Pool Party Plans: 5 Tips for a Safe, Fun Time

It's hot outside, it's the weekend and your kids' friends are calling. If you have access to a pool, it's time to throw a pool party. Here are five tips to help you organize a fun, safe get together for parents and kids alike.

Think Theme

In many ways, a pool party is already a theme itself, but you can get even more creative to make your bash especially unique. Throw a Jamaican-themed party with steel drum marimba music and lots of Bob Marley; or a Brazilian bash Rio de Janeiro style, complete with cultural food, music and décor. If you are hosting mainly kids, make a splash with a Hawaiian luau theme using beach balls and bright colors. Your party doesn't have to be expensive or exploding with decorations, but a good theme will give you a starting place for invitation design and food selection.

Hire a Lifeguard

Before your guests arrive, consider what safety measures you are going to take to prevent injuries. A fence, alarm system or pool cover at In The Swim can help keep guests safe before and after the party, but what about during? Decide on a pool supervisor schedule. Ask adult guests attending the party if they are willing to act as life guard sometime throughout the night. Have an assigned adult watching the pool at all times. Consider using a water watcher tag so they'll remember they are the one with the assigned pool-watching responsibility at the time. If they need to run to the bathroom or grab a drink, they can hand the responsibility to someone else. If you are hosting a large party and don't want to worry about assigning guests to water-watching duty, hire a couple of lifeguards by contacting your local lifeguard association or YMCA. Or you could pay two or three responsible teenagers in your neighborhood to come over and lifeguard for the night. Make sure they know CPR and have the right certification before offering them the job.

Food and Drink Frenzy

Your food selection may depend on your theme, or you might just want to have an assortment of easy, tasty, fuss-free items. Whatever the night's menu is, you don't want to be tied up tending to the food all night. Before hand, set up a beverage station with lemonade, water and soft drinks for your guests to choose from. Have a table with previously prepared mini salads, fruit cups, finger sandwiches and maybe even a snow cone machine for guests to snack on at their leisure. Sometime toward the end of the party, guests are going to get really hungry. If you are planning on the typical pool side barbecue, consider your non-meat eating guests and have more options than just hamburgers and hot dogs. Or order pizza and have it set to arrive an hour or two after the party begins.

Discuss Safety

Most of the time, guests won't arrive at the same time. In order to establish safety rules that everyone is aware of, include them on the back of your invitation. To help monitor the children in the pool area, limit everyone to a single point of entry. Make sure your guests with children know what flotation devices you have available and what they are expected to bring. Keep rescue equipment and a phone nearby, and have a plan of action in case an accident does occur. Who will make the emergency call, drive to the hospital or lock up the pool area in the event something happens? Make the decisions and share them with your adult guests.

Play Games

A pool party doesn't necessarily need planned games, but having a few up your sleeve may prove useful if kids get restless or the party hits a plateau. Most pool games can be adapted to whatever age group you are catering too, meaning they can be equally fun for kids and adults. There's nothing like a good belly flop contest to bring everyone together. Line up your contestants, find a prize for the winner and have the audience judge by applause. Other game options include playing F-I-S-H, the pool equivalent to basketball's H-O-R-S-E, except players do pool stunts (like flips and swan dives) and try to copy each other. This can be potentially dangerous, so make sure to establish rules before playing. Also, diving for glow sticks or toothpicks can be fun to do and hilarious to watch. With these tips and your creative style, you can easily host a fun, safe pool party for children and their parents.
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