The Rules of Marco Polo

Each year, as summer arrives in Australia full force, kids and adults flock to the sea or to friend’s backyard swimming pools. The intense heat that Australia is known for means there is only one way of cooling down, and that is to go swimming.

Because of this, erecting garden fencing around your pool is very important in Australia. This is to make sure kids aren’t tempted to hit the water without their parents or guardians present to supervise them.

For those long, hot summer days the fun and water activities can last in the pool all day long. Summer days are passed by in a blur of fun and games in the water and only end when the sun finally sets on the horizon, or if an afternoon storm sets in.

During these hours of swimming, the kids will be looking for things to do to keep them amused. If you teach them an exciting game, such as how to play Marco Polo, you will be pleased by how many hours it can keep them entertained.

However, still make sure kids always have an adult supervising them in the water and ensure there is a safe pool fence such as colorbond fencing around any pool.

Marco Polo the Game

Marco Polo was a traveller in the late 1200’s. There are many versions of how the pool game Marco Polo came about, the most popular one being that it was thought that when he set off to explore China Marco Polo did not know where he was going.

It is also understood that in his personal accounts of his exploration he discusses how easy it is for an explorer to go off track and how, if he did go off track and lose his travelling companions, they would need to call out the explorers name to find him and bring him back on track.

Either way, children and adults have enjoyed playing the game for many years.

The Rules

Marco Polo is a version of tag played in water. The aim is for the ‘it’ person to find the other players in the pool. Once found, he taps them to make them ‘it’.

How to play:

  • You will need at least three players in the pool.
  • Someone is chosen to be ‘it’.
  • This person needs to keep their eyes closed and stay in the water.
  • They will have to use their ears to try to find the other players. If there are any splashing sounds from them trying to swim away, the person who is ‘it’ may strike out and try to tag them.
  • At any time, the person who is ‘it’ can call out ‘MARCO!’ and the other players then have to call back ‘POLO’. The players have to respond no matter where they are, in or out of the pool.
  • Once the person who is ‘it’ taps another player, they become ‘it’ and the game starts again.
  • During the game, the other players can leave the pool at any time to escape the water-bound ‘it’. However, if the ‘it’ person calls ‘fish out of water’ and any player is not in the water they automatically lose and become ‘it’.
  • If there are more than one players out of water at the time, the person who is ‘it’ gets to choose who now becomes ‘it’.


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