What it is: A pool game my siblings and I loved to play (my mom taught it to us; I think she used to play with her siblings when she was a kid).

Best for: Group of 3 to 8 players.

What you need: A pool, probably at least 4 players, and a small white wiffle ball (one the size of a golf ball).

How to play: All players stand outside the pool, with their backs turned towards it. One player takes the wiffle ball, places it somewhere on the bottom of the pool, and then resurfaces. As soon as the other players hear the player resurface, they turn around and start watching for the ball – the goal is to be the first to find and grab it. A small white wiffle ball floats, but slowly, so it will take a while for it to come up to the surface. The players on the side don’t know where the ball might be, so they all watch for it carefully. The first player to spot the wiffle ball jumps into the pool to grab it. But as soon as he or she jumps in, the other players can jump in, too, and then whoever grabs the white wiffle ball first and yells “dibble dabble” (no matter if it’s the person who first spotted it or not) wins. The winner gets to hide the wiffle ball for the next round.

If you’re playing with a big group, chances are more than one person will spot the wiffle ball at the same time, but that’s okay. The rule just says that players are allowed to jump in the pool either when they see the wiffle ball or when they see someone else jump in.

A small white wiffle ball is very hard to spot in a pool (especially if people are jumping in and splashing around), so a lot of the game is usually spent searching for the ball, but still splashing around a lot to keep others from finding it, too. And that’s all part of the fun. 🙂

Strategies: If you’re the one to see the ball first and jump in, it could be smart to jump away from where the ball is (if you’re fairly certain you’re the only one who’s seen it), because most likely the other players will be watching to see where you jump so they can jump in after you and grab the ball. While they’re splashing and searching, you make a break for it, grab the ball, and yell “dibble dabble!” Or, if you’re the one hiding the ball, you can get sneaky and place it by an edge, or even on the surface of the pool, just to throw the other players for a loop. You could also, when all the players are in the pool looking for the ball, pretend to see it on the far side of the pool to distract your opponents while you’re still searching.

Variations: We always played with a wiffle ball, but you can play with anything small, hard to see, and buoyant-but-not-too-buoyant, like a toothpick, a popsicle stick, a golf tee, a toothpaste cap, or 2-liter soda bottle cap.


  1. Dibble Dabble!! I played this all the time growing up in Mesa, AZ. We used the top of an aerosol can. You know the tiny little white thing? Imagine how hard that was to get! Imagine how annoyed my mother was with all her cans inoperable… Im in my late 40’s and she still complains about it! LOL!

    Happy to find your take on this awesome game!


    1. Yes! I’m so glad to know someone else played! An an aerosol can top?! Wow! I wouldn’t have thought of that, but it does sound like it would make an awesome way to play. Haha, too funny about your mom though. 🙂

  2. Like Cheryl, we played this game with a white aerosol top in the town house complex pool in Tempe, AZ at Baseline and McClintock. This was in the early 70’s. The only major rules were no dunking or pushing. Splashing others and the Dibble dabble was an art form. Cannon balls next to others going after the D.B. we’re excellent.

    I wonder how far back this game goes?

    1. Haha I love all of these memories that people are sharing. At first I thought an aerosol top can would be crazy hard, but the more I think about it the more fun it sounds and the more I want to try 🙂 Thanks for sharing! That’s a great question. Would be a fun/interesting research project to look into!

  3. We played this in the Wolf River in Shawano Wisconsin in the 1950’s with a stick jumping from a raft. You could push the stick into the muck in the river bottom which made it come up more slowly. Dunking was definitely allowed! I had always wondered if it was wide spread or just a local game, good to know it was played in AZ.

Leave a Reply