3 Fun Pool Noodle Games Ideas

The humble pool noodle is a lot more versatile than it looks. Who would have known that a spongy thing shaped like a noodle could provide so many hours of fun? If you are looking for some fun pool noodle game ideas, (whether you are a kid or an adult) read on for some excellent games to try out, with variations and tips. If you have a pool but no noodles…get some! They are affordable and completely worth it.

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Gladiators: Pool-style

Remember that game show ‘Gladiators’ from the 90’s where the contestants would balance on those beams and try to get each other to fall by whacking them with poles? Am I remembering that right or has my memory warped? Well anyway, Gladiators: Pool-style takes inspiration from that! This one is less intense and doesn’t require head-gear or knee pads though. There are some variations of this game to keep it safe and suitable for different kinds of players.

How many people: at least 2, but depending on your variation, you may need 4

What you need: a pool, at least 2 noodles

How to play:

Get sorted into two even teams. Each team nominates a gladiator. Once the teams and gladiators have been chosen, get into position according to which variation you have chosen, here they are:

  1. Each gladiator takes a noodle and stands at opposite ends of the pool-edge, on the deck. The rest of the players must sit out of the way. They can be in the pool if they’re careful to avoid being hit by incoming gladiators. Someone calls “Gladiators!” and the gladiators begin by approaching each other until they are both on the same side of the pool, facing each other. They can choose to play hard-to-get and creep around the periyard of the pool, away from the contestant…or they can be brave and just go for it. It’s best to make the rule that running is not allowed, the gladiators must walk or creep! Once they are facing each other they must try to get each other into the pool, using the noodle. They are NOT allowed to make hand-to-body contact with each other, ONLY the noodle can come into contact with a contestant. The first gladiator to fall into the pool loses, and the winner must play the next contestant of the opposing team. The gladiators CAN escape each other and get to the other side of the pool if they wish, but they have to walk. The opposing gladiator can chase them by walking as well. This makes for some pretty hilarious action and also keeps the game going.
  1. The second option requires at least 4 people. The nominated gladiators must sit on the shoulders of a nominated team member from their team. The two teams are in the pool, facing each other. The gladiators must knock the opponent off of the shoulders of the carrier. The first person to fall, loses. This one can be a bit dangerous so you just have to make sure the “carriers” are strong enough to carry the gladiators, and that they keep their heads above water! A carrier can call “Gladiator out!” at any time if they need the gladiator to dismount from their shoulders. This rule just keeps things safe.


The “dry land” variation can be changed-up a bit by making a rule that certain corners of the pool-deck are “safe”. For example. The far-left corner of the pool-deck is safe, so a gladiator can’t be hit by their opponent if they reach that spot. They are only allowed to stay there for 5 seconds though, while they figure out their next move. You can also give the “audience” players some input too, by giving them a few buzz-words to use which have corresponding rules. For example: if a non-gladiator calls out, “gladiator freeze!”, both gladiators must freeze exactly where they are, and if they wobble, fall, or move at all, they have to stand still for 5 seconds while the opposing gladiator tries to get them into the pool by using their noodle.

Worm Race

Worm Race is simple, fun and frantic. A great one for when you don’t feel like having lots of complicated rules or teams, but want to have fun and get competitive! You need a good burst of energy for this game, so make sure there are snacks handy, or a BBQ to work your appetite up for!

How many people: at least 2

What you need: a pool, at least 2 noodles

How to play:

It’s simple. Nominate a worm-racer for each team, (if there’s just 2 of you, then you both get to play all the games!). The worm-racers get on the noodles and line up at one end of the pool. The noodle must be between the legs of the worm-racers (like you would ride a horse). The onlookers from each team can either be on dry-land, or they can be in the pool to cheer on their teammate, as long as they stay out of the way!

When “ready, set, GO!” is called, the worm-racers must race to the opposite end of the pool, remaining on top of the noodle at all times.

You can use any technique you like when worm-racing. You can paddle with your legs while moving your arms in a breast-stroke motion, or can just dog-paddle all the way to the end if that’s your fastest style!

The winner will play the next person from the opposing team, if you have teams of 2 or more. You can also make the teams any size you like, there can be 4 worm-racers racing at one time if you want! There’s really not much more to it than that, it’s just a fun and energetic game you can play without getting into the nitty-gritty of rules and regulations.


This is the game for you if you think you’ve got good aim, and a good arm. Everyone can be included in Aqua-Target, taking turns at trying out different positions. There isn’t a lot of thrashing/pushing/racing involved, so you can still have a relaxed time in the pool as you play!

How many people: at least 3

What you need: a pool, at least 3 noodles, maybe some noodle joiners if you want to make a full circle, but you can just hold the noodle as a loop if you don’t want to join it up

How to play:

Make sure each player as 1 noodle. Nominate someone to start off as the “target”. The target goes to the middle of the pool, or further away to make it harder for the “shooters”. If you have to venture into the deep end, or your pool is quite deep all over, then you can get another noodle for the target to sit on to keep them afloat. The target then holds the noodle above their head in the shape of a ring. You can get some proper noodle connectors, or simply tie the noodle together with any makeshift item you can find. Alternately, the target can just hold both ends of the noodle above their head in a rough ring shape.

The shooters all line up on one end of the pool, in the water, facing the target.

Go down the line and each shooter gets one chance to shoot the noodle through the hoop. The target can move side to side and try to evade the incoming noodle. The shooters can also move side to side as much as they want, but must keep behind a boundary line at all times. At the end of each round, collect the noodles and start the process again! You can make it really competitive by making a rule that the person who gets the noodle through the hoop and the furthest away, wins. This means that if only one person actually gets it through the hoop, they win by default, regardless of how far away the noodle landed. Or, you can simply switch around targets and shooters as you please, and just have fun trying to land the shot despite the cheeky moving target.


Pool noodles are such a great pool accessory. Here are some cool ones on amazon.Those ones are quite pricey, but you get a bulk-lot of 25 noodles, and connectors/joiners too. Here is a cheaper option for if you just want a few:

Store noodles in the garage or somewhere out of the sun when they aren’t being used, this will help to preserve them. Get out there and have some good old-fashioned pool fun!

Author: YardWin

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