Celebrations

Pool Party Ideas and Themes for Summer 2018

Last Updated: Jun 29, 2018

Kick off summer with a splash by hosting a pool party with family and friends. Whether you’re celebrating a child’s birthday party or you just need an excuse to enjoy the sun, pool parties are the perfect choice. We have you covered with fun pool party ideas and themes so you can start planning those pool party invites.

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summer pool party for kids

Getting Ready to Throw a Pool Party

The weather’s heating up and you’re dreaming of sipping a refreshing drink poolside with friends and family. In order to make your pool party one for the books, consider the following:

Setting the Date:

Is there a particular weekend you had in mind? If so, make sure you let your guests know well in advance. Try not to plan the party during any holidays as people often go on vacation during these times. However, if your child’s birthday just happens to be on the 4th of July weekend, never fear. It’s easy to schedule a larger party on a more available weekend and throw a scaled-down event on the actual day. Also, make sure you pick a date that gives you enough time to send out the invitations.

Picking a Time:

Childrens parties are usually held during the daytime when the sun is out. As long as they have plenty of food, water, and sunscreen the kids will have plenty of energy for parties at this time. However, if you’re planning an adult party, consider setting a time in the afternoon or evening. This way you can plan for cocktails and have less chance of dehydration.

Finding a Location:

If you have a pool, is it big enough to fit your entire guest list? If not, search rentable community and recreation centers or ask a friend. Trying to cram too many people into a pool is never fun, so plan ahead to avoid any headaches down the road.

Planning Your Guest List:

Plan your guest list early so you have time to add anyone you may have forgotten. Also, with extra time you’ll get a clearer estimate of who can attend. This will help with planning for food and supplies.

Sending out the Invites:

Make sure that everyone gets all the information they need with enough time to plan. Sending out invites several weeks in advance will give you plenty of time for preparations. Make sure those invites include the who, what, when, and where of the party so no one is left in the dark. For more information check out our guide of what to include in party invitations.

Pool Party Ideas for Adults

Adults need time by the pool just as much as their kids. If you’re planning an adults-only pool party, there’s a few things to keep in mind.

  • Theme/Decorations: Having a no-kids party gives you more freedom when choosing a theme, so have fun with it. That being said, you don’t have to plan a party with a PG-13 rating or higher for adults to enjoy it. Find a theme and decorations that adults can appreciate without being put-off. Some examples of themes include Shark Week, Great Gatsby, or Beach Bungalow.
  • Food and Drinks: For many, the best part of an adult party are the drink choices. Add flair by styling your cocktail menu or mocktail list to the theme of the party. And when it comes to food, without kids, the flavors rather than a creative design will be center stage. For that reason, spend time picking out the right recipe. For example, you could plan to pair the wine you picked out with a tasty charcuterie board.
  • Music and Entertainment: Say goodbye to your kids’ favorite music stations and dance the night away with friends. Make a playlist with you favorite tunes, or match the playlist to the theme of the party. For example, a Great Gatsby party might include 1920’s hit song remixes.

Kid Pool Party Ideas

There’s few better ways to celebrate a 10th birthday than with a summer pool party. Make sure the celebration is everything it can be by considering the following while you plan.

  • Themes/Decorations: Play into a child’s flair for creativity when picking your theme. When it comes to kids parties, decorations are as good as your imagination. If your child won’t stop dressing up as The Little Mermaid, a mermaid or Atlantis themed pool party can be a great option. Or maybe they love the beach. In that case you can use sand boxes, floaties, and tons of beach balls to create the perfect theme.
  • Food and Drinks: Popsicles, smoothies, and fruit punch are all perfect additions to any kid birthday party. With plenty of summer themed food and drinks you’ll have your pick of the draw. However, consider a homemade touch to tie it together, like a birthday cake in the shape of a sand castle.
  • Music and Entertainment: Kids usually need constant entertainment at a party. Consider getting a mermaid performer for the pool or someone to lead an arts and crafts session. Playing fun, summer themed music is also a great way to keep things upbeat and lively.

Choosing a Pool Party Theme

There are plenty of creative ways to give your pool party a themed look. Start by choosing a party theme that sets the mood for your entire set-up. Decorations, food ideas, themed party invitations, and more will easily fall into place once you decide on a theme.

colorful pool party float for summer

Tropical

Break out the piña coladas, inflatable palm trees, and coconuts for a tropical pool party in the summertime. You can incorporate both Caribbean and Hawaiian elements throughout your party to create a paradise feel at home. Deck your pool out with inflatable tropical fish, parrots, bright floats and inflatable flamingos. In addition to pool decorations, you can add tropical elements to your tables by using flowers such as begonias, dahlias or hibiscus flowers.

