How to Throw the Best Pool Party For Teens

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Summertime means laying out in the sun and splashing in the water. But how can you make a cool teen pool party? Here are tips and ideas to help you plan one!

Planning parties for teens can be tough. You’re not sure how much to be involved and you know they will want to do something fun with friends. Here’s my suggestion. If it’s warm out, have an epic pool party.

Of course, sometimes the weather is bad, or it just isn’t the time of year for swimming. If that’s the case for you, click here to see my ideas for both girl and guy teen birthday party ideas!

But, assuming that you’re looking at blue skies and fluffy clouds, here are my fun pool party ideas to help you and your kids have a memorable event!

Laying Ground Rules 

I know. I know. You don’t want to start your “cool” party by becoming the “uncool” parent with lots of rules. But here’s the honest truth. Both you and the teens will have the best experience if everyone leaves the party happy, healthy, and safe. 

So, start by welcoming everyone in. Take a moment to point them to where the bathroom is, let them know about the food options, and show them where they can set their things down. Along with all that, slip in some of your house rules. 

EXCEPT maybe try avoiding the word “rules”. Teens aren’t too fond of that one haha. You can just ask them to dry off before coming into the house, warn them of a shallow pool area, or explain any other things you feel are important. You don’t want any safety issues! 

The more concise you are with your intro, the easier it will go over. I just think that starting off your teen’s party with a welcome and set expectations is a great way to set yourself up for success.

Another piece of advice: always have a responsible adult nearby. They can be working on other things like helping serve food or blowing up pool floaties, but having an adult who is removed but still present can discourage rowdy behavior. Also, in the case that someone gets hurt or something is broken, they can quickly jump into action to help. 

Now, on to the pool party fun! 

Pool Party Themes 

The first thing to think about when planning your cool pool party is whether or not to have a theme.

Having a themed pool party can be SO FUN! It definitely isn’t necessary, but I think it can help you decide how to decorate and what food to serve. Plus, having a theme can make it a more memorable experience. 

Here are a few ideas of themes: 

  • Tropical Paradise – Have fruit trays with fun smoothies, floral leis, and colorful decor. 
  • Sandy Beach – You could have lots of beach balls, a flip flip decorating station, and American style foods like watermelon, chips, and burgers. 
  • TV show inspired (Outer Banks, Stranger Things, etc.) – Have party guests come dressed as their favorite character and serve foods inspired by the show. 
  • Pirate – They can do a dive for treasure, pool noodle fights, and use ship pool floats. Make the food look like treasure for extra fun.
  • Monochromatic – Invite all the guests to come dressed in a specific color. This makes decorating really easy!

Pool Party Games

Then you have to decide what things you will have at the party for your guests to do.

Playing water games in the pool can be so much fun!! When I was younger, my mom would take my siblings and I to the local pools and we would spend hours playing games together in the pool. We would start talking to the other people at the pool and convince them to join us haha. I honestly think that any of these would be great for you party guests. 

You just have to see what the group is feeling. They may enjoy the structure of doing a game all together or prefer to just hangout and do their own thing. And either way will be great!

Here are some of the most well known party games to do with your group. While you could teach them a new game, I figure it is easiest to do something that everyone is familiar with. 

  • Sharks and Minnows – This is a classic pool game! Essentially a few people are nominated as sharks while the rest are minnows. The minnows have to cross to the other side of the pool as the sharks try to tag them. You play until all but one player has been tagged and become a shark. 
  • Marco Polo – This is basically hide-and-seek, but in the pool. To play, someone is deemed Marco Polo. They close their eyes and have to say “Marco” and listen for responses from the players saying “polo” to get closer to them. When a player is tagged by Marco, they become the new seeker. 
  • Pool sports – Pull out a beach ball and play volleyball. Another popular option is pool basketball.
  • Pool noodle sword fights – If you cut a straight pool noodle, you can make pool “swords”. 

Pool Activities 

Not everyone will want to be hanging out in the pool the whole time. In fact, some people might not want to get in at all. Having activities that the teens can do in or outside the pool will help everyone feel involved and have a good time. 

Ideas for pool party activities outside the pool:

  • Have a Photo Booth – Those darn teens love taking pictures to post on social media. Have an area with a backdrop and items to take fun pictures with. 
  • Do competitions to win prizes – Some examples of competitions include best tricks into the pool, best dive, and rating beach towels.
  • Card games – Maybe keep these inside so that they don’t get wet. But have a few options such as Uno, Skip Bo, and Phase 10. 
  • Water balloon fight – Fair warning, it takes a long time to fill up water balloons. And not very long for them to get used up. However, it is an activity that gets everyone excited, and can bring some variety to the pool party. 
  • Squirt gun war – You can get a pack of like 20 of these for super cheap on Amazon or at Walmart. They can function as a fun toy at the party and make for great party favors. 
  • Food eating contest – Maybe do something on a smaller scale like whipped cream or 2 slices of watermelon. Your kid’s friends will enjoy rallying for a winner, but a smaller food for the contest will help you avoid people feeling sick to their stomach.

You could also have inside activities such as video games, pool, ping pong, a movie or more. 

Food for a Cool Pool Party 

I would say that it is a good rule of thumb to always have cold bottled water at pool parties. On a hot summer day, your party guests will likely get thirsty and need something to rehydrate with. You can also throw in soft drinks, juice, Gatorade or other options. Just make sure that water is one of them. 

Hot summer days call for food and drink options that can help your teen’s friends cool down. You could even set up a little tiki bar or drinks stand for them to come make a custom drink with syrups, grab a snow cone, or enjoy some ice cream. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that teens can REALLY work up an appetite, especially after running around and playing in the water. I’ve found that finger foods are a game. changer. Often the teens want to eat something quick before moving on to the next activity. They love things like wings, fruit, veggie trays, kebobs, and chips. Another go to is tortilla chips with dips (guac, queso, salsa).

You might also want to consider something more hearty. Typical options include hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches and pizza. You could also consider grabbing family size platters of your favorite nearby food places such as Chick-fil-a or Costco.

Decorating for the Party 

Decorating can feel overwhelming; however, don’t stress. A little bit can go a long way. And, the teens will probably be too busy having fun to really have any strong feelings about the decor. 

BUT if I have one tip for decorating your summer pool party,  it is to use color!! Whether you use streamers, balloons, or other decor items, you want your decorations to liven up the party and match the energy level. 

Another great way to add color is with blow up pool floaties. If you have a theme, it definitely helps to use pool floaties that match the vibe you are going for. Not only do these add to the color of your space, but these can be used for fun too. 

You can also try using colorful table linens, making decorations for your fence, or just keep it simple with string lights. Honestly, it is kind of hard to go wrong when decorating for a pool party!

Tip:While this isn’t exactly decor, make sure to have a bluetooth speaker. Music can totally liven the party and get people in a good mood.  

At the end of the day, anything you plan for your summer pool party will be a BLAST! Just know your audience and cater to them! 

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