Pool Games for Camp

Kids love swimming pools. Not only does the pool provide hours of entertainment for campers it is also a great way to cool down on a hot day and have fun in the outdoors. Pool noodles, floating toys, beach balls and squirt guns are fun...but these unique pool games will give your aquatics program an exciting twist!

Bobbing Heads

This game is a human/pool version of the classic carnival game Whack-a-Mole. One player is ‘it’ and stands one end of the pool or on the pool deck. The other players are behind an imaginary centre line on the other end of the pool. At the cue of the camp staff the players in the water begin bobbing their heads in and out of the water and the person who is it has to try to hit them with a beach ball or soft foam toy when they bob up.

The bobbing campers should come up and submerge in different places to keep the person throwing the ball or toy on their toes! If they throw and miss they are still it, must retrieve the ball, return to the throwing side and continue (staff can help throw the ball back to speed things up). If the camper who is it hits one of the bobbing campers, then the hit camper is now it!

Cardboard Boat Race

This game can be a part of a craft or mystery activity block. During the crafts block, divide the group into an even number of teams and have each team make a cardboard boat big enough to fit two campers. Each team with large cardboard boxes, packing tape, coloured paper, markers, stickers and other creative crafty (preferably waterproof) items. Encourage them to build a boat that is creative, colourful and seaworthy. In true nautical tradition, each team must name their boat.

During the pool block the teams of campers will be excited to set their boats on their maiden, and many times their hilariously last, voyage. Each team (one or two members at a time) must race their boat from one end of the pool to the other using their arms as oars. The team that does this the fastest wins or whose boat floats at all wins. As a staff member, judge if you think the boats will float at all. If it seems iffy, you can have the kids just sit in their boat and the one that stays afloat longest wins. Although the cardboard boats do have a short lifespan they can be built to float long enough to last the race. Part of the fun is when the boat starts to sink!


Divide your group into two teams and have them each line up on opposite ends of the team. Have them turn their backs to the centre of the pool.

Then take a clear 2 litre pop bottle, remove the label and fill it with pool water. Try to use a bottle that has a white cap or one that is the same colour as the pool tiles so it blends in more. With all of the campers backs turned, toss the bottle of water into the pool. Give them an ‘On your mark, get set, GO!”

The players will turn around and scramble around the pool to try to find the bottle of water. It sounds easy, but the bottle will actually blend in remarkably well, becoming nearly invisible (invisi-bottle) on the bottom of the pool. It’s a fun and challenging game for everyone.

Safety First

Remember to have enough staff to properly supervise your group of campers at the pool, and if your pool is within a certain size, to have a certified lifeguard as per Alberta Camping Association Standards. Encourage your campers to drink lots of water and make sure they’re all wearing sunscreen.


Categories: Activities, Camp Games, Camp Resources, Pool, Programs