There’s no better way to celebrate the warmer months than by throwing a pool party with your loved ones. A pool is the perfect family-friendly environment for a party, with options for both kid and adult activities. Soak up vitamin D, enjoy poolside snacks together, relish in some friendly competition with poolside games, and more!
To avoid watching your guests stand beside the pool without direction, we’re sharing our favorite pool party ideas to keep your event engaging, entertaining, and, most importantly, fun!
We have included 11 activities, but you can personalize your event to your guests’ interests and needs. Additionally, we’ve listed some tips on preparing for the event, so all that’s left to do is send out the invitations and enjoy!
Summer Snack Potluck
If you’re spending all day in the sun, you will need refreshments to keep your body properly fueled and hydrated. If you invite over a large number of people, consider dividing up the cooking responsibilities rather than taking it all on yourself. A perfect way to get everyone involved is to add a potluck element to the party.
Encourage your guests to bring their favorite summer snack, whatever that may be. Hopefully, with a variety of tastes, you will have a table full of different kinds of snacks and refreshments.
Pool Party Food Ideas With a Twist:
- To add healthy competition to the potluck get-together, have a contest for the best summer snack. Give the kids at the party a sampling of each dish and have them declare the winner.
- Bring out the competitive spirit with a cupcake decorating contest.
- Set up an ice cream bar
- Donut walls — enough said. It’s part decoration idea, part delicacy idea.
Add a Theme
A themed pool party is second to none.
For a summer pool party, you can choose between themes like Hawaiian luau, carnival, mermaids, pirates, and more. The adults can have fun picking their outfits that are on theme, and as the host, you will have an easier time picking out pool party decorations.
Additionally, you can create games and snacks that are on theme. For a luau-themed bash, give everyone a lei upon arrival, have a limbo contest and offer a selection of kabobs and fruit. For a pirate-themed party, hand everyone an eye patch, send the kids on a treasure hunt, and provide them with a foam sword for their journey.
A must-have for the best pool party ever is a collection of fun floaties. Nowadays, you can buy pool floats in almost any shape imaginable: a flamingo, a taco, a unicorn, a rainbow, etc. They also aren’t a major investment and can almost always be found at a drugstore.
Blow some up and throw them in the water to give the kids something to play on and to give the adults a place to rest while watching the young ones play in the water.
You can even buy floaties that double as a drink cooler. With a hollow center, you can fill the “bucket” with ice and your favorite drinks with a hollow center. Place it in the pool and let it float around as your guests grab a beer or lemonade while they are in the water.
Don’t have inflatable drink holders but still want to add a summery touch to the food layout? Grab a few sand pails and fill them with drinks or even popsicles (with sufficient ice). These centerpieces are sure to make a splash.
Swimming pool games are fun for all ages and are a great way to keep your guests entertained for long periods of time. Games are particularly well-suited for a kid’s pool party, but make sure that there’s always an adult monitoring the pool area.
This is a fun game that can be made to fit any sort of difficulty level:
First, take five frisbees and use a sharpie to write the numbers one through five on the backsides. Place them face down in the pool so that the numbers face up. If the kids are stepping up to play, place them close to the pool’s edge, with five being the farthest away and one being the closest.
Give them a small splash ball and tell them to try and throw it into one of the frisbees. Whichever target they make it into, they receive the corresponding number of points. Whoever has the most points at the end of the game wins.
For the adults, you can play with the long side of the pool, placing the frisbees in the deep end and standing on the edge of the shallow end.
Underwater Scavenger Hunt
If the kids are old enough to hold their breath underwater for long periods, send them on an underwater scavenger hunt. You can throw pool torpedoes or larger items in the water for an easier hunt or challenge them with small pool gems or underwater rings.
To extend the game time, give each kid a list of items only they are supposed to retrieve. This will take them more time underwater as they look for their specific treasures.
For younger children who aren’t yet adept swimmers, keep it above ground. Opt for a printable list of items to collect, like a specific beach towel or a predetermined number of carefully-placed seashells. Make the party favors the prizes — for a solid effort, hand out dollar store goodies like flip flops or glow sticks.
