We’re mere days away from the dreaded “Ugh, it’s hot!” But given our newfound appreciation for fresh air, ignore the heat this year and enjoy the sun on your skin. If you’re one of the lucky ones with a private pool, up the fun by investing in the best swimming pool games and pool toys this summer.
Whether you’re looking for sports games and toys, a few fun options for your kids or even adults-only games, SPY has you covered. Items on this list are all about maximizing your time in the sun while staying cool and refreshed. Browse and stock up now with all of those family- and friend-filled pool parties in mind.
Our list of swimming pool games and toys is sure to put the spark back into your summer pool days.
1. GoSports Splash Hoop
BEST BASKETBALL HOOP
Basketball is one of America’s favorite pastimes, so of course, there’s a standard option for your summer pool days. This set from GoSports features one Splash Hoop Pro and two inflatable water basketballs. Available in blue or red, it has a modern, robust design that sets it a cut above other options on the market.
Read More: Our Favorite Pool Basketball Hoops
2. Poolmaster Smash ‘n’ Splash Water Paddle Ball Swimming Pool Game
BEST PADDLE BALL GAME
This simple pool game will bring paddle-ball-style play to your water festivities. It comes with two durable, non-corrosive paddles and two soft splasher balls covered in waterproof material. The rackets are wrapped in a stretch fabric to help create “springy” paddle action. This set is perfect for the beach, the pool or even when you just want to play a quick game while bored at home.
Poolmaster Smash 'n' Splash Water Paddle Ball Swimming Pool Game
$29.99 37% Off
3. GoSports Splash Net PRO Pool Volleyball Net
BEST VOLLEYBALL NET
Volleyball is another great pool game because you no longer need to risk injury for every ESPN-worthy dive. This net in particular is a solid pick thanks to the water-anchored stands and the 25-foot adjustable net. The model works with round, rectangular and lap pools so you can pretty much always get a game going, plus it comes with two water volleyballs (and a pump).
4. GoPong Pool Lounge Floating Beer Pong Table
BEST FOR ADULT BEVERAGES
Sure, you perfected your beer pong skills in college. But what about water beer pong? Whether you fill these cups with water, juice or an adult beverage of your choosing, the inflatable set helps bring the fun of this traditional dorm room game to the pool. It comes with tethers to keep the table in place while playing, but we especially love that it can also be used as a lounger or a regular old drink holder/server when the game is over.
Read More: The SPY Guide to the Best Drinking Games
5. Airhead LOB THE BLOB Cornhole Game
BEST FOR ALL AGES
Cornhole hits the water, and this option from Airhead suits kids and adults alike. Throw each of the color-coded bags into the holes on each board to successfully play the game. It can be used in or out of the pool for perfect summer day fun.
6. Pool Toys Diving Swim Rings
BEST UNDERWATER OBSTACLE COURSE
Kids (and kids at heart) love competing in obstacle courses, so why not take that fun underwater? You can with this 23-piece kit that comes with hoops, anchors and other weighted gems that you dive deep to retrieve. Sure, it might take a little while to set up but with a little imagination, this set can inspire hours of play.
7. Activ Life The Ultimate Skip Ball
BEST POOL BALL
Don’t let the small size of these skip balls fool you — they’re the ultimate ball for pools. Their bouncing/skipping power makes them super challenging to catch, especially if you get a rowdy game going. This set in particular also comes with a skipping disc, adding yet another option for your tournament with friends.
8. Hoop Shark Swimming Pool Basketball Hoop Set
BEST INFLATABLE HOOP
For those who are looking for an inflatable basketball hoop, Hoop Shark has you covered. This hoop is made from durable, thick plastic with reinforced seams to make sure the goal lasts for years to come. It also features large bore valves for quicker inflation and deflation. We also like how this inflatable hoop has numbers printed on it so you can keep score when you’re dunking over your friends’ heads.
9. Turn Me On Inflatable Pool Ring Toss Pool Game
BEST RING TOSS
Most people have played ring toss at some point in their lives, whether it was at a county fair or even on the phone. Now, there’s a pool version. This inflatable pool ring toss game is perfect for a two- to three-person game and comes with four rings. It’s also sturdy and has a super thick waterproof function to help keep the game inflated and safe.
10. Max Liquidator 6-Pack Water Blaster Set
BEST ADULT SQUIRT GUN
Probably one of the most known pool games on this list, this water blaster only requires you to pull back the handle to fill the canon and then push it forward to release watery mayhem. This pack comes with six blasters in various colors that catch the eye. They are also lightweight and can float in the pool, which helps during cleanup.
