How to Play Marco Polo

It's the coolest pool party game ever named after a 13th-century explorer. Marco Polo is a perfect way to cool down and have fun.


Up next in Summer Fun (31 videos)

You've waited all year and now it's here: summer vacation! We've got your checklist of must-do's.

You Will Need

  • Friends
  • A pool


  1. Never run along the side of a pool. Children should always swim with adult supervision.

  2. Step 1

    Grab some friends

    Marco Polo works best if you’ve got a ton of friends with you. Pick a sunny day, organize a trip to a local pool or a back yard oasis, and dive on in.

  3. Step 2

    Pick a Marco

    Pick someone to be 'it' or 'Marco,' and have them swim to the opposite end of the pool. As is tradition, feel free to taunt this person mercilessly.

  4. Step 3

    Count down

    Marco has to close their eyes, and keep them closed throughout the game. Marco then counts to ten, which is everyone’s first chance to scatter around the pool. Be creative with your hiding place, and always keep moving, but whatever you do, don’t get out of the water!

  5. Step 4

    Heed the call of Marco

    When the Marco is done counting to ten, they’ll shout 'Marco!' Everyone then has to shout the response call, 'Polo.' This shouting process is like sonar, and Marco can call out as much as he or she wants. Everyone has to respond.

  6. If you don’t shout 'Polo,' Marco can call you out on it. If Marco’s right, and you didn’t respond, you automatically become the next Marco.

  7. Step 5

    Don't get caught

    Now, it’s Marco’s job to swim around the pool trying to find a victim. Just like tag, if Marco touches you, you’re the new Marco.

  8. Step 6

    Be a fish out of water

    In one version of the game, only Marco has to remain fully in the pool at all times. Everyone else can slip in and out as they want—but if Marco shouts 'Fish out of water!' while someone is out of the pool, they become the new Marco. If there is more than one person caught, Marco chooses the loser.

  9. Marco Polo’s account of his travels in China introduced the concept of paper money to the West.