Fun Pool Games for Kids

We have spoken in the pat about the best ways to get your kids in the pool. In that post, we referenced pool games as one of the best ways to entice kids to swim, and this week want to share our personal favorites. No need to go buy anything – all the games below can be played with household items.


First, take a clear bottle, preferably with a white cap or a cap the same color as your pool plaster, remove the wrapper and fill it with pool water. Next, divide the kids into two teams and line them up in the water on opposite ends of the pool. Finally, toss the bottle into the pool and when they hear the splash, the players turn around and try to find the bottle. Once the bottle is found, simply line the players up again and repeat. It sounds like an easy task, but you will be surprised at how hard it is to find the bottle.

sharkSharks & Minnows

Sharks and Minnows is essentially pool tag. One player starts as the “Shark” at one end of the pool. The other players, “Minnows”, must jump in the pool and try to swim to the other edge without being tagged by the shark. Every player the shark tags then becomes a shark as well and tries to tag other minnows. The last minnow to be tagged becomes the first shark in the next round. The game is great for big groups of children but can also be played with as few as 4. The shark begins the game by saying “sharks under, minnows go!”


Pirates can be played with any number of players, but it is perfect for 2 players. Grab any odd number of sticks, which can be any item from around the house. Then, line the players up on opposite ends of the pool and toss the sticks in the middle. When someone says go, the players race to find the sticks, and the player with the majority of sticks wins. Kids love the competitive nature of this game and will likely want to keep playing for many rounds.


F-I-S-H can be played in two ways. The first way is if you have a poolside basketball hoop (which kids love), then F-I-S-H is essentially H-O-R-S-E. The first player gets to do anything they want before shooting, such as shooting while jumping in the pool. If they hit their shot, the other players have to do the exact same thing. But if they miss, the next player gets to make up their own wacky shot for others to try. Any player that cannot make the first person’s shot gets the letter F. Everyone keeps playing the game and making up crazy shots until someone misses enough times to spell out the word F-I-S-H. Once a player spells F-I-S-H, then they are out and the last player in wins. If you do not have a poolside basketball hoop, you can still play F-I-S-H, but instead of basketball shots players can do creative jumps or dives into the pool, with other players trying to replicate them. Either way, F-I-S-H is a fun interpretation of H-O-R-S-E and will get kids thinking creatively.

Marco Polo

Marco Polo is probably the most famous pool game there is. But for those of you that are unaware of the rules, Marco Polo starts with one player as “it”. This player starts with their eyes closed, and the other players disperse throughout the pool. The player who is it keeps his or her eyes closed and tries to find and tag the other players in the pool. The other players are avoiding this person, but the one who is it can find the other players by saying “Marco” which they must then respond to with “Polo”. When the person succeeds in tagging another player that player then becomes it in the next round. Geico recently did a hilarious ad referencing the game.

What are your kids favorite pool games? Email us and let us know if we missed any.

Got Pool Noodle Exercises???

We have spoken a lot in the past about the health benefits of a pool and various pool exercises, such as water yoga. Swimming laps and doing water yoga will give you a great workout, but these activities can get old over time. This week, we wanted to highlight pool noodle exercises, which can still provide a workout while helping you switch up your routine. Pool noodle exercises provide a great way to work out, while not putting pressure on your joints. If you are interested in pool noodle exercises, then check out this post from In the Swim’s blog.

For those that do not have a pool noodle, we recommend buying one, as they are fairly cheap on Amazon and kids love to play with them as well.

Unexpected Benefits of Pool Ownership

Over the years, our clients have had various reasons for installing a pool – in fact, we have probably heard every reason out there. Regardless of your motive, there are often a few key value-adds that people overlook. This week we want to touch on a few of those unexpected benefits, so pool owners can keep appreciating their pools and non-pool owners can find a few more reasons to make the jump!

Healthier Life

We have talked a lot in the past about the health benefits of a pool and did a recent post about the benefits of water yoga. However, we wanted to reiterate this point because it benefits both you and your children or grandchildren. In the age of technology, kids are spending more and more time playing video games and sitting in front of a screen, but a pool is a great way to get the kids outside and exercising. Pools also offer a healthy opportunity to exercise with minimal joint pressure, so any age can find health benefits in a pool.

