Learn to Swim

A guide to the Learn to Swim Programme

Swimming Pool Games for the Family


For your family weekend trips to the pool, or for kids that practically live in the water all summer, it can be a challenge to think up new and exciting swimming pool games for them to play.

We’ve compiled our favourite swimming pool games for the family that will not only provide hours of fun, but will boost their water confidence and help them learn some new skills…or put their swimming skills from their lessons into practise.

We’d love to hear from you

Try our swimming pool games for the family this Summer and share your best photos on social media by tagging @Swim_England on Twitter. If you’re looking for more activities to help build your little swimmer’s water confidence this summer, we have four more here.

Name that tune

In pairs or a group, take it in turns to sing a few lines of a song underwater – see who can guess it first. Whoever wins, it’s their go next.

Easy and fun, plus it’s great for putting those aquatic breathing skills to the test.

Surfs up dude!

In groups of five to 10 hold hands facing each other and run around in a circle as fast as you can. When someone shouts “Surfs up dude!” the group has to turn around and run in the opposite direction against the current. Watch out for those who lift their feet for an easy ride!

This is not only great exercise, but encourages children to put their skills on travel and movement to the test.

Catchy Fishy

Players (ideally four or more) form a circle standing facing the middle. Choose a leader, then number the remaining players starting from one. The leader drops a slow sinker in the middle of the circle and calls out a players number. The appropriate player needs to retrieve the sinker before it hits the bottom of the pool. Change the leader and repeat until all players have had a go.

If you don’t have a sinker to hand, try filling a clear plastic bottle – the more water in the bottle the quicker it will sink!

What’s the time Mr Squid

The same as “what’s the time Mr Wolf”. In groups of three or more, swimmers take it in turns to be Mr Squid. Mr Squid stands at one edge of the pool with their back to the remaining players on the other edge of the pool. Players shout “what’s the time Mr Squid”. For example “It’s 6 o’clock”, players will either walk six paces or swim six strokes.

Humpty Dumpty

Players sit or stand at the pool edge singing:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men,
Couldn’t put Humpty together again!

After the second line (at the word ‘fall’) the players all jump in and continue the song in the water.

A fun game to encourage confidence for jumping entries.


In a group of three or more, players take it in turns to be the leader. The players swim or move about until the leader shouts out the shape they wish the players to make. Players take the position and hold it. The longest held wins.

Some ideas could include a star, a ballerina or any type of animal. Each statue will test the players balance and floatation skills.