Blog Header Logo

How to Plan a Cool Pool Party

It’s not always easy to plan a pool party. If you’re a pool fanatic, chances are you’ve either hosted or been invited to numerous gatherings in the past. And when that’s the case, it’s hard to come up with a unique pool party idea. Here’s a simple guide to help you create a pool party for kids or adults that won’t soon be forgotten.

Check out these pool party must-haves, and keep reading to see more fun tips!

pool party patio decor

Patio Decor

pool party floats

Fun Floats

pool-side snacks and treats

Pool-Side Snacks

pool games

Pool Games

1. Don’t forget the invitations

Receiving an invitation in the mail is so much more exciting than just getting a regular old phone call or an email. Plus, it’s your chance to impress and set the mood for your pool party. If your guests all live nearby, invite them to your party via a message in the bottle. You can buy clear corked bottles online here, or you can go the more cost-efficient route by buying any soda pop in a clear glass bottle. Just simply drink up the contents first and remove the label. After washing, you can add some sand into the bottom and stick a rolled up invitation inside. This is a great way to get children involved.

2. Keep personal items safe

Sometimes it’s easy to misplace things during the hustle and bustle of a party. It's especially challenging to keep track of your essentials while spending as much time as possible in the water. To make things less hectic for your guests, set out a wicker basket that can easily drop smaller items like keys, wallets, or phones in for safe keeping. That way, they won’t fret over where they put their belongings when it’s time to say goodnight.

3. Create a patio lounge for guests

Tell your visitors to leave their beach towels at home! Instead of forcing everyone to lug over all the pool party necessities, have an area set up with everything they’ll need to get ready for a dip in the pool. Lay out towels, lotion, and sunscreen so they can freshen up at their convenience. You can even create a mini lounge area with outdoor throw pillows around your pool, so that those who are not swimming have a place to rest.

4. Add some light

A super simple way to add some additional ambiance to the scenery around your pool is to light some candles. You can also add LED lighting. We have underwater LED lights, floating LED fountains, LED furniture, in-pool LED stools, and even floating LED rafts. Colorful LED pool lights will cast a warm glow that adds to the inviting nature of your pool party.

5. Make things easy on yourself

Everyone wants to be the perfect host, but if you’re spending all of your time catering to your friends and family you might not get to enjoy yourself as much as you’d like. But it’s your party, so you should have just as much fun as everyone else! Instead of running back and forth between your refrigerator and the pool for refreshments, why not get an inflatable floating cooler? It bobs back and forth in the pool and whenever anyone needs a drink to freshen up they can swim right over and pull out whatever they’d like. Just stock it up with beverages your guests would enjoy and they’ll have an endless supply of drinks at their disposal.

6. Play games

Pool party games really liven up a pool party. Your pool party doesn’t have to be about swimming the entire day. Surprise your friends with some unique pool party games, such as Swim Up Blackjack or Pro-Chip Island Pool Golf Game. It’s a great way to bond and have fun at the same time. You can even embrace your competitive side and play in teams! Pool party for kids? Why not try a pool ring toss game or some of our other classic pool games?

7. Skip the cliché music

Everyone has an acquaintance who loves to play those tried and true oldies at a pool party. Instead of playing the Beach Boys time and time again, play something that yourself and your friends will enjoy. We’ve all heard "Kokomo" and "Surfin’ USA" plenty of times at the pool and in pretty much any beach-themed movie ever made. Unless that really is your thing, don’t feel pressured to play it just because it’s something everyone will know. Make it your own by playing whatever you like!

8. Create a unique treat

Nothing can compare to swimming on a hot summer day. But you know what makes swimming all the more fun? Ice cream! Not just any kind of ice cream, though, but the kind where you get to experiment with your own creations. So why not have an ice cream sundae bar? You can do it yourself too! If you plan to do this or will be featuring other food items, be sure that when you lay out your food you don’t put it all in one area. Instead, have separate stations so people can mingle with each other and aren’t all crowded together at one spot.

9. Keep the spotlight on your pool

At the end of the night when everyone is worn out from a long day of swimming, it’s time to kick back and relax. To keep the entertainment going longer, you can turn your pool into a fountain that provides friends with a serene atmosphere while relaxing on the patio furniture. A fountain in the middle of the pool goes perfectly with the pool party theme, but why not take it to the next level by adding an element of style and uniqueness? Try a three-tiered pool fountain to create an elegant look. Or, if you’re more adventurous and like an energetic feel, try this color-changing LED pool fountain.

10. Give your guests favors

This step certainly isn’t necessary, but it is a nice way to show that you appreciate your loved ones. Besides, who doesn’t like getting free fun stuff? Start with a basic beach pail and shovel, and build from there. For the young ones, you can add adorable rubber duckies, colorful sunglasses, and beach balls or fun flying disks. Some of these favors you can use for the adults too. I know I wouldn’t complain about getting those cute little ducks! You could also add some mini bottles of sunscreen, mini fans, paper fans, and shade umbrellas. The possibilities are endless!

11. Delicious food

Use disposable plates, cups and utensils so cleanup is easy, and so there's no risk of broken glass around the pool area. Provide hand sanitizer, and setup a fan on one end of the food table to help keep flies away from the food area, or get some stylish outdoor food covers.

Since you'll probably be serving food on the patio, you want dishes that will keep well outdoors in the sun and higher temperatures. Tortilla chips and Salsa, pretzels, Triscuit crackers and cheese all do very well, but on very humid days, cheese can get all sweaty, and chips and crackers can go stale quickly when uncovered outdoors.

Fresh fruit kabobs make a great pool party treat. Use any combination of three brightly colored fruits, and slide them on a wood skewer stick. Add marshmallows for extra fun or to add a white color. Another great presentation is to use small fruits or chopped fruits to create a beach ball fruit tray. Other good foods that are easy to manage for swimming pool party guests are finger food like taquitos, pigs-in-a-blanket, hot dogs or pizza.

To safely serve foods that need to be kept cool, place the serving bowl or platter in a second (larger) bowl with crushed ice in it, and return leftovers to the fridge within an hour or so. Be especially careful with dishes that contain eggs or dairy products, which spoil quickly. If possible, place your pool party food on a table in a shaded area.

12. Make fun pool party drinks

As for beverages, water is imperative for a hot summer day. What's more fun than creating some special infused water for your pool party? Cucumber-mint water, lemon-lime water, or how about rosemary-orange water? Serve in a tall clear pitcher and set into a bowl of ice. Other pool party drink ideas include lemonade or diluted juices, or light beers (in a can). Put the drinks near the pool (or float a cooler in the pool) so guests don't have to get out every time they need a refill.

If you want to get out the blender, set up a frozen drink station where you can make margaritas, piña coladas and daiquiris (served in fancy plastic party store glasses). Be sure to buy more ice than you think is needed, keep the drinks cold and keep the frozen drinks coming. Always have non-alcoholic beverages available for your guests and keep a close eye on those who may be drinking and diving or driving.

13. Play pool party games

There are also lots of great choices for pool party games like pool volleyball and basketball! There are lots of free games you can play like sharks and minnows or Marco Polo. Relay races of two teams doing funny relays across the pool (holding an egg on a spoon, for instance) can keep kids busy for hours. For adults, you can bring Las Vegas style gaming to your backyard with our floating blackjack table or for some rodeo fun in the pool, try the Inflat-A-Bull pool rider game, endorsed by the PBR!

These are just some pool party ideas to get you started on the path to throwing a soiree that will be talked about for years to come! But don’t stop here. There are so many other great pool party ideas out there.

In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.