Keeping a busy toddler entertained in the pool can be a challenge, but a whole lot of fun too! Always remember that safety is the number one priority when it comes to water activities for kids. If you’re looking to add some extra fun activities to your pool or beach routine, check out these 14 swimming pool games for toddlers (and grownups, too!).
A frequent question from Lottie fans is: Can dolls go into the bath, pool or water in general?
The answer is yes! Making pool and bath time way more fun and exciting! Lottie and her friends love the water, and these swimming pool games for toddlers are super fun.
Supplies Needed: Inflatable pool tube or another device for each participant
With an age-appropriate floating device and an adult to help, toddlers will have a blast bumping into each other on their “bumper boats”. And honestly, this game is fun for adults and teens too – as long as they take it easy on the little ones. If the bumping is too much, enlist some bigger kids to create a whirlpool around the pool, and toddlers can float along on the lazy river.
Collect the Treasure
Supplies Needed: Floating objects (toys, rings, balls, etc.), butterfly net
If your little one is still learning how to swim, they can sit in a shallow raft or another safe floating device. Scatter floating objects around the pool, hand them a butterfly net, and watch them have a ball trying to scoop them up! You can also try it in the shallow end to work on those motor skills. It’s also great practice for identifying colors and shapes as well!
Fetch with Sea Otters
Supplies Needed: Ball or another retrievable object
Kids of all ages love this game. Hand your toddler a ball while they’re either sitting on the steps, playing in the shallow end, or floating in a raft. Have them toss the ball to willing participants pretending to be sea otters – whether it’s another toddler, older kids, or another adult. For an extra challenge perfect for strong swimmers, use a ball that sinks. Toddlers will love sending the pretend “sea otters” to the bottom of the pool to retrieve it.
This game isn’t just for big kids! Toddlers love peekaboo, and they’ll love being chased by “Marco” (even if their eyes are wide open). Young children will probably need an adult helper to participate.
Follow the Leader
Toddlers love to pretend! In a pool, you can pretend to be a frog, a dolphin, sea otter, crab, or any other sea creature you can think of! With a group of children, you can play follow the leader – animal style!
Red Light, Green Light
In this variation of this game, when the leader calls “green light”, that’s the signal to kick like crazy! “Yellow light” means kick slowly, and “Red light” means stop. You can sit your toddler in your lap for this one, or an older child can hang on to the edge of the pool.
Supplies Needed: bucket, paintbrush
If your toddler is tired of spending time in the pool, hand them a bucket full of water and a paintbrush and let them go nuts on the pool deck. This activity is just plain fun, but it also helps toddlers practice their fine motor skills. See how many shapes or letters they can write before the sun dries their creation!
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Shallow End Games
If your pool has a good-sized shallow end for your child to splash in, these simple swimming pool games for toddlers can provide a quick activity to keep them entertained.
Silly Sea Monkey
This game is like Simon Says, but tailored for use in the shallow end. The “Sea Monkey” calls commands like “blow bubbles”, “hop forward”, “put your ear on the water”, etc. If they make a mistake, they become a “silly sea monkey” and must dance around until the last silly sea monkey remains.
Supplies Needed: Objects that sink (rings, coins, plastic animals, etc)
Scatter sinking objects to the bottom of the pool, and have your toddler collect them and bring them to shore. This can also be a great way to entertain older children at the same time!
Supplies Needed: Beach balls
Begin at one end of the shallow end and have your toddler push a ball to the other side. Older children should use their noses and try it in deeper water if they’re strong swimmers. The first one across the width of the pool wins!
For the toddler who wants to take a break from active pool play, “I Spy” is always a fun way to work on identifying colors or shapes. Sit at the edge of the pool or in the shallow end and pick out different objects around the pool. You can also combine “I Spy” with a treasure hunt, and see if your toddler can find specific toys in the pool.
This little song is excellent for introducing toddlers to swimming. Support your child as they lay flat on their backs and sing “The Pancake Song” to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot.”
“I’m a little pancake on my back,
I’m a little pancake nice and flat.
I’m a little pancake on my back,
Flip me over, just like that.”
As you sing “flip me over,” roll your child over onto their stomach. Just remember to take it slow and keep their heads above the water. This activity helps them learn how to float on their backs and balance in the water.
If You’re Happy and You Know It
This pool game for toddlers is also handy for introducing swimming skills in a fun and safe way. Sing “If you’re happy and you know it” but instead of “clap your hands,” replace it with splash your hands, kick your feet, or blow some bubbles. Or anything else you can imagine!
Ring Around the Otter
Instead of “Ring Around the Rosie,” try “Ring Around the Otter” instead. “Ring around the otter, pockets full of water. Splashes, splashes, we all blow bubbles!”
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