The Perfect Pool Party
The Perfect Pool Party
Though it may not seem like it now, summer is rapidly approaching. Kids are starting to slack off on their schoolwork and dads are pulling the grill covers off and practicing their burger flipping form. In other words, it's time to uncover the pool. But we all know that the ultimate pool day includes a lot more than just swimming. We've put together a list of some of our favorite pool games, as well as a few for those who prefer not to swim, for you to distract the kids with this summer.
- Pool Volleyball
It's no surprise this made the list, if you've ever seen a coming-of-age movie, you know that the ultimate pool party includes a pool volleyball net. And if you really want to make a splash, or actually reduce the splash, an inflatable volleyball to replace the real thing.
The rules to pool volleyball are the same as your typical volleyball court volleyball game, with the added challenge of playing while treading water. And honestly, most people don't even keep score while playing this version of volleyball. It seems like more of a party game, but it can keep participants entertained for hours, especially if you ditch the rules and play with two water volleyballs, turning it into a game of don't let the ball touch the water.
But if you have some hardcore volleyball players in the water, you could even get a tournament going. Just make sure you've got a heavy duty net if it gets competitive and people start spiking the ball.
Though obtaining a pool would be a costly process, both hourly and financially, if you already have one adding a net across the top isn't that far of a stretch. You can easily find a pool volleyball set with a beach ball and an inflatable net, or just any sort of volleyball system that has an adjustable volleyball net that you wouldn't mind setting in your swimming pool.
If you pick the latter option, you may need to invest in some anchor weights, or a bungee cord to make sure it stays upright in the pool. But the easiest option would probably be the inflatable net, that way it's easy enough to take down when you have guests over that prefer lap pools to an outdoor volleyball net.
Of course, you have to consider the pool size when buying a net. And rounded pools would probably make this a difficult game. But if money is no object, custom pool volleyball nets are always an option.
- Marco Polo
This one also requires a swimming pool, but unlike water volleyball requiring both a water volleyball net and a ball, all you need for marco polo is know how to wade through the water with your eyes closed.
And if you didn't grow up with a pool, or watch TV growing up, Marco Polo is essentially a blind game of tag. One person closes their eyes and calls out "marco", to which the other participants reply "polo". Then, using the sounds of their voices, the "marco" caller swims around trying to tag the others, or catching them being "fish out of water". If they get caught out of the water, they're automatically the next "marco" caller.
This one gets boring quickly for older children, so either reserve this one for the younger age group, or introduce a pool toy or two as obstacles to raise the difficulty level.
- Pool Basketball
Though it is a bit more difficult to play pool basketball than pool volleyball, you don't need an actual basketball court to practice your jump shot. And all you need is a pool basketball hoop, or even just an adjustable hoop that you can set at the edge of your pool. Or even a full sized hoop if you have an above ground pool. Or you could even find an inflatable basketball hoop and let it float around in the pool for an extra challenge.
There are so many games to play using a basketball hoop. You can turn it into a game of horse, around the world, really anything that can be done on an average basketball court. And you can make it more difficult by swimming out to the deep end so you can't use your legs to help you shoot.
- Nine Square
Though this game isn't typically played in the pool, there's nothing stopping you from throwing it in there if your pool is large enough. But this is basically volleyball the net, and every person has their own little square to defend.
It's basically a combination of every sport you played in elementary school. Four square and volleyball, without the skinned knees and sand in your socks, or the need for a volleyball net. Essentially, each player gets their own square and you bounce the ball up and over the poles until the ball drops in someone's square, just like volleyball. They then rotate to the last square and everyone else moves up, just like in four square.
This would work best in rectangular pools, just because the game itself is a large square. But since it's made of pvc pipe, it's easy to set up, light enough to drop into the pool when assembled, and won't rust if you end up playing for longer than planned. And you probably will.
But nine square doesn't have to be played in the water. You could throw it in the sand, on the grass, or even concrete. Just make sure you don't have too many divers if you plan to play in the driveway.
