kids swimming in pool

With summer upon us this is a great time to start planning your pool parties.From safety, exciting games and even snacks that keep pool time cramp-free these tips will help you create parties that leave your guests hankering for your next gathering.

Safety is a key factor in keeping your pool parties fun and danger free.

Children and adults should have a good knowledge of some simple rules that ensure safety. Homes with both in-ground and above ground pools may consider a fencing option to lower the risk of uninvited guests dropping in or to guard against small children accidentally wandering into the pool area unsupervised. Pool covers and fencing locks add an extra level of security.

Teaching children to swim at an early age along with basic safety rules will aid in deterring accidents. For inexperienced swimmers life jackets and other flotation devices such as water wings offer added protection, although non-swimmers should never be in the pool unsupervised. A buddy system for older kids and teens should be a rule when the pool is in use. A buddy system can be a life saving practice should an accident occur.

For grown-ups a few simple rules can be applied. Keep glass and electronics away from the pool area. For the safety of all swimmers keep a first aid kit nearby and remember never to dive into an above ground pool.

Now that everyone is prepared to enjoy a safe pool party we can plan some games and activities that are fun for all. Games like Marco Polo or Chicken Fight are entertaining but with a few supplies you can take your pool games to the next level. Most toy retailers carry a host of sports-related pool games including basketball, volleyball and water polo kits that offer floating, easy to assemble goals and nets.

“Gather It” is a game that can be played by swimmers at any level. Adjust the timer and amount of items can be adjusted to to raise or lower the level of complexity. Scatter floating items like tennis and beach balls or swim noodles throughout the pool. To make the game a bit more competitive have each swimmer take each item back to the edge of the pool before grabbing another.

Water balloon relays offer a little bit of comedy to a challenging game when players are tasked with passing a filled balloon neck to neck until it is dropped into the pool. You can create time limits and add different sized balloons to for a bigger challenge.

Create a “field day” in your pool by adding additional activities to your relay such as tug of war and swimming through obstacles such as hula-hoops or around small buoys. Play in teams or with single players. Keep prizes on hand for the winners of your games. Air mattresses, beach balls, and small bottles of sunscreen or after sun lotion will make games that much more exciting for kids and adults.

No party is complete without snacks and beverages. Light snacks are best for pool parties; they keep swimmers satisfied and hopefully cramp free. Frozen bananas dipped in chocolate are a fun popsicle-like treat that will prevent cramping between swimming and snacking. Your punch bowl can be filled with a tried and true favorite like Hawaiian Punch and 7-up or a fun new twist like lemonade with a dash of blue food coloring to inspire an aquatic or tropical theme. Skewered fruit and veggies make snacking easy and reduce paper plate waste. For heartier additions to your table add crackers or pita to a spinach dip, hummus or freshly made salsa. Unleavened or flatbreads and heartier crackers produce fewer crumbs keeping your post-party cleanup to a minimum.

When it is time to take a break during longer pool parties and enjoy a more substantial bite to eat, cold pasta salads offer a boost of carbohydrates for tired swimmers and a little protein when you add chopped chicken or beef. Chop your green salad in thin strips with brightly colored vegetables such as red and yellow peppers and toss with a sweet raspberry vinaigrette to entice your younger guests.

Continue your skewer theme with thinly sliced chicken, beef or pork that can be precooked and easily reheated along with a starch like a roasted potato salad.

To end your pool party on a sweet note, make your own popsicles using fruit juices and diced fresh fruit for a nutritious, figure-friendly dessert. Pool parties are the best way to keep summertime family fun affordable and enjoyable. Remember to stay safe and get creative for unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.


Mary Forman

Mary is an educator and a parent of three children. She is the author of 7 children's books, loves arts and crafts and teaches parenting classes at Washington Community College.

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