No, we’re not talking about your first semester of college. The sink or swim game is a great group and party game that is sure to wear out and delight your kids and their friends. It’s also possible to play a two-person version of this game, but infinitely more fun with a crowd.
To play, you’ll need a stopwatch and two boogie boards or small pool floats. Depending on the age and strength of the players, you may even play this game with floating pool toys.
Divide the group into two or more teams. For smaller pools and smaller groups, definitely stick with two teams. Each team should form a line on the edge of the pool. The first players on each team enter the water and decide whether to “sink” or to swim.
Players who choose to “sink” must hold the boogie board, small raft, or pool toy under water using only their feet for 30 seconds. If the player succeeds, the team gains 4 points. If the boogie board, toy, or raft shoots away from the player, however, that player must swim a lap in the pool and the player’s team receives only one point. Players who choose to “swim” take one lap in the pool and earn two points for their team.
The game continues like a relay race with each individual player choosing whether to sink or to swim for the team. The team who first reaches 24 or 48 points wins. We recommend playing to 24 for smaller groups or young children and to 48 with older children and larger groups.
Adjust your pool toys and times depending on the age and skill of your kids. Younger children often do best with soft floating toys like rubber ducks and shorter time periods to hold the toy under water (15 seconds is often a great choice). Older children are more challenged and have fun with tougher floating toys like boogie boards and can hold them underwater for longer.