Planning a Family-Friendly Pool Party

Whether you like to entertain and do it often or you prefer to have just one big summer bash with all of your friends and their families, the way to make a splash is with a pool party. Any party with water as a central element is sure to be a hit. We’ve already talked about some ways to make your kids’ pool party a success, but entertaining adults, teens, and families can be a bit different than chasing a swarm of kids. Here are some ideas to help you plan a fantastic pool party that isn’t just about the little ones.

Make a guest list. Look at the space you have available in and around the pool and estimate how many people can comfortably move around the area. Remember that not everyone will be in the pool at the same time, so include patios, decks, and yard space. Inviting an extra five people for every 20 you plan to be at the party won’t overcrowd; it will fill in for no shows and differences in arrival and departure time.

Plan your menu. While kids will probably be fine with popsicles and cookies, adults may prefer something that resembles actual food. In addition to treats for the kids, set out fruit and veggie trays. If your party is scheduled near a mealtime or lasting for several hours, you’ll want to provide something more substantial. Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs are easy to make and are perennial favorites for any outdoor gathering.

Provide shade. Your guests will eventually want a break from the sun. If you have mature trees or an existing patio with a cover, you’ll be set. If not, consider putting up some sort of temporary shade, such as a portable awning. Be sure that there is adequate seating in the shaded areas.

Think outside the pool. Set out a variety of games and other activities that will appeal to guests of all ages. These can be board or card games or something more active like lawn games such as croquet or even frisbee.

Be prepared for guests who aren’t. It’s inevitable you will have guests who forget to bring a towel, comb, sunscreen, feminine product, or other necessary item. Unless you want your party to be remembered as the one where the guests all got horribly sunburned and had to drive home wet, it’s a good idea to make a few of these basic items available to guests who need them.

Stock up on floaties. Whether it’s water wings, beach balls, lounge mats, or rings, be sure to have enough floating items in and around the pool. Aside from being fun, these items give a bit more security to your guests who may not be very confident in the water.

Assign lifeguards. With a lot of people in the pool, it’s important to have several sets of eyes on the pool. Enlist the help of other parents to help with this task. You can rotate through, so that nobody has to do it the entire time.

Consider making your party alcohol free. Alcohol and water don’t mix well. Neither do alcohol and family parties. If there will be alcohol at your party, be sure that it’s inaccessible to anyone who is underage, that the lifeguards haven’t been drinking, and that there are designated drivers. Have a variety of non-alcoholic beverages on hand. You can even power up the blender for some yummy, non-alcoholic, frozen drinks.

Have fun. Don’t get so busy planning and executing your party that you don’t have time to enjoy it.

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