One of your children has a birthday coming up soon, and you’re looking for a place to throw him a party. It feels like you’ve been invited to Chucky Cheese for kid parties way too much, so why not use that wonderful resource – your back yard pool.
Just let the kids swim. The beauty of the pool is that you don’t have to plan much to entertain the kids. They love the pool, and will just take to it naturally, so just stand aside and let them enjoy themselves. If their attention flags, have someone yell “Marco,” and you know it will be returned by a chorus of “Polo,” and they’ll be off to a new round of fun. There are some great resources available to make sure you develop a checklist to have an excellent party:
The interesting dynamic with kids at the pool is that they will devise games all their own that only they may know the rules for, but which will keep them engrossed for hours. Very likely little prompting will be needed. The kids learn to play games at the community pool, and that will carry over to the home birthday party. Just let them swim and have fun.
Do address safety. Check with each parent to make sure their child can swim before they get in the water. If some children are not too good at swimming, designate the shallow end for them to stay in. Be sure to have a first aid kit on hand, and keep emergency numbers within reach. Hopefully these won’t be needed, but do be prepared.
Who watches the kids? Take care of this issue, and don’t just assume “oh, we’ll all be watching.” Parents may chat with other parents, run in the house to get snacks, get a call on the cell phone – there will be a lot of ways to become distracted. If you as the hostess will be watching, designate you or your husband to be the watcher. Even better, consider hiring one of the lifeguards from the community pool. They have great authority over the kids, and will probably be listened to better than a parent, so you can assure a really safe pool environment. Once the lifeguard has to pull one of the kids out of the pool, or address their behavior, the kids will all fall in line, and the parents will relax more as well.
Bring out the refreshments. Just like with a party on land, there will need to be refreshments. The difference here is that you will have kids expending a lot of energy, so make sure to have plenty available. Burgers on the grill is a great way to go – it’s simple, you can cook a lot, and kids always love burgers. Have plenty of drinks and chips on hand as well.
Make sunscreen available. Before everyone gets in the water, make sure they have been covered in sunscreen, and have a table set aside with plenty of sunscreen available. Consider just stopping play every hour or so to re-apply as necessary, so you won’t send home a bunch of unhappy lobsters.
Entertain the parents. Most of the kids will be accompanied by a parent, and it’s a cordial idea to invite them to stay if they would like. Set aside a couple of tables, preferably shaded, where the parents can congregate and visit, while keeping an eye on the kids. Some parents might not know each other, so as hostess make sure everyone has been introduced.
When your child says “Thanks, Mom – best birthday ever!” you can smile, knowing your pool party idea gave them such a good time.
Kaitlin Gardner writes for AnApplePerDay.com. She currently lives in Pennsylvania and is married to her best friend. In her spare time, she loves to go hiking and enjoy nature. She has just started her first book about living an eco-friendly, healthy, natural lifestyle.