The sun is shining. The humidity is rising. The temperatures are occasionally overwhelming. Summer is in full swing. To enjoy the #RelaxPlaySwim mindset over the summer and upcoming 4th of July, it might be time for a pool party.
Leading up to the summer season, we looked into interesting ideas that help throw celebrations that embody family and fun. If you have a pool, then you’ll probably have a lot of friends as the summer goes on and people seek a refuge from the heat. Pool owners that want to embrace their pool and engage friends, family and neighbors may want to host a pool party.
Inspired by some great words of wisdom from SheKnows on pool party planning basics, please find a guide to pool parties for kids and pool parties for adults.
1. Set a Date and Send Invitations.
In order to have a successful pool party, friends and family need to know about the party. Select a date well in advance because calendars tend to fill up over the summer. Find an invitation that highlights the basics, particularly, make sure everyone knows it is a pool party.
Also, include the time of the party. If it is not meant to be an all day affair, then indicate the end time. There are some subtle ways to let people know the party will not last all night by indicating light refreshments or lunch will be served. Of course, if the idea is to gather for the day, then just a start time works well.
For Kids: It is likely that some communication may be overlooked for a kids party. Be specific about the details, including address, time, food and other party specifics so other parents can quickly and easily know the pertinent information. Providing a paper invitation may help parents keep the date in mind because they can hang the invitation on the fridge.
For Adults: In the digital age, it may be easiest to send out Facebook invitations to your friends and family. This is probably sufficient, but also consider an invitations via evite or other party planner tools so non-Facebook people are aware of the party. These tools will send invitations directly to guests email.
An added benefit to digital invitations for an older crowd is customizable templates. Friends have lots of stories and occasionally some slightly embarrassing pictures. For the right crowd, feel free to include some old photos (and maybe use some Photoshop) to really generate some buzz and chatter in advance of the party.
For printable pool party invitations, then check out the free resources provided by Greetings Island.
2. Pick a Theme.
Some themes are great for all ages. The beach brings about a lot of summer memories because it is a common vacation area and really embraces the best parts of the summer. So a simple theme that works for kids and adults is the beach.
If you have young kids, there may be a sandbox in the yard. Consider adding some tarp around the sandbox and increasing the size. Add some sand and encourage people to build some sand castles.
Another great theme that works for all ages is the luau. Hawaii screams summer lovin’ and makes the rest of the party planning pretty easy. The decorations and food follow pretty seamlessly with this theme and everyone is looking for a reason to the Hawaiian shirt hanging in the closest.
For Kids: If the pool party is really about the kids, then there are some unique ways to integrate kids activities with the pool. To fully embrace the pool, select a water-related theme. This will also help plan events and activities. Either for a birthday party or just a group of friends gathering to beat the heat, consider these ideas:
- pirate theme for boys to walk the plank.
- mermaid theme for girls to celebrate the princess of the sea.
For Adults: Many adults may seem lackluster about attending a pool party, but there are some great ideas that help overcome that initial attitude.
- Movie night that combines relaxing on a raft and watching your favorite childhood summer classics.
- Retro night where everyone dresses like Mad Men characters.
3. Select a Menu.
Now that the theme is selected and the invitations are in the mail, the next step is the menu. An advantage of letting everyone know what types of food will be served is focus. If the party time is between meals, then check out these Healthy Poolside Snacks that are easy to prepare and great for everyone. If the party will provide food, then the classics never go out of style.
Depending on the theme, there are some great ways to provide quirky sides and main dishes that align with the overall theme. Of course, if there is a luau theme, then classic dishes like roasted pig would be a great choice. If the theme is not as apparent, then here are some subtle ways to pack a punch.
For Kids: Food may be a tricky topics for youngsters. There are some playful ways to use common foods that appeal to young kids, but add some variety to the decor.
Of course, there are some whimsical ways to provide some dessert as well.
For Adults: One easy way to provide food to your guests is the grill. Find some unique ways to offer some flair to your menu through some different types of foods.
If you also have a garden, then some typical foods may be tomatoes and peppers, which are great veggies to stuff and provide some variety. Since it will likely be pretty hot, then simply cleaning and stuffing raw veggies would provide guests with a cool food to help provide some refreshment.
To find some more great food options, then check out the Under the Sea board on Pinterest.
4. Plan Events and Activities.
There are plenty of pool games that will keep kids of all ages entertained. The key to engaging party goers is select a variety of events and activities that match the theme.
For Kids: The type of activities should reflect the common connections of the guests. If it is a birthday pool party, then pick a few of the guest of honor’s favorite games. If the pool party is a general celebration, then select a few games that match the theme.
- Treasure Hunt is a great for a pirate theme party.
- Pirates and Sharks (with a subtle name change) is a great way for a princess theme party. Instead of a team protecting a treasure, substitute a princess.
Also, games like slip ‘n slide are fantastic for pool parties. Since too much time in the water can be a bit much, games outside the pool that let kids work off some energy are great. The pool is a great way to let them cool off after all the fun.
For Adults: The activity levels may be a little different for adults, but there should still be some plans to get guests moving around. Around a pool, everyone still acts like a kid, so there may be some eye rolls, but these games should go over quite well.
- Volleyball (either in the pool or outside)
- Pool Basketball
Classic lawn games are ways for adults with various competitive levels remain active. Pool basketball can allow guests to simply shoot around and play a leisurely game while reminiscing about younger years.
For more outdoor games, check out 10 Games in 15 Minutes or Less from Bluegrass Redhead that work for kids of all ages.
5. Don’t Forget the Decor.
The beauty of summer celebrations is the flexibility of ideas. Check out some of these Graduation Party Ideas and apply them to any type of pool party. A key part of the decor are the safety precautions. It is the summer, so watch out for the heat. In general, here are some tips and tricks to provide some amenities that fit into the party decor.
One great way to keep guests at ease is clearly indicate the changing area. Guests may not want to be in wet clothes all day (particularly for day long parties), so let everyone know where to change.
- Provide extra towels, flip flops, t-shirts, etc. for some forgetful friends and family.
- Set up extra umbrellas to provide some additional shade.
- Use plastic glasses (or avoid glass) since many people will be barefoot.
- Include spray bottles filled with water in the ice buckets to cool off.
- Ask some friends to bring some extra pool toys and floats so there is plenty pool lounging.
- Add a few extra tables so people can rest food and beverages.
For some extra safety (for kids and adults), then:
- Clearly mark the pool depth for safety.
- Consider hiring some lifeguards (check with your local YMCA) to ensure there is sufficient supervision (especially for kids or adult parties with alcohol).
- Ensure pool parts and accessories are secure and the pool is in good condition.
An interesting way to keep the poolside safe as the day turns to night are glow in the dark toys and lighting. For kids, simply drop some glow-in-the-dark sticks into the pool to create a cool ambiance.
As Divine Caroline shows, this can also work for adults as well.
It’s been a long day and every party planner deserves some rest and relaxation. Sit back and soak up the sun and fun.
What are your favorite pool party tips and tricks? Please join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook to find out more great pool party ideas!