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20 Best Pool Party Ideas

20 Best Pool Party Ideas

Need to cool off? The best way to plan a hot-weather event is to check out some smart pool party ideas from the pros and then gather up some close friends. From silly games to refreshing drinks, pool party ideas don’t need to be elaborate or expensive.

One idea to ensure success — appoint an adult to watch over the kids in the pool or consider hiring an experienced lifeguard for the day as an added measure of safety. This will enable your adult guests to relax and chat while their kids are splashing in the pool.

Also, before kids jump in the deep end, make sure everyone in attendance has the requisite water skills to participate. Every child can have different swimming abilities, says Scott Leightman, spokesperson for the USA Swimming Foundation. Always have life jackets on hand for added peace of mind.

“Pick a fun theme, like a Hawaiian luau for your party,” suggests Tessie Barnett of GigSalad, an event planning company. If you hire a musician who comes dressed in festive attire, he’ll not only provide entertainment, but his look will help brighten your party, saving you on decorations, she says.

Here are 20 other pool party ideas and activities to consider:

  1. Match Food to Your Theme
    If your theme is “Mermaids,” serve fin-shaped sandwiches and create a shark bite mocktail!
  2. Decorate Water Bottles
    Check out these ideas from Kara’s Party Ideas, especially the ways to make use of recycled water bottles.
  3. Use Everyday Objects
    Old tin cans are ideal for creating a fun outdoor game, says Lauren McKinsey, a designer and party planner. Check out her version at Make and Takes.
  4. Play Old Favorites
    Just because you played it as a kid doesn’t mean it’s not a good one! A game of Marco Polo works for all ages.
  5. Start a Game of Tag
    Regular tag is fine, but try Octopus tag in the water. One person is “It” and tries to tag the others. When he gets someone, that person holds hand with “It” and they try to catch someone else. The “It” team keeps growing until everyone is tagged and holding hands.
  6. Toss Sponges
    Add a bunch of colorful sponges of all shapes to the pool and have guests throw them through a floating hula hoop.
  7. Use Cute Containers
    “Fill little buckets from the dollar store with snacks and treats,” says McKinsey. Try Swedish fish and gummy sharks to fit the water theme.
  8. Push a Watermelon
    Form two teams and see which can push a watermelon across the pool fastest without letting their feet touch the bottom.
  9. Make Fruit Pops
    Once the watermelon push is over, cut the watermelon into pieces and insert wooden sticks for an easy snack. A Pretty Life shows how it’s done.
  10. Decorate With Balloons
    Hang them from trees, string them along your fence or put them in the pool. You can play games involving popping them or fill water balloons for an old-fashioned water balloon fight. Then have kids compete to see who can pick up the most broken balloon pieces within a certain amount of time!
  11. Dive for Rings, Pennies or Toys
    Toss in pool rings, pennies or small toys and have the older kids dive for them. Careful, though, as these games can sometimes pose the danger of swimmers colliding.
  12. Serve Cool Drinks
    Go beyond lemonade and ice tea and try “mocktails.” Try Live Well Bake Often’s strawberry limeade, which only has four ingredients.
  13. Stock an Ice Cream Station
    Set up a make-your-own ice cream sundae bar, with sprinkles, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, cherries and some creative toppings.
  14. Make DIY Pizzas
    You’ll likely have a grill set up for your pool party, but skip the hot dogs in favor of homemade pizzas. Guests can stretch their own dough and then add sauce, cheese and toppings. Mel’s Kitchen Cafe shows you the basics.
  15. Eat Doughnuts on a String
    This activity gets people sticky, so a dip in the pool afterward is required. Tie pieces of string around doughnuts and attach them to a tree branch. Have your guests eat them without using their hands.
  16. Play Sharks and Minnows
    One person is the shark and dares the rest of the guests (the minnows) to cross the pool, saying something like, “Come minnow, come!” She tries to tag someone and if she does, this person becomes a shark, too. The last minnow standing wins.
  17. Judge Crazy Jumps
    Challenge guests to see who can do the most outrageous jumps into the pool. Have a couple of judges hold up signs with numbers to score.
  18. Shoot Some Pool Hoops
    Set up a small basketball hoop at one end of the pool. See who can score the most points.
  19. Smack an Aqua Pinata
    Suspend a pinata over the shallow end, fill it with waterproof toys and let each guest have a whack.
  20. Make Juicy Ice
    Freeze juice in fun shapes to keep drinks cold and undiluted.

Don’t forget the sunscreen! Be sure to reapply it after time spent in the water and you’ll be guaranteed a great party. Check out The Best Sunscreen for Kids — 5 Great Choices.