If you have little swimmers who like nothing better than spending time in the pool, a pool party is the perfect treat for them. Whether for a birthday or some other celebration, a pool party an provide fun for children as they splash around and develop an even greater level of comfort in the water.
Here are some ideas for planning a great party.
Plan Around a Theme
Themes change with the popularity of different childhood “characters.” Last year’s Frozen party may give way to this year’s Superhero craze. Who knows what it will be next year.
There are some themes that never lose their appeal. It may not be as politically correct as some other themes, but young kids go crazy over pirate themed parties. Little girls seem to perpetually love mermaid parties and older children gravitate to beach and luau themes.
The theme pretty much determines the rest of the activities so determining your theme early gives you plenty of time to plan décor, food and games.
How do you invite people?
There are options today that add no cost what-so-ever to your party: email and Facebook. You can also invite people via phone, but this has a disadvantage of leaving no paper trail to serve as a reminder or record of the party details as email and Facebook do. You can stick with old school snail mail invitations that you can purchase almost anywhere or make for yourself.
How do you keep the cost of decorations under control?
Your best friend for decorations is your local dollar store where you can get a lot for a little. It’s easy to match balloons and streamers to your theme without getting outrageous and if you use your imagination and brainstorm with your spouse or other parents, you can probably create some pretty ingenious décor from simple supplies instead of purchasing expensive ready-made decorations. An example? For your beach theme, use plastic sand pails and shovels for serving refreshments and scatter seashells as decorations.
What refreshments will work for a pool party?
You have lots of choices here! Who knows what pirates or mermaids actually eat but – again – use your imagination. Regardless of how well the food itself “fits” with your theme, make sure it is food that children like. If you serve it in a setting that reflects your theme, their favorites will go over in a big way. The pirate theme is easy because there is actually popcorn called pirate booty. You can make food labels that call favorites by theme-related names: Your mermaid theme could feature trail mix called “fish food.” Cupcakes and cookies can easily be decorated t match any theme you’d like.
What games should be offered?
Most of the fun will take place in the pool so water-based games are – of course – best. While older kids can pretty much be left to their own ideas, younger children need more structure. Races and hide and seek games like Marco Polo are always popular. Name your races to follow themes and dive for theme-related items. A great way to bring the in-pool part of your party to an end is to set a piñata up at poolside. It gets everyone out of the pool and sends them off with a few pieces of candy.
Safety is the most important theme.
Be sure you have plenty of adult help in keeping an eye on all swimmers. About 75% of all pool deaths happen during some sort of group swimming activity (in other words, at pool parties) When preschoolers drown, 70% of them are in the care of one or both parents, yet 75% of them are out of sight in less than 5 minutes. Drowning can happen in just moments. With this in mind, you should put another adult in charge of monitoring. As host, you will have many distractions in keeping your party under control. It might even be worth your while to hire a Red Cross certified lifeguard to “officially” manage swimmer monitoring. The cost of this is worth the safety of all of the children at the party, and will ensure your comfort level in hosting and ease any fears other parents have about safety at the pool.
Have a rescue gear and a first aid kit handy.
If your party is at an outdoor pool, have sunscreen on hand. You wouldn’t want your child to turn into a crispy critter at a party so make sure that it doesn’t happen at your party.