Hungry Hippo Pool Game
If your kids love the retro game Hungry Hungry Hippos, they’ll go crazy for the water version. Put each kid on a pool noodle in the corners of the pool. Then, place plastic ball pit balls in the center of the pool. (To make it extra tricky, use giant beach balls.)
After counting down from three, the kids will race to the center of the pool and try to push as many balls back to their corner as possible. They cannot pick up the balls, only scoop and push the balls behind them.
This high-energy game is sure to wear out the kids (and provide entertainment for the adults).
If people are ready for a break from the water, but are still interested in playing games, they will love the yard games set out beside the pool.
A classic summertime yard game is a slip-n-slide. Kids will love the thrill of sliding down the slippery runway, and they will find it hilarious when their mom or dad takes a slide down as well. There are countless slip-n-slide options, some with fountains or pools at the end of the slide.
However, in a pinch, you can create a DIY slip-n-slide that works just as well. All you need to do is take a large plastic sheet, fold it in half, and use landscape staples or small tent stakes along the perimeter to keep it in place. Keep your hose running down the length of the slide, and consider adding environmentally-friendly dish soap to make it extra slippery.
Whether you call it bags or cornhole, this yard game is a family favorite at BBQs, birthday parties, beach parties, and more.
You may want to scooch the boards closer when the kids step up to play to give them a fair advantage. For the adults, keep the boards at least 20 feet apart for a sufficient challenge. You can even set up a tournament bracket with all of the adult guests that will last all day and give everyone a chance at victory.
Water Balloon Piñata
Most kids love the chance to play with water balloons. However, some parents dread the accidents and mess that can sometimes result from a water balloon fight. To get the best of both worlds, set up a water balloon piñata station for the kids.
To set this up, all you need to do is tie a strong rope between two branches or posts that are outside. Tie your water balloons along the rope using string, making sure the water balloons are about eye level with the kids at the party.
Lastly, give one kid a stick or small bat to try and hit the balloons. For an added level of excitement, place a blindfold on the kid at bat, making it harder to hit the target. Just make sure no one is standing nearby in case they have a large or unexpected swing.
How To Prepare for Your Next Pool Party
Now that you have a better idea of the theme, food, and entertainment that your party will have, it’s time to finish up those last-minute details:
Sometimes when planning an event, the most obvious details are forgotten. The most important essential to have at a pool party is a sufficient amount of sun protection. To start, be sure to lather on SPF 50 sunscreen and reapply every two hours. Also, put up some umbrellas or a small outdoor tent to give your guests a refuge from the harmful rays.
Additionally, encourage your guests to come equipped with polarized sunglasses and a sun hat. The skin on your face is especially sensitive to sun exposure, so protecting your face and eyes is an important step in sun protection.
Since most kids have a hard time leaving a pool and won’t want to just sit in the shade, rash guards will come to the rescue. This long sleeve, waterproof option will protect them from the sun while doubling as a handy swimsuit top.
Dress Your Best
It’s your party and time to shine brighter than any tiki light!
When hosting a pool party, the only thing you need to consider when putting your look together is picking pieces that make you feel comfortable and confident. You don’t want to have to worry about adjusting your suit or feeling self-conscious when you should be focused on having fun with your loved ones.
If you are in need of a reliable suit that will flatter your body type, stay in place, and leave you feeling like a million bucks, check out our best-sellers at Andie Swim. Whether you prefer one or two-piece swimsuits, high or low-waisted bottoms, maximum or minimum bust support, we have something for you.
Additionally, since you will most likely be in and out of the water and running back into the house for last-minute essentials, keep a chic cover-up on hand. Tip: If you choose a terry cloth cover-up, you won’t have to worry about trailing water into the house or sitting in wet clothes while talking to your friends since this material is ultra-absorbent.
At the end of the day, getting your loved ones together and enjoying a sunny day is guaranteed to be a good time. Adding party games, summer snacks, pool toys, and an exciting theme will only make the day more fun and memorable. Pick a few of your favorite ideas, send the pool party invitations, and party away!