Best Backyard Pool Games

    Kids playing pool games

Best Backyard Pool Games

We all have our favourite pool games (read: the pool games we’re best at) but summer is long and hot in Australia so a little variety never goes astray. Here’s a little list of some of our favs.


Marco Polo

Surely one of the most well-known of the pool games, Marco Polo is essentially a game of “tag” where the person who is “it” (the Marco) has their eyes closed. The Marco starts in the water and shouts “Marco” to which everyone else must respond “Polo” while trying to stay out of reach. Once a player is caught they then become the Marco. If the Marco suspects that, at any time, any of the players are out of the water they can call “Fish out of water” and if they’re correct that person then comes it and takes the place as Marco.


Sharks and Minnows

Sharks and Minnows is like a water version of the well-known childhood game “Bull Rush”. As such it has a Shark who is “It” and a group of Minnows who is everyone else. The Shark starts in the water at one end of the pool and the Minnows are outside of the pool at the other end. The Shark calls something to signify the start of the game (often “One two three, fishies, fishies swim to me”) and all of the Minnows jump in the pool and attempt to swim to the other end of the pool and touch the wall without being caught. The Shark then needs to tag as many of the Minnows as possible before they can touch the wall. Any of the Minnows who are tagged then become the Shark (or Sharks) for the next game.



A variation of Freeze Tag played on dry land where when a person is tagged they stand still with their hands in the air and their legs wide so that another player can crawl underneath them and free them. The pool various is the introduction of the Submarine which is a player who is underwater (and cannot be tagged) who can then swim between a frozen players legs to un-freeze them.


What’s the Time Mr Wolf

Identical to the well-known backyard game, What’s the Time Mr Wolf in water is a popular pool time favourite. The Wolf starts at one end of the pool and the remaining players start at the other. The Wolf has his back to the other players as they chant “What’s the time Mr Wolf” the Wolf and the Wolf calls out an answer as the players creep forward with the end goal of making it to the other side. As the players advance the Wolf chooses his moment to respond “it’s dinner time” at which point he chases the players back to the start line with the goal of catching as many as possible.


Shark in the Water

Shark in the water is possibly the most straightforward of all pool games. One person is “it” (the Shark) and the goal is to catch someone else while they’re in the water. All players, except the Shark, are allowed out of the water for up to five seconds. Once someone gets tipped by the shark they become the shark and the game continues.


Don’t be fooled by its simplicity – Shark in the Water will keep the kids (and maybe adults) amused for hours.

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