Your backyard swimming pool is a place to relax and have fun, but you can also use it to play games with an educational twist. After all, even though your kids aren’t in school right now, they can still spend their days learning. Here are five ideas to keep your kids’ minds sharp while they’re on summer vacation.
Swimming Pool Scrabble
This educational pool game hones your children’s spelling and problem-solving skills while encouraging them to be physically active outside in the pool. To play this game, start by purchasing a few packages of cheap sponges. Write a letter on each one in permanent marker, being sure to choose letters that combine easily to form common three- and four-letter words.
Once the sponges are all prepared, throw them into the pool, where they will float around on the surface. Challenge your kids to jump in and grab as many sponges as they can. Then, line up the sponges on the side of the pool and see how many words they can create using different combinations of the letters they collected.
Pool Noodle Numbers
Use this game as a math exercise. First, cut up a pool noodle into two- to three-inch slices. Number the rings 1 through 25 (or however many slices you end up with). Then, throw the slices into the pool.
Decide what rules to follow each round. You might start by telling your kids to collect the rings in order as a team. Next time, you might challenge them to only grab even numbers, or odd numbers, or multiples of three.
Ping Pong in the Pool
Do your kids enjoy a little friendly competition? If so, try this game! First, write the numbers 1 through 5 on a few handfuls of ping pong balls with a permanent marker. Then, throw them in the pool. On the count of three, have your kids swim out to collect as many balls as they can, placing them in small buckets as they go. When all the balls are claimed, have each child add up the numbers on the balls they collected. Whoever has the highest score wins!
One of the most common pool games is to dive for coins. Add an element of math to the game by challenging your kids to pick up change that equals a certain amount, such as $0.78 or $1.29. For the final round, tell your kids they can keep whatever they collect, but only if they can calculate the right amount.
This one is more of a creative project than a word or number game. Challenge your kids to make small boats using everyday objects from around the house. Whoever successfully races their boat across the pool first, without touching it, is declared the winner.