Summer birthdays are the best—school is out, frozen treats abound and the pool is open for business. But if you’re a tad intimidated by the prospect of hosting a pool party for a group of youngsters, we don’t blame you. Fortunately, we have some pool party ideas for kids’ birthdays that ensure a safe and successful bash. Read on and start planning.
Innertubes are fine, but you can do better. In case you missed it, pool floats have been taken to a whole new level as of late; spring for some of the more over-the-top options available and the wow factor will get guests excited from the second they lay eyes on the pool. (Psst: We’re fans of this float for raucous water play, while this disco ball number is sure to be a hit with tweens and teens.)
Without some games to keep them entertained, kids are liable to get bored of being in the pool. Avoid this bummer scenario by getting partygoers to participate in a few popular pool games as soon as free play starts to fizzle out.
A solid theme makes any bash feel more festive, and when it comes to summer pool parties, the beach theme is a no-brainer. Scatter beach balls on the lawn and in the pool, hang a flip-flop garland and have baskets filled with beach towels that guests can grab when they’re ready to dry off.
Swap beach buckets in for the standard goodie bag and fill them with poolside essentials like water shooters, jelly sandals, lip balm, sunglasses and diving toys. Then, hand out the party favors as guests arrive so they can put them to use right away.
Brightly colored decorations are a must, so be sure to deck out your outdoor space with boatloads of ‘em. Vibrant, tropical-themed paper decorations make for a particularly festive (read: Insta-worthy) pool deck display, so don’t be shy.
If it’s still steamy after the sun goes down, consider hosting an evening pool party instead. For starters, there will be no need for constant sunscreen reapplication—a relief for parents and kids alike. Plus, the novelty of a nighttime swim will make the bash feel even more magical—just be sure to string fairy lights up around the yard and add some glow-in-the-dark flair to the pool.
The difference between a party and a snoozefest all comes down to the soundtrack, friends. Get your kid to collaborate with you on a playlist that includes all their favorite pop hits, plus some timeless jams that everyone can get down with.
This one requires little explanation: Every kid will want to get their pruney hands on a cheesy slice after a stint in the pool.
The secret to a successful pool party for kids is to cap the festivities at around the two hour mark. Anything longer and you might have a handful of bored and sun-weary young guests on your hands (and you definitely don’t want them to take the party indoors).
We touched on this already, but it’s a good idea to have enough supplies on-hand for every guest in attendance. Stock up on beach towels, sunscreen, swim goggles, floaties and first aid supplies, so you have all the bases covered on the big day.
Hand each kid a pool noodle so they can use their foam floats as a weapon during a game of chicken.
Little Mermaid, Moana, Lilo & Stitch—there are several Disney favorites you can incorporate into a party motif for the under-ten set. (How cute are these juice pouch labels?)
Fresh fruit and finger foods that kids can eat on the go are ideal pool party fare. Have some cheese sticks on ice, bust out a massive bowl of popcorn or potato chips, fill the fruit bowl with easy-to peel tangerines and keep the watermelon coming. Bottom line: Everyone wins when there’s a kid-friendly snack bar that excited partygoers can enjoy without having to sit and eat off a plate.
A colossal mess is the last thing you’ll want to contend with after hosting a group of rambunctious kids in your backyard; it’s also a likely outcome unless you plan ahead. Fortunately, this is pretty simple—just hang up some contractor-size trash bags in a few different locations so kids don’t have to go out of their way in order to put their garbage where it belongs.
If you’ve got a barbie in your backyard, skip the pizza and grill up some burgers and dogs for a kid-friendly and oh-so summery feast. Bonus points if you turn it into a Hawaiian-themed luau and get the kids to eat some seafood.
Cake is the main event at any birthday party; needless to say, a frosty ice cream cake at a summer pool party just makes sense.
You can’t have a tween party without a selfie photo opp…and yet, smart phones and water simply don’t mix. The solution? Rent a photo booth or create a photo station away from the pool that partygoers can pop into whenever they please—don’t skimp on the props.
Sun safety cannot be neglected at a summer pool party, and there’s a good chance partygoers will need to re-up on sunscreen throughout the event. Set up a fully stocked station where kids can go (perhaps with a little prompting) as needed, so the task is relatively hassle-free.
A pool party after sundown is basically begging for a projector screen and a backyard viewing of Jaws (just sayin’).