Keeping the Kids at Home

Whether you are a helicopter parent or not, we can all admit we get a little worried when the young ones are running around town. With a pool, every local kid will want to spend time in your backyard, so your kids can spend more time at home. Thus, you can have peace of mind knowing where they are and that they are safe. We talked about ways to get your kids in the pool here.

Cross-Generational Fun

How many activities can you think of that both grandparents, parents, and children can enjoy together? I would imagine pretty few, but here is one: swimming. With a pool, you can make sure both your kids and their kids learn to swim in your backyard. We have had many clients with adult children who were hesitant to buy a pool, but the ability to swim with their grandchildren made adding a pool worth it.

Aesthetic & Home Improvement Value

Sunset prides itself on making sure all our projects are of the highest-quality, and the customers see benefits. By comparing before and after pictures, you can see the transformational power a beautiful pool can bring, check out the video below for proof. The value-add goes beyond that though, as a pool can significantly increase your home’s market value, which we talked about here. The up-front price of a pool may seem daunting, but this increase in value and the priceless experiences along the way make it worth it.

Let us know: What benefit do you like the most about your pool?

UV vs. Saltwater Pool Filtration

I am sure in the past you have heard the debate between chlorine vs. saltwater pools – some of you may have had to choose for yourself. However, there is a new and, in our view, superior method for keeping your pool clean: UV also called Ozone. We have recently begun using BioShield, a UV sterilizer, in our newest builds, and we wanted to use this post to flush out the pros and cons of both UV and saltwater pools. In the end, it should be clear why we favor UV, and the massive benefits it can offer to both you and your pool.

First, what is a UV pool?

UV pools, and BioShield specifically, utilize an ultraviolet lamp to sterilize a pool’s water. The water filters through a tube with low temperature, energy conservative UV lamps that kill harmful bacteria and pathogens. BioShield is 99.9% effective at neutralizing bacteria and provides cleaner and safer water than most alternatives.

With this said, UV pools still contain some chlorine because a reliance on water circulation means chlorine provides a quicker bacterial remedy when needed. While this may sound off-putting, the chlorine levels are reduced by 50% or more, and even saltwater pools still contain chlorine. Even with low levels of chlorine, we believe UV offers the best solution for cleaning your pool, and we contrast the pros and cons to saltwater specifically below.

What are the pros and cons of saltwater and UV?

Saltwater Pools

Lower maintenance than chlorine pools, as salt levels remain relatively stable
Less irritation than chlorine pools
Still contains some chlorine
Greater up-front cost
Leaves white buildup on tiles
Corrosive to surfaces and equipment

Calcium build is up is 5 times worse on a saltwater pool vs a UV pool.

UV Pools

Very low maintenance
Instantly neutralizes bacteria
Less irritation than chlorine pools
Still contains some chlorine
Additional energy usage


We hope this comparison between UV and saltwater pools illustrated our reasoning for choosing UV, BioShield specifically, as our preferred method of cleaning pool water. The UV system is newer but gaining popularity quickly due to these obvious benefits, and we would not be surprised if everyone makes the switch to UV at some point in the future.

Pool Myths — Busted!

At some point, we have all heard a mom, whether it was yours or someone else’s, tell us to wait 30 minutes to swim after eating. Well, turns out this and many other pool “rules” are actually myths. In this post, we are going to play the MythBusters and dispel some of these widespread fallacies.

Waiting 30 Minutes After Eating Before Swimming

This is by far the most popular pool myth. This idea stemmed from the fact that after a big meal blood diverts away from your ligaments towards your stomach and digestive tract. People then assumed the risk of drowning is heightened if your limbs are not working at full force. However, while it is true blood moves to assist your digestive process, a person still has plenty of blood in their body parts to function after a big meal. This makes sense after all because, while you may feel bloated after a large meal and want to sit down, it is not like you are suddenly unable to stand. Some say not waiting to swim after eating makes you more subject to cramps, but even this is not proven. Myth: Busted – maybe mother does not know best after all.

Chlorine Changes Hair Color

Likely better known among the female community is the myth that chlorine can make your hair green. Surprisingly, chlorine has no impact on turning hair green, although it goes damage hair and make it dry and brittle. However, hair can still gain a green tint from swimming due to copper sulfate, which binds to proteins in your hair to cause a green coloring. Copper sulfate is a safe chemical and is added in most pools to combat algae, but the one downside is this green tint. If you are concerned about this effect, then there are certain “swimmer’s shampoos”. Myth: Partially Busted – chlorine is harmful to hair, but it is not the chemical causing the green tint in hair.