When it comes to food, consider favorites like jerk chicken, pineapple pork chops, coconut rice, glazed pineapples and spiced shrimp. After finalizing your menu, you can set up a festive tiki bar with popular island drinks like rum punch or passion fruit mojitos. Lastly, customize a luau invitation to fit the needs of your pool party.

Flamingo

Add a pop of color to your summer by hosting a flamingo pool party. This theme is all about incorporating flamingo inspired decorations and colors throughout your set-up.  You can purchase pink flamingo ornaments for your yard or create your own standing flamingos from scratch with paper and wooden sticks. Finish your theme with a pink lemonade stand complemented by plastic flamingo stirrers to add charm. When it comes to the pool, you can complete this theme by providing flamingo tubes and large flamingo floats. Afterwards, don’t forget to send out some flamingo printed thank you cards.

Beach

Transform your backyard into a beautiful beach for your summer pool party. You can incorporate sand, inflatable palm trees, beach chairs and custom beach style signs. Consider decorating tables with seashells, pearls, starfish and other beach elements, along with sticking to shades of blue and sand for your color palette. When it comes to food, you’ll want to focus on fresh seafood to stay true to this theme. You can also turn your drink area into a cabana or a tiki style beach bar to surprise guests.

Under The Sea

Host an ‘Under The Sea’ themed pool party for your child if you’re looking for fun birthday party ideas during the summer. This theme is full of colorful decorations inspired by the ocean such as fish, crabs, octopus, sea turtles, and everyone’s favorite – mermaids. You can find a variety of animal floats and inflatables that go with this theme. Also, consider gifting mermaid themed beach towels as party favors.

When it comes to food, consider ‘Under the Sea’ inspired ideas such as starfish-shaped sandwiches, blue jello in clear cups, sea-blue cake pops, and blue lemonade. Consider buying small sand buckets to house individual snacks for all of the children. Lastly, choose a fun invitation inspired by the ocean, with sea styled graphics to set the tone for your child’s party.

Las Vegas

Take your guests to the famous city of Las Vegas in your very own backyard. Las Vegas is widely known for pool parties and this can be a fun theme for an adult pool party, with room for creative décor and DIY projects. The color palette for your Vegas-themed pool party should be red, black, and white, with hints of gold and green. You can use dice-inspired prints and poker chip decor to give your party a real Vegas feel. This theme is also perfect if your backyard pool has a built-in bar area or table. You can serve drinks while guests play a game of poker in the pool. Encourage attendees to wear their best Vegas pool outfit to make this idea complete.

Pool Party Decoration Ideas

After choosing a pool party theme, you can adjust your decorations to match the style and goal of your theme. There are always a few key items to buy for your pool party. You can take advantage of your pool as the main attraction by using a variety of floats to remind your guests that the party is in the pool.

Decoration Ideas

  • Beach balls
  • Floating coolers for drinks
  • Float beds
  • Small to medium rafts
  • Inflatable animals (swans and flamingos)
  • Food inspired floats (popsicles, donuts or pineapples)

Although some guests will be in the pool, you’ll want to set up tables to eat at and comfortable seating areas with decorative pillows for guests who want to lounge around. Personalize these outdoor pillows with fun summer quotes and sayings to add a nice touch to your pool party decor.

custom seating for outdoors parties in summer

If your pool party is at night, your decorations should focus on comfortable seating and illuminating your backyard area. You can hang lights or a string of paper lanterns around the border of your pool. The best method for hanging lights in your backyard is to place poles in planters filled with rocks and arrange the planters in a border around your pool or backyard. Each pole should have a hook so strings of lights can latch on. You can also hang tea lights with ribbons from your trees for a bohemian look or use petite seashell lights for a beach themed party.

Party Game Ideas for Kids

It’s a good idea to plan out 3-4 games for daytime pool parties that make the party more interactive. When coordinating pool games for kids, be sure to designate chaperones for safety.

Here are a few popular pool party games for inspiration:

  • Marco Polo
  • Water freeze tag
  • Watermelon push relay
  • Noodle joust
  • Ring toss w/ inflatable octopus
  • Relay race

Pool Party Favors

When it comes to party favors, combine functionality and fun when sending off your guests. Offer guests custom sunglasses or flip-flops before you part ways. These two party favors complement your summer theme and have future use. You can attach custom gift tag stickers that match your invitations to all of your party favors for complete coordination.

Also, don’t hesitate to mix and match ideas from different themes to make your pool party come to life.

Other Party Resources Guides You Might Like

Check out our other summer party ideas and themes guides if you want even more inspiration. Or, use these as an excuse to throw another summer get together.