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PLEASE NOTE: Water safety is a serious consideration. Don’t swim alone, make sure you stay between the flags if you’re at the beach and within your ability anywhere you go. Play safe.

Fingers crossed that this Australia Day is a beautiful day. If it is, what better place to be than the beach, a water hole, or the perennial favourite – your humble local pool –  a place where all Australians come together as equals, to skip across boiling hot concrete towards the kiosk after a good splash.

But many of us are not content to just float around. To spice things up, we dove into the national archives and found some classic water games to play this Australia Day. Let’s jump in…

Noodle Joust

Players: 2 as a minimum, more for a tournament.

Equipment: At the top of the list is a couple of pool noodles, you will also need two makeshift rafts; anything that floats really, the less stable they are, the more entertaining it will be for onlookers.

How to Play: Each player mounts their steed (raft) and tries to knock the other player into the water. If your opponent hits the water before you, you win.

Chicken Fight

Players: 4 at a minimum, 2 people per side.

Equipment: Nothing more than the eye of the tiger – or rather, the chicken.

How to play: One person from each team sits the shoulders of their teammate (very important – make sure the one standing has their head above water). The shoulder sitter is the chicken, their goal is to knock the opposing chicken into the water. If you fall off, then you’re out, and the winner takes on the next opponent.

Marco Polo

Players: 3 (2 in a pinch but it’s not as fun)

Equipment: Your good selves.

How to play: One player is chosen to be ‘it’. They must close their eyes and using only their hearing, find and tag another player, making them ‘it’. Whoever is ‘it’ shouts ‘Marco’, then all the other players must respond ‘Polo’, revealing their position. If you leave the pool and the ‘it’ player shouts ‘Fish out of water.’ then you are officially busted, and you become ‘it’.

Classic Catches

Players: 2 (but the more the merrier)

Equipment: A good ball for catching, it’s better if it floats.

How to play: Nothing could be simpler. The thrower stays in the water (if they’re sensible) lobs the ball in a sportsperson like fashion. The catcher stands out of the pool – or if at the beach, lake, or river – in shallower water to allow for a bit of momentum.

As the ball falls, the catcher must attempt to snatch it out of the air in the most dramatic fashion they can muster. Points are awarded for extra style and awkward belly-flops, this game always draws an appreciative crowd.

As purveyors of nostalgic yet responsible fun we must call out some safety basics; If you’ve been tucking into tacos, downing the dumplings, or laying into lamingtons, it’s probably best you give yourself a while to digest before diving in. Never drink and swim and of course, be SunSmart, eating lobster is one thing, being one is no way to end your Australia Day.

Want to do more this Australia Day?