Whether you’ve got a summer birthday, a “school’s out!” celebration, or wanna host a summer party just for fun, there’s no better way to celebrate summer than with a pool party!
And we don’t even have a pool in our own backyard 😂… so I rented the local community pool for a few hours. You can do this during their “closed hours” and the prices were actually really good! We opted for an evening pool party so we could have fun with a night swim and a little glow stick action. Read on for lots of fun pool party ideas that are easy to recreate…
Even though swimming is the main activity at a pool party, it’s a good idea to bring in a few other activities and games to mix things up. I didn’t want anything too complicated & landed on a couple of creative stations + 2 simple pool games.
Everyone’s favorite? The colored sunscreen station!
I was a little hesitant about this activity at first – ONLY because at $50 for 6 small sticks, the colored sunscreen itself felt a little pricey. Especially since I was already spending money on the pool, cute floats, snacks, drinks, etc… everything adds up quickly!
But I’m happy to report their ROI was TOTALLY worth it in the end! The girls spent a lot of time using them (and were cracking up the whole time, which is the BEST). Plus, the colors were vibrant and we still have a good amount of sunscreen left, so these small sticks actually went really far. I bought the Sun Zapper brand in Pink/Blue/Green/Yellow and Sand/Green/Gold.
Next up… a different kind of “glow”. 😉
Pool Floats, Relay Races, & Glow Sticks
There are so many cute pool floats these days, and they instantly make it feel like a party! I mean, who doesn’t love being greeted by giant rainbows and pineapples, right?! ;) We also had a bunch of “ring style” tube floats that came in handy for pool floatie relay races. (More on this below)
Once the sun started to set, the girls busted out the glow sticks that had been sitting on the “photo booth” table and started decorating both themselves and the pool floats (see above).
Pool Water Punch
Okay… so this is one of those things that tastes WAY better than it sounds! My kids thought the name was funny though, so we went with it. ;)
The punch is a simple mix of Blue Typhoon Hawaiian Punch (1 gallon) + Sprite (2L) + Pineapple Juice (16 oz). Without the pineapple juice, the color would’ve remained a true blue. You can, of course, opt to leave it out or add some blue food coloring to help counteract the yellow. The kids didn’t seem to mind the color (or the name) though – this punch disappeared very quickly!
Speaking of playful names, all the candies got re-named for the party too… Airheads became “slip-n-slides”, peach gummy rings were “pool floaties” etc. I’ll post the full list of candies & their “themed names” below.
I love how colorful all the pictures from this party turned out… the sunscreen and glow sticks definitely helped with that!
Pool Floatie Relay Races
This super-simple activity is so much fun! ;) We competed in teams of 2 and switched partners every time, but you could also compete in larger groups/teams, as long as you have even numbers (or have 1 person go twice).
The partners start on opposite ends of the pool, with the starting swimmer inside the floatie. After you yell “go!” (or similar), swimmer #1 takes off as fast as they can to the other side, swaps out the floatie, and then the partner swims back. The first team to reach the *finish line* wins. Bonus tip: Record one of the floatie races in time-lapse mode… it makes for such a fun video!
More fun with colored sunscreen + novelty sunnies at the “photo booth” station…
This rainbow-cloud floatie made for such cute pics! 🌈
Pool Party Candy Labels
Here’s a peek at how the labels were made… you can find them on my website and edit the text there to say whatever you want them to say! I just cut them out by hand (the geometric shape makes this easy).
The candy jars are made from hard plastic, which I love because you don’t have to worry about breakage – especially at an outdoor pool party! (The jars are all from Party City.) I also used baker’s twine to embellish the jars.
Gummy Sharks = exactly that! Looking back I wish I’d labeled them “Shark Bites” or “Take a BITE”
Last but not least – I gotta mention that this is one of those themes that can work well for all ages! Most of the text in the printable collection is editable, so you can add names, ages, etc. to the designs.
This look would be SUPER cute for a summer bridal shower or bachelorette party too, in addition to summer birthdays. I can totally see my grown-up girlfriends loving this too. We’d probably just need a little vodka or champagne to spike the Pool Water Punch. ;)