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It’s a tale as old as time. We grow up, we lose touch with our inner child, and suddenly the pool we spent an unspeakable amount of money installing is being enjoyed exclusively by our children as we watch from the sidelines. No more! This summer, we want to give adults a reason to get in the pools that they paid for. How? Swimming pool games for adults.

Once you reach a certain age, it’s common to reduce your intended list of pool activities to just a handful of things. At the top of the list are swimming laps, sunning on a float or baja shelf, and routinely cleaning. Swimming pool games for adults can put the excitement and fun back into your backyard pool.

We’ve put together a list of swimming pool games that are great for your next pool party with friends, sans kiddos. And don’t worry- you won’t find Marco, Polo, or their good friend Chicken on this list.

1. Water Volleyball

Think of this game as beach volleyball’s splashier cousin. Unlike the standard, diving for a serve here is far less likely to end in scraped knees. Water sports such as this are great options for larger groups. They have a built in team element that makes them good bonding exercises for people of any age. Not to mention, water volleyball is a fun way to bring a little friendly competition to the pool.

For the best water volleyball experience, you should invest in a net set that will stand up to your impressive serve, set, spike you’ve been working on. Affordable and worthwhile options can be found all over. From Walmart, to Amazon, to Pool Supply stores, there’s an option in your price range. Which, by the way, is larger than you may think.

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A simple blow up pool volleyball set from Wayfair may only cost you around $50. On the other hand, a more expensive model from Frontgate tops out at over $400. The option you buy should depend on how often you plan on using it, and how seriously you’re taking the entire endeavor. 

If you imagine yourself playing host to frequent pool volleyball competitions, the more expensive models can be worth it for both quality as well as long term durability. 

2. Floating Beer Pong

Let us be clear: Swimming and heavy alcohol consumption do not mix. Pursue any poolside or in-pool activity that mixes water games with intoxication with caution. It’s important to be careful, understand your limits, and minimize risk to yourself and others. That being said, nothing screams “adult party” like a good game of beer pong.

Traditionally played on a long table in frat houses, front lawns, and seedy basements alike, this staple has remained a prominent adult game for a reason. It mixes the fun of casual drinking with the spirit of competition, and the satisfaction of sinking a good basket. 

If you’ve never been fortunate enough to play beer pong, the premise is simple. Two teams take turns trying to throw ping pong balls into (traditionally) red plastic cups. If a pong ball makes it in a cup, the cup is removed and the throwing team has “scored”. The team removing the cup must drink its, (usually alcoholic), contents. The team that forces the other to remove all their cups by sinking pong balls first, wins.

Fortunately, modern companies have taken this classic from dry land to the pool. A simple Amazon search reveals dozens of choices. One of the best reviews is this GoPong Pool Lounge Floating Beer Pong Table. 

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3. Keepaway (Monkey In The Middle)

At the beginning of this article, we promised no Marco, Polo, or Chicken. But we never said anything about monkeys. We know, we know. Keepaway sounds a bit childish. But there are some games that never get old for a good reason.

Whatever the case may be, a good game of keepaway is more fun in the water. An added bonus? All you need is a water ball and a good attitude. If you’ve never played monkey in the middle, or perhaps have only heard it referred to by another name, there’s not a lot to it. Best in groups of three, this game is played with two or more participants playing catch. The ball is thrown back and forth while an individual in the middle tries to intercept the pass. 

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We recommend investing in a durable ball intended for pool activities. Something that hops or skims the water adds more excitement to the game than a ball that sinks. At under $2.00, you can grab this Coop Hydro Wake Breaker ball, and let the games begin. 

4. Jousting

One for the more adventurous crowd, we argue that you never truly grow out of a good sword fight. Water jousting sets allow you to capture this spirit in a slightly more elevated way. The premise of water jousting is simple. Two or more participants sit on inflatable logs or platforms. In hand, they hold their jousting equipment. 

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If you’ve invested in a set such as the one above, this equipment may resemble a giant, inflatable ear cleaner. Otherwise, traditional floats and pool noodles will do just fine. When all participants are set, blow the whistle and have at it. The aim of the game is to use your joust to knock other participants off of their inflatable. 

In some ways, this game may actually be better suited to adults than children. It’s our hope that you and your friends will show some restraint, where kids sometimes appear out for blood. But if your motto is still “take no prisoners”, who are we to intervene?

5. Outdoor Movie Night

Maybe you and your friends just aren’t the games type. Maybe volleyball sounds exhausting, and you spend enough time playing keepaway with your kids and your dog. We understand! Traditional games aren’t for everyone, and lots of us installed a pool as a place to relax, unwind, and float away our stress. 

If this sounds like you, then an outdoor movie night may be exactly the kind of in-pool fun you’re after. To make this happen, you’ll need a few things. For a great outdoor movie night, you need a great projector. If your pool faces a blank side of your house, shine the projection directly onto your siding. Otherwise, you will need to purchase a screen.

The equipment to make this option a reality can be a little pricey. But, the investment is a one-time event and should serve you inside and outside your home for years to come. Once you have the right tools, all you need is a fleet of great floaties and the confidence that your popcorn won’t end up taking a swim.

Don’t Let Your Kids Have All The Fun

Life is serious enough as it is- don’t let your kids have all the fun! Get the most out of the pool you paid for and dive in to play one of these great swimming pool games for adults this summer. Whether you’re going all out with a floating movie night, or keeping it simple with a good old game of monkey in the middle, getting in touch with your inner child is never as hard as it seems.


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