Summer Games for Children: Fun Ways to Keep Kids Occupied in the Pool or Outside

Summer games for children consist of more than just throwing water balloons and shooting water guns. Some of them actually take a little strategy, which is great for older kids who feel they’re just a bit too old to be playing the same games they played when they were five years old.

Here are some games that involve water or can be played outside when it’s hot and the kids don’t feel like skateboarding or riding bikes. Feel free to join in, too, as they’re ideal for any age.

Pool Games

Outdoor activities for children that are pool-oriented have a tendency to bore them if carried on for too long. That’s why any pool game that involves everyone doing something all at once and for short periods of time are often a welcome reprieve from games that involve tossing a ball back and forth aimlessly.

  • Whirlpool: For this game, you can include as many people as will comfortably fit around the edge of the pool. It also works best if the pool is circular, rather than rectangular. Have everyone line up around the edge, and then run around the edge in a circle in the same direction. Get a strong whirlpool built up, and then tell the group to switch directions immediately. They will struggle against the current – hilariously – until they finally get the current going in the opposite direction.
  • Underwater Fetch: There are many types of sinkable objects you can have kids fetch while underwater. Water torpedoes, pool balls, diving sticks and so forth can all be used for underwater collections. Make it a game by having kids compete for the sticks under a time limit. You might even award prizes for the child who collects the most objects within the shortest amount of time.

Outdoor Games

Summer FUN

Summer suggestions for children also include games for a summer picnic, reunion or party. Not surprisingly, people of all ages will probably want to join in, so these games will help give you ideas for older kids, more than younger kids who get bored quickly with games.

  • Water Jump Rope: In this game, one person, the jumper, holds a cup full of water. One person stands on each side of him or her with one end of the jump rope in their hands. As the two people swing the rope, the jumper needs to hold the cup of water as level as possible to prevent sloshing it out of the cup. As players take turns, make sure they save their cup of water at the end. The person who sloshes the least water after the same amount of jumps is declared the winner.
  • Giant Marbles: This is a game that even little kids can play, if they so choose. Grab a bunch of soft balls, like basketballs, footballs, soccer balls and bouncy balls, and jumble them in a group on the grass. Surround the group of balls with a large rope or a combination of jump ropes connected to each other in a ring. Next, select one bigger ball to be used as the shooter. Kids can kick the shooter ball from 5 to 10 feet away from the group of balls and aim it at the balls in the ring. You want to kick as many balls out of the ring as possible while still keeping the shooter ball inside the ring. It’s harder than it sounds!

Tips for Summer Sun and Fun Safety

Before you start playing any of these summer games for children, bear in mind that summertime games can get exhausting faster than spring or fall games. This is mostly due to the fact that it’s hot and in many cases quite humid outside. Too much exertion can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke if players aren’t careful.

To curtail this possibility, keep water and lemonade around for everyone to drink in between games. Wait several minutes before playing any games, especially pool games, if the kids have just eaten. Try to provide a shady or air conditioned area for players to cool down in, in the event that someone gets too hot and starts getting exhausted.

Also, never force children to play if they don’t want to. Not only are party poopers no fun for the rest of the team, they simply might not feel comfortable playing water sports, especially in the pool. Make sure kids know about the water games before showing up to the party so they can have a swimsuit or change of clothes with them for the drive home.


The Source for Youth Ministry: Swimming Pool Games

Family Fun: Giant Marbles

Image Credit: SXC: Stock photo: Colourful Balls 2 by Mei Teng under standard image license