Cornhole has become increasingly popular in the past few years, and unlike the others on this list, not only does Cornhole not require a pool, I don't think it would even work. I'm sure someone somewhere has tried it, I'm just saying we don't recommend it.
But Cornhole can be played pretty much anywhere else. I prefer it in the sand, and it definitely works best outdoors if you don't want to break a ceiling fan, so this is the perfect game to add to a pool party for the people who forgot their swimsuits or just want to stay close to the grill so they get first pick of the hot dogs. Or just for the people who prefer beach volleyball over the aquatic version.
All you need are cornhole boards, or just two slabs of wood with a hole in each if you're more of a DIY kind of person, and a few beanbags about the size of your palm. You set up the boards about 25 feet from each other, each player stands next to one, and take turns tossing your bean bags into the one across from you. It's the perfect way to kill time before the food is ready.
6. A Good Old-Fashioned Trick Contest
Next up, a pool game that has no rules and requires zero extra equipment: a trick contest. If you didn't get to do one of these when you were 13 and you just finished seventh grade and you had melted orange popsicles drying on your hands as you belly flopped into your friends pool before having your very first sleepover, now is your chance. For the belly flop, at least.
While maybe it doesn't sound as appealing as sand volleyball or Twister or something a little more flashy, kids love it. They can spend hours hurling themselves into the pool and then climbing out and running back across the pool deck to immediately do it again. So if your goal is just to keep the kids from opening and closing the back door every five seconds and letting that crisp indoor air outside, this might be your best option.
A party classic for decades, Twister is always a crowd favorite. The rules are simple, it's a great ice breaker, and arguably more fun to watch than to play. But that's coming from one of the least flexible people on the planet, so I'll have to acknowledge my bias on that one.
I'd suggest playing it on grass, because people tend to fall. But other than that, all you have to do is spin for the color and limb, and then have the participants contort their bodies until they're sufficiently pretzeled.
8.Water Balloon Fight
The perfect game for when the summer heat is growing old but you don't have a pool, throw water at each other and call it fun. And if you want to make it a little more interesting, have party members partner up, tossing their balloon back and forth until one of them drops it. And if that's still too easy, have them take a step back each time they catch it so they have to throw it further.
And then make a game out of cleaning up the balloon scraps so you don't leave water balloon confetti all over the yard.
Another classic party game, this one is laid back enough that the parents can play and still be able to step away when someone ends up with a bloody nose when pool volleyball gets a little too rowdy. For some reason horseshoes is usually most popular with the adults, but kids can enjoy it too. Just make sure you have them throw plastic hoops while they're learning the metal ones can do some real damage.
The rules of horseshoes can get a little confusing, and there are a few different ways to play, but we'll break down the basics for you.
Within 6 inches of the stake - 1 point
Ringer - 3 points. For the ringer to count, both ends of the shoe must be wrapped around the stake, meaning you could touch them both with a straight edge and the stake would still be inside the shoe.
Leaner - 2 points. If the shoe is leaning against the stake, but not wrapped around it. Not everyone scores leaners differently, some just count it as 1 point like any shoe within 6 inches of the stake, but it's pretty common.
Like I said before, there are a few different ways to play, but these are the most basic scores. I wasn't kidding about getting some plastic shoes for the beginners.
10.Donut Eating Race
The final game on our list definitely requires the most set up, but fosters more interaction between the parents and the kids if that's what you're looking for. Basically you string as many doughnuts as you have participants onto a string. You'll want it to be relatively strong. Space the doughnuts about 2 feet apart, and have two people stand on chairs and hold the string just above the participants' noses. Side note: You'll want the people participating in this game to be about the same height.
Then, have each participant stand under their doughnut, and on "go", have them all start eating. Whoever eats their whole doughnut off the string. You can decide if there you want to award prizes other than the inevitable stomach ache.
But no matter what you pick, the warm weather seems to bring out the happier side of pretty much everybody regardless of the game selection. Happy pool party planning!