Chlorine Smells

Properly chlorinated pools do not have a strong chemical smell. There are only two reasons why you would ever have a chemical smell: yucky substances in the pool that mix with chlorine and form chloramines or if the pool is overly chlorinated. If your pool is clean and properly chlorinated, then you will never have the “chlorine smell”. Myth: Busted – only if your pool is kept properly clean though.

Peeing in the Pool Will Turn It Blue

Growing up, you likely were told not to pee in the pool because it would turn blue. Well for those of you that have tried peeing in the pool you quickly realized this was a lie. In fact, there is no such dye that even exists. Regardless, pools are not meant to be peed in, as urine contains bacteria that you do not want to swim in. Myth: Busted – but do not pee in pools!

Growing up, we all here our parents tell us various things that we take as fact only to find out later they are not so. We outlined a few above, but we want to know: What did your parents tell you as a child that was not, in fact, true?

Bismarckia on Fire! — Eight Wonderful Years of Tree Growth

Many of you who have been by my home know that I am a bit fanatical about landscaping, especially drought tolerant options (which we have written about herehere, and here). Years ago, we had a front triangle planter island with a Crepe Myrtle. This matched well with my previous house, but, when we switched to Mediterranean style, I decided I needed something more exotic.

That search led me to the Bismarckia Nobilis, also known as a Madagascar Blue Palm. The Bismarckia Nobilis is a very dramatic plant with greyish/green leaves that is very slow growing but will often reach 50 feet or more. I had a hard time finding a plant larger than very small 5- or 15-gallon containers in the local area, but, eventually, I found a 36-inch box in Chino, which was not an easy trip home. The troubles did not end there though, as we then had to dig out the entire planter to remove the old clay, 2 feet down, and amend the soil with gypsum, sand, grow power and new soil to continue breaking up the old clay in the bottom of the hole.

2011 – 36″ Box

2014 – 2′ Brown Trunk

2019 – 6′ Brown Trunk

You are probably wondering, why would I go through all this work for a simple palm? Well the result speaks for itself, and I have had several people stop by to see what kind of palm it is. Since 2011, the Bismarckia Nobilis has grown from the 36-inch box to a 6-foot-long trunk, but the best way to get a sense for the tree is to see it yourself. If you are in Rossmoor at Rush Park driving on Silverfox, you will dead end on Blume and you can’t miss the Bismarckia Nobilis.

While you are driving by, also be sure to check out the other fan-favorite: my Arbutus Marinus, also known as a Strawberry Tree, by our garage. It was one of the first planted in Rossmoor and has turned into a true masterpiece. We have seen the copycats plant their own, but I will take this as flattery of a great plant choice.

NHC Martial Arts & Fitness

Most of you have likely heard of or driven past the National Hapkido Center (NHC), located in the shopping center on the corner of Katella and Los Al Blvd, but you likely do not know the meaningful role NHC has played in the lives of my family.

Eddie was the first member of the family to join NHC in Middle School. He had gotten sucker punched at Junior Lifeguards and wanted to learn to kick some butt. He did learn how to defend himself, but he never expected the lessons NHC would teach him regarding respect, discipline, and self-control. It truly was the beginning of him growing into the gentleman he is today.

After a year, Eddie encouraged me to join Hapkido because he thought I would enjoy martial arts as well – he was spot on. We both worked hard to learn the extensive curriculum and conditioned our minds and bodies. In 2008, the hard work paid off and Eddie got his black belt. I got mine a year later, in 2009.

After all the years on the sideline, Alyson decided to try kickboxing with me in 2010. Like Eddie and me, she was hooked. We trained for 5 years, and, in 2015, we both got our kickboxing black belts. We continue to attend weekly kickboxing classes together to this day.

So What Is Hapkido?

Hapkido is a highly eclectic Korean martial art. It is a form of self-defense containing both long- and close-range fighting techniques. Hapkido emphasizes circular motion, redirection of force, and control of the opponent. Practitioners seek to gain advantage through footwork and body positioning to incorporate the use of leverage, avoiding the use of strength against strength.

Why NHC and What Do They Offer?

