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The Best Pool Games for Kids and Adults

Last updated on May 29, 2024
adults playing pool cornhole

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

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Our Picks For The Top Pool Games

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Best Multi-Game Set

JOYIN Non-Toxic Sports Pool Game Set

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Non-Toxic Sports Pool Game Set

With this pool game, you not only get to challenge a friend to a game of hoops, but you also get to gather the family together for some volleyball fun. The material is non-toxic and high-quality, so you'll be able to use it for many seasons to come. The set is also quick to inflate, allowing you to get right to the fun.

Overall Take

Two in OneThis inflatable pool game set is available in a choice of orange or blue.

 Best Ring Toss

90shine Children’s Ring Toys Pool Game


Children’s Ring Toys Pool Game

You won't have any trouble keeping your kids active this summer when you opt for this exciting pool game. The set includes a floating basketball hoop, as well as an inflatable ring toss game. Kids can work on practicing their aim or organize a match with a few friends at their next pool party.

Overall Take

Hours of FunConstructed from a durable PVC, this pool game is easy to set up and keep clean.

 Best Card Game

UNO Splash Waterproof Card Game


UNO Splash Waterproof Card Game

You can now play America's favorite card game at the pool thanks to these plastic waterproof cards. While you can get them wet, they do not float, something to take into consideration.

Overall Take

WashableBecause these cards are made of plastic, you can wash and disinfect them to use in schools, camps, rec centers and more.

 Best Pool Basketball

GoSports Splash Hoop 360 Floating Basketball Pool Game


Splash Hoop 360 Floating Basketball Pool Game

The GoSports floating swimming pool basketball game comes with a sturdy, well-made floating hoop, two red basketballs, its own pump and a sturdy frame that you can assemble in a few minutes. It's a slam dunk for your summer!

Overall Take

Made for FansThis basketball hoop is built to stand up to rough play and looks much more expensive than it is.

Buying Guide

Anyone who’s ever been fortunate enough to have a backyard swimming pool — or a friend with one — knows that things get a little livelier when a game (or two) is involved.

For younger kids, simple games with floating items like basic beach balls offer safe fun. Slightly older kids who are learning to swim can play games that will help them hone their skills. If you can create an obstacle course that will challenge children to stay underwater longer (closely supervised, of course) you can make learning more exciting.

Then there are the older kids and adults. One pool standard for more skilled swimmers is the poolside basketball hoop. With a basketball hoop, all you’ll need is a water-friendly basketball for hours of competitive fun. There are also floating pool games like tic-tac-toe boards and ring toss sets, which can be fun for swimmers of all ages.

For adult pool parties, there’s always beer pong! With a floating version of the classic game, you can create a fun party in your very own swimming pool.

What to Look For

  • Most swimming pool games are inflatable. Before you buy, check into how easy or difficult the items will be to inflate. If a pump is required, make sure it’s included. If not, check that you can easily find one that’s compatible.
  • The best thing about inflatable pool toys is that they can often be easily collapsed into a compact design. This makes stuffing them into your suitcase or storing them in a pool closet easy.
  • Carefully measure any basketball hoop to make sure your participants will be able to reach it. You might want to upgrade your hoop as your little ones grow to make it more challenging.
  • When it comes to playing hoops in the pool, you can purchase either an inflatable, floating game set or an actual backboard and hoop that’s heavily weighted for placement next to the water. If you go with the weighted option, make sure it’s sturdy enough that it won’t topple into the pool, possibly injuring a player, if someone grabs onto the edge of the hoop and pulls down.
  • Poolside hoops are designed specifically to stand up to water exposure. You’ll also want to make sure your basketballs are designed for water use.
  • Safety is a top priority with children. For children who aren’t yet comfortable in the water, a simple game that requires minimal movement can be better. Look for a game that lets kids stand still and toss or move items around. As they get more comfortable, you can progress to more active games.

More to Explore

Marco Polo – Our Favorite FREE Pool Game

Marco Polo is named for the 13th-century adventurer whose stories entertained Europeans for years, though the game itself doesn’t have a direct connection to Polo. Its origins have been traced back to the 1960s, but it’s very similar to a land-based game called blind man’s bluff, which was wildly popular in the 1500s.

With both games, one player is “it,” which means that player tries to catch other players while blindfolded or with eyes closed. In the pool version, the player who’s trying to find everyone shouts “Marco,” while the moving players shout “Polo” in response until the one who’s “it” tags someone. The tagged person then becomes the new “it” player.

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