10 Classic Swimming Pool Games


Human Whirlpool

With a pool crowd this big, you'll get an awesome whirlpool started. Photos.com/Thinkstock
With a pool crowd this big, you'll get an awesome whirlpool started. Photos.com/Thinkstock

This is an incredible pool game if you have a large crowd of people in a big pool. It's perfect for summer camps or other large aquatic gatherings. In nature, a whirlpool is formed by ocean currentsmoving in a rotating direction, usually caused by rising and falling tides [source: BBC]. Whirlpools are extremely rare in nature, but with enough people, you can create a powerful whirlpool of your own.

Choose a large shallow area of the pool and get as many people in the water as possible. If there is a mix of adults and children, make sure that all kids are strong swimmers and tall enough that the water level is at chest height when standing.

Now have everyone start walking in a large circle in the same direction. Start slow and get progressively faster. It will be hard at first, because the water will resist your motion. But after 30 seconds, the coordinated movement of so many people will create a strong circular current in the water. Once you've created enough momentum, tell everyone to pick up their feet and float. You've created a whirlpool! If the whirlpool starts to lose momentum, have everyone start to run again.

For lots more tips on classic summertime activities, check out the links below.

Author's Note: 10 Classic Swimming Pool Games

I spent most of my childhood summers in the pool. Ours was at the local YMCA, a large outdoor pool with a couple of diving boards, a snack shop (King Cones!) and acres of hot plastic lawn chairs. My sister and I could spend hours in that pool playing every possible game. Handstand contests were big, as was some weird game where we tried to talk to each other underwater. As we grew older, we dared each other onto the high diving board, where I once accidentally executed a perfect belly flop. Ouch. Now I take my kids to the pool and have the unique pleasure of teaching them Marco Polo for the first time, showing them perfect cannon ball position, and tossing the same dive ring into the shallow end for hours and hours. As an adult, there's one thing that I love even more than pool games: how fast the kids fall asleep after an afternoon in the water.

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  • BBC. "Wind, whirlpools and waves." March 2004 (July 18, 2013) http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/blueplanet/infobursts/whirlpools_waves_bg.shtml
  • Canadian Red Cross. "Holding Your Breath Underwater" (July 18, 2013) http://www.redcross.ca/what-we-do/swimming-and-water-safety/swimming-boating-and-water-safety-tips/holding-your-breath-under-water
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Healthy Swimming/Recreational Water" (July 25, 2013) http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/
  • Coffey, Wayne. "Olympics 2012: David Boudia joins Greg Louganis as USA men's divers to win gold." August 12, 2012 (July 18, 2013) http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/olympics-2012/olympics-2012-david-boudia-joins-greg-louganis-usa-men-divers-win-gold-article-1.1134642
  • Grenoble, Ryan. "Breath-holding World Record." Nov. 16, 2012 (July 18, 2013) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/16/breath-world-record-stig-severinsen_n_2144734.html
  • Margetts, Jayne. "Grieving family warns of dangers of kids holding breath." ABC. Feb. 28, 2013 (July 18, 2013) http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-27/family-warns-of-dangers-of-holding-breath-underwater/4543432
  • Martin, Michel. "Public Swimming Pools' Divisive Past." NPR. May 28, 2007 (July 25, 2013) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10495199
  • Retroland. "Marco Polo" (July 18, 2013) http://www.retroland.com/marco-polo/#.UeV3G2RASDE


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