NHC is our extended family in and out of the center. Master Louis Kim is an amazing leader and helped us all to enrich our lives. NHC offers Martial Arts, Taebo, and Kickboxing, which are all explained below:

Martial Arts: focused on teaching students self-defense while emphasizing fitness, health, and safety

  • Teen & Adult: a healthy, fat-burning workout that utilizes both your mind and body to increase your energy, discipline, and fitness for a longer, happier life.
  • Children: Available for ages 4-14, NHC has been teaching children for more than 18 years in Los Alamitos.

Taebo (Aerobic Cardio): combines martial arts and aerial kickboxing to give you a total body workout while challenging your mind and will

Kickboxing: a great fat burning exercise that will help you get in shape while teaching self-defense

We encourage everyone to come join Alyson and me for a workout of Taebo or Kickboxing. If you are interested, give NHC a call at (562) 430-5263 for a free trial! You can also check out their website and see if you notice a familiar face in the Adult Martial Arts section 😉

Swimming Pools STILL Raise a Home’s Value!

The LA Times just put out an interesting article that confirmed pools still raise a home’s value.

It makes perfect sense to me because in Southern California most home owners are on the quest for Outdoor Living with the pool as a main attraction.

LA and Orange counties being top on the list of increased value and percentage of homes with pools. I suspect the number could be even higher in our little part of the Gold Coast? I joke with my prospects, “Pool or not to Pool?” that is the question as well for home buyers. Do you want a Mecca in your backyard for family and friends to be attracted to? I look back happily to all the decades of our kids playing in our pool that made the cost priceless.

Please take a moment and read what Jack Fleming of the LA Times thinks about the value of a pool.

Love to get your feedback…

Oh Hail, CA Is Drought Free!

All right already the rain can now stop! The snow pack is more than I can ever remember and it still looks like more could hit this season.

It truly is a nice thought that we are drought free for now, but we can’t loose sight of water conservation. In the past I’ve written blogs such as ‘Please Don’t Pick on the Pool Builder’ that have pointed out that having a pool doesn’t mean your property as a whole can’t be water wise. I am personally continuing to tighten up the water saving belt and still have a pool. We recently installed artificial turf in the front yard to permanently stop unneeded water use on a lawn. I installed a drain system that reintroduced any run off water on my property into the native soil instead of the gutter. We removed a fountain that was a waste of water and a maintenance issue at times. Newer appliances and fixtures are mandated to be water savers and energy savers. I’m glad to help you consider ways to become more water wise.

Good news, I’m excited about the upcoming river rafting season that has struggled in past years. Lakes that have been low and ugly will be full and beautiful. This weekend is the peak of the Wildflower Super Bloom in many areas in SoCal with many flowers yet to bloom as it warms up for Spring. We experienced an amazing migration of Pink Lady butterflies from Mexico that was a first for this 54 year native. Parts of Los Alamitos, Long Beach and Lakewood saw intense hail storm that dropped large hail balls. Thank you Amy Mora for this entertaining video.

Please share with us any extraordinary experiences you have witnessed due to this wet weather.

*Featured image from

Pool Tile Cleaning – Amazing Results Through Bead Blasting

John: Hey Brian, we have clients that have beautiful pools with tile that looks chalky and unsightly; is this because of our hard water?

Brian: Yes John, you would be amazed how many different chemicals and elbow grease it takes for a pool service technician to keep tile looking beautiful. Calcium buildup is thanks to California hard water.

John: What else can a homeowner do?

Brain: On average a bead blasting of the tile every 3-5 years keeps the tile looking like new.

John: And what does bead blasting entail?

Brian: With Precision Pool Tile Cleaning, we simply show up with our trucks and equipment specialized in calcium removal. We first drain the pool a little, only enough to access the calcium line, then we use the correct blast material for your specific tile type. Then clean up is as easy as vacuuming to remove the spent media and refilling the pool. We apply a sealer at the discretion of the pool owner, to make it easier for removal of the calcium when in returns due to hard water.

John: Nice, sounds pretty easy. How long does an average sized pool and spa take?

Brian: Amazingly, typically half-a-day to a full day depending on the size of the pool/spa and the amount of tile in need of bead blasting. We have completed over 1,500 pool tile cleanings per year for the last 17 years; that is over 25,500 pools and counting! Check out our reviews on Yelp and the amazing Before & After photos.

Check out the Precision Pool Tile Cleaning Yelp Profile for amazing testimonials. Call 888-300-8453 to discuss your pool tile cleaning needs.