‘shark’ starts in the deep end whilst the ‘minnows’ are in the shallow end. The goal is to get to the wall of the deep end without being caught by the shark. If they are caught then they join the shark in tagging the other minnows.
Pool games can be an easy and effective way to entertain your children during half term and on the weekends. However, according to National Water Safety figures, in 2016 it was reported that 10 children aged between 0-14 died accidentally in water. This is why it is SO important that parents provide adequate supervision, and that children learn swimming skills as early possible. Even just being able to paddle two feet and grab onto the wall can potentially save their life.
If your children cannot swim or aren’t confident in the water, life jackets should always be worn (unless an adult is providing supervision at all times in shallow water).