Marco….Polo! Is there any parent who isn’t tired of hearing that name by around the middle of June? There are other great pool games that can be played as the sultry heat of summer begins to turn even the most pasty of people into lobsters. If you are like me, you probably banned Marco Polo from the swimming pool around the third or fourth time your kids played it, but what is left after the “discoverer” of Italian pasta has been banished? Well, here are some fun ideas for games kids can play around and inside the swimming pool that won’t drive you crazier than Karl Rove.
Ye Pirate’s Lost Booty. What kid doesn’t like to dive down to the bottom of the pool and come up with something that has sunk to the bottom (to paraphrase a Fountains of Wayne song)? Sure, you can toss those boring old diving sticks into the pool, but where’s the joy in that? Instead, grab a handful of coins and place some black tape in the form of an X over them. (Unless, of course, you are very artistic and can create a waterproof skull and crossbones in keeping with the vague pirate them.) Toss the coins high in the air like Sharon Stone does in Casino and allow them to fall to the bottom of the pool. The kids who come up with the X-ed coins are then rewarded. Reward is up to you.
Sea World. You don’t have to worry about having already bought those diving sticks. In fact, go out and buy some more. Buy about seven, in fact. Place two swimmers on opposite sides of the pool; these guys will be dolphins or whales depending on your preference and their size. The object of this swimming pool game is to bring back four diving sticks. A parent or legal guardian or teenager too hip for pool games tosses all seven sticks into the pool and yells “Go Shamu!” (or words to that effect) and then two dolphins or whales dive in together and attempt to be the first to collect the majority of diving sticks. The winner gets a million dollars. Or, you know, whatever you can afford.
SpongeBall SquarePants. If you have a badminton or volleyball net, this game is a lot more fun, but even if you don’t just tie a rope from one side of the pool to another. Get yourself a couple of big honking sponges and soak them wet. The object? As SpongeBob himself might sing, F.U.N. There is only one objective to this game and that is to keep the two sponges going back and forth across the net. The team that drops a sponge is the loser. But there is no real loser because of the fast and furious fun that is involved. The more people you can get involved, the better. This is ideally a game for eight or more people, but even two people could have fun with it if the pool isn’t too big and their throwing arms aren’t as bad as Bill Gates.