11. JOYIN Inflatable Pool Float Set
BEST SPORTS SET
This sporty set from Joyin is perfect for volleyball fans and basketball fans alike. It comes with an inflatable volleyball, basketball and a waterproof net. There are weight bags affixed to opposite ends of the volleyball net to ensure it stands tall and proud in the water, and the basketball hoop is perfect for both the shallow and deep ends.
12. Poolmaster Active Xtreme Cyclone Swimming Pool Waterproof Football
BEST WATER FOOTBALL
This waterproof football is 9-inches long and perfect for in-the-water play and outdoor play. The football comes in a blue or red color option and is sure to be a touchdown during summer play.
Poolmaster Active Xtreme Cyclone Swimming Pool Waterproof Football
$17.99 30% Off
13. COOP Hydro Waterproof Lacrosse Game Set
BEST LACROSSE ACTION
Whether you need to get some energy out or you just want to practice those diving catches, this three-piece, waterproof lacrosse set is guaranteed fun. Sporty kids can hone their skills while staying cool, or adults can switch things up when they’re tired of tossing around the old football. The short, foam handles are easy for anyone to grip and the entire thing is waterproof. Now if only it came with an extra ball or two for all of those missed catches.
14. Big Summer Inflatable Fire Boat Pool Float for Kids with Built-in Squirt Gun
If you’ve got a few little ones running around, this inflatable fireboat from Big Summer will help your kids extinguish the summer heat. It comes fully equipped with a squirt gun on the front of the boat. Simply put the tube from the water gun through the tubing of the boat and inflate it. (Just don’t overinflate it, as we wouldn’t want it to pop on your little firefighter!) Also, this option features high-quality PVC materials that are sure to withstand long, hot summer days.
Big Summer Inflatable Fire Boat Pool Float for Kids with Built-in Squirt Gun
$30.00 23% Off
Equipment-Free Pool Games to Enjoy Right Now
Waiting for your new favorite pool game or toy to arrive in the mail? We’ve rounded up some of our most beloved childhood swimming pool games that you and the family can start enjoying together right now.
1. Cannonball Contest
Number of people: 2+, plus judges
How to play: The name of the game is exactly what it sounds like: Contestants line up at the deep end of the pool and see who can make the biggest cannonball. Make this one extra competitive by announcing a prize beforehand — or, if you want to keep it 100% material-free, the loser has to skim the pool for a week.
2. Marco Polo
Number of people: 2+
How to play: The ultimate game from childhood still holds up. One person swims around with their eyes closed and calls out, “Marco!” The remaining players shout out “Polo!” each time in response. The goal is for the person who is “it” to tag another player, who will then become it. Don’t forget the “fish out of water” rule either. If the person who is it thinks they hear someone climb out of the pool, they yell “fish out of water.” If someone has indeed exited, they are now it.
3. Chicken Fight
Number of people: 4+, so long as it’s an even number
How to play: One person climbs onto their teammate’s shoulders and attempts to knock the top person off from an opposing team. This one can get a little physical so it’s typically best for older kids and adults. Also be sure to establish some ground rules (no scratching, hair-pulling, etc.) at the beginning.
4. Octopus Tag
Number of people: best for larger groups
How to play: One person begins as “it.” That person then swims around and tries to catch the other players. Each time they tag someone they link arms, until there’s one person left swimming. This is a game best played in the shallow end for younger kids or on noodles or other compact floaties.
Number of people: the more the merrier
How to play: Essentially you get all the participants to swim (or run underwater in the shallow end) in the same circular direction as fast as they can so the water begins swirling like a whirlpool. Then, once you’ve got a good flow going, the real fun is in trying to swim against the waves.
6. Cross Pool
Number of people: best for large groups of five or more
How to play: Cross Pool is one of the all-time best pool games, although it’s difficult to play in backyard pools. Typically, this game is played in a large pool with a deep end. Play with as many swimmers as you can recruit to play. To start, one person is designated “it”, and their job is to tag as many players as possible. The “it” player treads water in the middle of the pool (or starts on the opposite end) and everyone else lines up at one end of the pool outside of the water.
When the “it” player yells “Cross pool!”, everyone jumps in and tries to swim to the other side without getting tagged. You can also designate a “home free” spot at the bottom of the pool, such as a drain. Anyone who touches this spot automatically advances to the next round. Anyone who is tagged joins the “it player” in the middle of the pool in the next round and tries to tag other players. You keep playing until only one player is left.
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