There is an “old school” way of teaching swimming lessons that involves throwing kids in the water, and telling them to hold their breath and kick their feet.

And, there is a new way of thinking that uses swimming pool games for swimming lessons and encourages kids to have fun in the water.

Swimming lessons can be a positive, even enjoyable, experience when the swim instructors are patient and creative with their teaching.

Whether you are a parent teaching your own children, or a certified instructor, the secret to successful swim lessons is letting the kids play fun swimming games that will develop their love for the water.

Age-appropriate games and water toys can help new swimmers learn basic swim and water safety skills that will lead to a lifetime of fun and fitness.

Sharks and Minnows

This game is one of the classic swimming games for swimming lessons because it’s easy to learn, fun to play and helps develop strong swim skills.

Start the game by choosing one player as the shark and the others as the minnows. The shark gets in the water on one side of the pool and the minnows line up on the opposite side. The shark calls the minnows over by saying “Swim Minnows” and then the minnows must jump in the pool and swim across without getting tagged by the shark. If the minnows get tagged, then they become a helper to the shark for the next round. And, if the shark touches the wall before any remaining minnows jump in, they they become helpers, too. The untagged players get out of the pool and line up again opposite the shark and the helpers for the next round. This continues until all of the minnows are caught. The last minnow caught is the shark for the next game.

To add even more fun to this game, players can wear a shark fin swimming float to aid their swimming and look cool. The KEKE shark fin swimming float does both. It’s a cool shark fin design that is comfortable to wear and provides just enough buoyancy to aid in swimming without restricting the swimmer.  Plus, the vertical shape of shark fin helps to encourage a good swimming posture.

Noodle Relay Race

Relay races are always a crowd favorite and can help strengthen swimming skills.

Racing with noodles adds a really fun element that kids will love. This is one of the swimming games for swimming lessons that you can use for large swim lesson classes of intermediate or advanced swimmers.

First, divide your group into two teams, and then have your swimmers pick partners within their teams. Give each set of partners one noodle. The first set of partners start with both of the partners on top of the noodle in some way.

They can either choose to straddle it or lay on top of it. Together, they must race to the opposite end of the pool and back without falling off of the noodle. When they touch the end of the pool, the next set of partners jumps in on their noodle and races until all of the partner sets have gone.

The team who finishes first is the Pool Noodle Ruler.

This a great game to encourage teamwork and show swimmers the value of pulling the water with their hands, or kicking it with their feet. For a set of fun swim noodles to use, try the Lifoam Set of 5 in assorted colors (available on amazon). These 48” long durable noodles have a hole in the center for added buoyancy and come in bright rainbow colors like blue, pink, green, red and purple. Now, all you have to do is choose your favorite noodle color.

Superhero Glide

This swimming lesson game can be a fun challenge for kids once they are able to blow bubbles and swim underwater.

Have the kids line up along the wall and pick which superhero that they want to be.

Then, have them take turns pushing off of the wall with their feet and stretching their arms out in front of them. Submerge a hula hoop or swim ring vertically a few feet in front of them.

Then, they can pretend that they are that superhero as they “fly” through the hoop underwater.

Move the ring a little further back each turn so that they have to glide and kick a little more each time. This games works great with the Water Sports Swim Thru Rings (available on amazon)!  These rings have adjustable air chambers that allow you to change the underwater depth so that you can use them for all swimming levels.

Treasure Hunters

Once students get comfortable in the water, they will enjoy a challenging game of Treasure Hunters.

It’s so easy to set up and kids never tire of searching for new items on the bottom of the pool.

Simply choose a depth that is  appropriate for your swimmers’ skill levels and throw submersible items into the water at that depth. Swimmers must count to ten and then jump in and race to retrieve the items from the bottom of the pool. The more items they find, the more points they get.

You can even designate a certain color for each child or a total number that they must find.

This game is ideal for developing lunch capacity and helping the swimmers gain confidence in their skills. You can even play it after the sun goes down with the Starlight Swimming Games glow in the dark swimming games kit. The waterproof glowing games pieces include six glow bracelets, four dive diamonds, six border lights, two glowing flowers, plus batteries and a guidebook with game instructions for Treasure Hunters and nine more games.

Starlight Swimming Pool Games


Kickboard Tug of War

The best swimming games for swimming lessons help young swimmers build endurance and develop strength while they have fun – like Kickboard Tug of War.

Split your group into pairs and give each set of partners a kick board. The partners grab onto opposite sides of the kick board and use the lane line of the bottom of the pool as the starting mark. At the word “go,” they start kicking as fast and hard as they can while holding the board trying to push themselves over the starting mark.

A good kick board to use for this game as well as other swim training is this is the Speedo Team Kickboard (available on amazon). It’s a lightweight foam kickboard featuring side finger scallops for a comfortable, no-slip grip. It’s perfect for swimmers of all ages and fun for games and exercise.

Now that your children know how to swim, make your pool parties even more fun by checking our blog post about the best pool party games.