Pool Party Ideas

By Emily Churchill

Created on June 14, 2016

From sunscreen to sunset, we have all of your pool party plans wrapped up for you. The pool provides a built-in entertainment center. Build your occasion around it with a party theme, decor, activities, food and favors.

Planning and Invitations

Choose a specific theme for your pool party. Consider by choosing one of these fun variations:

  • Pink Flamingos: This sometimes tacky, but always charming bird makes a fun summer theme.
  • Beach Balls: Classic beach balls come with their very own color palette and lots of possibilities for fun and functional decor.
  • Sweet Splash: Throw a few inflatable treats (think cupcakes and donuts) in the pool and you've got yourself a great start to a sweet and unexpected pool party theme.
  • Nautical: Although this theme conjures up images of the beach and ocean, it also lends itself well to a pool party.

Send out invitations about 4 weeks prior to your pool party.

  • Use a permanent marker to write the party details on a mini beach ball. Deliver the deflated ball to your guests with instructions to inflate for party details.
  • Choose an inexpensive pool accessory such as sunglasses, a squirt gun, or even a flip-flop sandal and tie your invitation to the object with coordinating twine or ribbon.
  • Order personalized invitations for a fantastic alternative to DIY.


Thoughtful decor will ensure the wow factor for your pool party.

  • Toss a few large floats into the pool to make a big statement and encourage jumping in. Look for fun novelty shapes such as a pretzel, whale, slice of pizza, or a swan.
  • Turn plain white paper lanterns into beach balls with a little bit of craft paint and string them up in the yard. Follow the lines on the lantern to paint each section.
  • Order a personalized banner to use as a focal point in your decor. Get creative with your text- Make a Splash or Murphy Family Pool Party Bash
  • Craft a quick garland out of sections of pool noodles or string up rubber flip-flops.
  • Balloons can be a simple addition to your pool party decor or they can make a much bigger splash. - Sink helium-filled balloons into the pool at varying heights by tying a heavy washer to the bottom of the string. - Use large foil letter balloons to spell out POOL, SPLASH, or even the guest of honor's name. - Hire a balloon company to create a balloon arch over the pool.

Food Ideas

You can't go wrong with summertime favorites like hamburgers and hot dogs. If you want to stand out from the crowd, put your own spin on this classic menu with these ideas:

  • Offer your guests a slider bar with mini versions of several varieties of burgers. Beef, turkey, and a vegetarian option should cover everyone. Kids love food that is just their size and the adults will love being able to sample a variety of burgers.
  • Go the BBQ route and serve a couple of kinds of smoked meats along with a few types of barbecue sauce.
  • Create a Taco Bar with sliced and ground meats and serve it with tortillas, cheese, beans, rice, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. The kids can get adventurous with their taco creations or just stick with beans and cheese.

When its time for dessert, keep things simple and cool.

  • Head to the freezer to pull out popsicles and ice cream sandwiches.
  • Offer a few flavors of ice cream and have an adult scoop out cones for the kids.
  • Set up a candy bar. Throw in some themed sweets along with your favorite treats: -Pool Noodles- Licorice in different flavors and colors -Beach Balls- Gumballs -Pool Floats- Gummy Rings

Keep with the pool theme when considering how to serve your food and drinks.

  • Use beach towels as table runners.
  • Serve snacks and sides in clean plastic beach buckets or sandcastle molds. Shovels make excellent serving spoons.
  • Drinks can chill over ice in a small inflatable pool or cooler.

Games and Activities

Ensure your guests are active and entertained with these cool activities:

  • Biggest Splash Contest: Select a panel of judges and have the kids take turns showing off their best cannon balls.
  • Treasure Hunt: Toss a handful of coins into the pool and let the kids dive for treasure.
  • Find an inflatable joust game and hold a tournament.
  • Have a water activity set up for younger kids that cant be in the pool on their own. A splash pad, water table, sprinkler, or baby pool should do the trick.
  • Marco Polo: Close your eyes and listen to find tag victims in this traditional pool game for children.
  • Sharks and Minnows: Guests will love the classic game of sharks and minnows.
  • Floating Treasure: Hunt Race around the pool and collect the most treasure to win.
  • Beach Ball Pass: Teammates take turns running to the finish line and back while batting a beach ball in the air.
  • Water Balloon: Toss Players will team up to see who can "go the distance" in this fun water balloon game.
  • Ball, Squirt, Score!: Two players use water guns or hoses to spray their beach balls toward each other's goal lines.
  • Water Bracelets: Girls will love making their own bracelets filled with floating glitter and beads.
  • Flip Flop Fun: Your partygoers will love decorating a pair of flip flops to fit their unique styles.
  • Edible "Sand" Art: Fill a bottle with colorful layers of candy "sand" then eat it!
  • Limbo: Just how low can you go? Find out with a game of Limbo!
  • Summer Coloring Page: Your guests will love coloring our printable Summer coloring page.


Ensure your guests are active and entertained with these cool activities:

  • Rent or buy an inflatable play structure:
    • Inflatable water slide
    • Bounce House
    • Swim up movie theatre
  • Have a photo booth for your guests to capture all of the fun moments. Include silly props:
    • Snorkel and fins
    • Lifeguard hat and whistle
    • Pool noodles and floats
    • Oversized sunglasses
    • Colored zinc oxide sunscreen
  • Create a summer pool party music playlist to have playing during


Make sure your guests leave with a token that will remind them of the fun day they just spent in the pool with you.

  • Add a personalized pin or luggage tag to a beach tote bag.
  • Send kids home with a disposable underwater camera that they used to photograph all of the wet memories they created.
  • Package up some themed treats in a favor bag and add a thank you sticker. Personalized lollipops are an extra-special touch

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