Looking for Fun Lake/Swimming Activities and Games I Can Play by Myself
August 15, 2014 8:19 AM   Subscribe

What are fun games and activities I can play in a lake with little or no equipment and ideally no other people?

My family and I will be spending a week in a cabin on a lake which I'm really excited about! I love lakes and I love swimming. In fact, I love being in water more than anyone else in my family (who do like swimming, just not as much as I do), so I'm looking for suggestions for stuff to do when I'm the only one who wants to swim, even if these suggestions sound silly.

Something I've enjoyed in the past is having someone throw a tennis ball off a dock and jumping to catch it in the air. I also like having someone shout the name of an animal as I jump and then trying to make the right animal noise before I go underwater. Unfortunately, these both require other people. What can I do by myself that involves being in the lake or jumping into the lake or whatever? I'm not looking for anything too athletic but I do like balancing on stuff if that helps. I'm really not able to bring a lot of equipment so anything much outside the tennis ball range is off the table. I already bring books in the water to read. That said, no idea is too silly, I'm just looking for ways to occupy the delightful time I am in a lake.

I'd be happy to get some suggestions for things that involve other people, but mostly I'm looking for stuff I can do on my own. Thanks for any ideas you have!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: -Snorkel. I know you said not much more gear is possible, but maybe there's a set at the cabin already.
-Build underwater earthworks--cairns, stone walls, a miniature Spiral Jetty.
-Three tennis balls --> learn to juggle in waist high water. You won't have to go far to retrieve your drops.
posted by hydrophonic at 8:25 AM on August 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: My wife and daughter like to choreograph theoretical synchronized swimming routines with each other, and that's something you could do by yourself.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:26 AM on August 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Build a raft out of whatever is lying around the cabin (Buckets? Wood? A cooler? Soda bottles? String)
Learn to dive and do fancy dives
Throw stuff in the water, like a handful of change, and then find it.
posted by steinwald at 8:29 AM on August 15, 2014

Best answer: A mask and snorkel is not too big, no bigger than a pair of shoes, really, but could occupy you for endless hours. I spent whole summers, it seems, snorkeling in the lake as a kid. Fish are really fun to chase, but don't get too close to the turtles.
posted by bonehead at 8:30 AM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I always liked to pretend I'm a ferryboat. I swim with my back as flat as possible and carry tiny, imaginary passengers between the dock, the rocky outcropping, and the No Diving sign.
posted by mochapickle at 8:44 AM on August 15, 2014 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Inflatable beach ball. Not much bigger than a tennis ball when deflated. Play the can I sit/lay on the ball and keep it under water without it shooting up in the air and knocking me off game among a huge range of others.

Cheap pool diving toys. I always liked to fling them behind me and then try to find them all. Make them cheap because in a lake chances are you'll loose some. Combine well with snorkel & mask which would be another fun thing to take if you can squeeze it in, if not at least a small pair of swim goggles so you can look around underwater.

The how long can I hold my breath and float face down looking at things through my goggles game which can also become the can I hold my breath long enough to freak out watching family members game. I love floating in water either face up or face down and just drifting, I spent my childhood scaring the crap out of my mother.
posted by wwax at 8:54 AM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If the water is clear enough, you can throw golf balls in the water then dive down to get them. I do this in Skaneateles Lake and it's a blast.
posted by jshort at 9:03 AM on August 15, 2014

Best answer: Cheap inflatable rafts don't take up a lot of room (deflated) and they're nice for even just sitting on. I like to sit on them and use what I find on the lakeshore as a paddle and just putz around. Also, few things in life are as pleasant as reading on a raft in a lake with the sky above - it's the perfect time to read "fun" literature. And poetry. I love floating in lakes reading poetry, and working on memorizing a poem and then reciting it as I float on my back, doing a half-hearted backstroke and looking up at the blue sky and fluffy clouds....

Playing the alphabet game - I use the freedom of the water to make letters of the alphabet with my body.

Laze around in the water and make up stories for the people you see on the shore.

Get a fish ID guide at a local store and using goggles, try to ID as many fish as you can.

Play "tag" with the shadows of clouds - try to not let the edge touch you or stay in the cloud shadow as it moves.

Balance something like a soda can on your belly while floating on your back.

With your head underwater, make whale songs. See if people can hear you - particularly fun with other people's kids nearby, haha

Have fun with a water rocket launcher or a water gun.
posted by barchan at 9:31 AM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These are great, thanks!

My wife and daughter like to choreograph theoretical synchronized swimming routines with each other, and that's something you could do by yourself.

Unfortunately I don't think I'm allowed to do this by myself as water ballet time is reserved for being with my dad. We used to do this on the beach in Nantucket and a reserved older British couple once said to us "we loved your performance ahht."
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:38 AM on August 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Try to swim with your feet crossed at the ankles and pretend to be a mermaid! Bonus points for singing songs from The Little Mermaid.
posted by Juliet Banana at 12:55 PM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Can you get to water that's just below your nose (or, with mask/snorkel, just above your head? If so, walk along the bottom and enjoy the weird feeling of being unable to speed up your limbs!

Get a floaty raft or pool noodle. This is now your noble steed. You must ride astride as fast as possible, or silently, or without using your legs.
posted by blnkfrnk at 2:46 PM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

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