Before letting the children loose in the water, it is important to keep a few basic safety tips in mind. First of all, have at least one adult supervising at all times and maintain a good ration of adults to children. Make certain the deep end and shallow end are clearly marked, and keep weaker swimmers towards the latter. Encourage the children to take frequent breaks between games. Finally, remember that inner tubes, noodles, and other floating pool toys are just that -- toys, not safety devices.
In perhaps the best-known of all pool games, one player must cover his or her eyes or wear a blindfold while the other players scatter around the pool. The blindfolded player must then swim around the pool, trying to find the other players only by the sound of their splashing and voices. At any point, he or she may yell out "Marco," to which the other players must respond "Polo." When the blindfolded player manages to catch another player, that player must then cover his or her eyes and the game continues.
Choose one player to be "it" and have him or her stand in the middle of the pool. The other players must, all at once, swim across the pool and try to avoid being tagged. Those who are tagged must hold hands with the "it" player in the center of the pool. In the next round, all of the players who are holding hands try to tag the swimmers as they come back across the pool. Keep going back and forth until every player has been tagged, then start again with a new "it."
Choose one player to go first and perform some action that the other players must repeat. Every player who cannot repeat the action properly earns a letter, first "F," then "I," and so on; the first player to spell the whole word "fish" loses. Players take turns performing stunts for the others to imitate. To keep the game interesting, consider ruling that each action can only be performed once per game. This prevents one player from winning by just repeating an action that no one else can perform.
There are many safe and enjoyable games to play with kids in the pool, of which the dozen above are merely a sample. Having a range of great pool toys on hand adds even more activities to the mix. With a few basic safety precautions and adult supervision, children can have fun for hours on end in the water.