15th February 2018.A child's birthday is a special occasion worth a little extra effort, not just because it's an occasion for the parents to celebrate, but also because every birthday is an opportunity to create happy memories that will last for a lifetime. When you have a birthday coming up on the calendar, and it's time to start putting your mind to party planning, what ideas spring up first? If you have access to a pool, whether at home or in a local community space, throwing an aquatic party could be an excellent idea. For active kids, there are few things as fun as donning their swimsuits and spending an afternoon splashing about before enjoying fun treats and goodies. Pool parties require a bit more planning than your average get-together, though ? so it's a smart idea to think ahead well before your child's birthday arrives. From food and activities to special safety considerations, there's a lot to tackle, but it's easy when you break it up into more manageable chunks. What can you do to make this pool party unforgettable? Let's take a quick look at how you can start bringing all the elements together. By the day of the party, you should be ready to have tonnes of fun too!

Basic considerations to make when getting started

First, determine how many children you expect to host at the party, alongside how many parents might stay for the duration. These numbers will lay important groundwork for figuring out how to plan activities, food, and safety. Make up invitations and safe-and-fun-pool-party-kidsset the date at this stage, then send them out when you're certain the date is acceptable. During these preparations, it's also a smart idea to think about if the party should follow a theme. What is your child interested in the most? Is there a particular theme they'd enjoy? You can base your answers on what's available and what's in your budget ? some branded product lines, like those for superheroes, can be pricey. Where will your guests swim? If you have a pool at home, you already know it will be ready and waiting for your child's friends. If you need to reserve space at a public swimming pool, though, consider doing so as far in advance as possible. Certainty in your venue will take a lot of stress off your plate. On the day of the party, decorate the entire pool area (if in public, check what you are allowed to do first). Set up separate stations for activities, food, and even a rest area for kids who don't feel like further swimming.

Fun and easy game ideas for the kids to play in the pool

While you're laying out the groundwork for the party, take some time to look specifically at fun games and activities to include safe-and-fun-pool-party-basketball-gameduring the party. The more you can supply for the kids to enjoy, the less restless they will become, and the better everyone can focus on having fun. Start simple: there are tonnes of easy ways to make up games in the water. You can use pool floats and foam noodles to create water races, or you can use rings and diving sticks for kids who want to compete at underwater gathering challenges. Basketball-like nets are also available for pools and can be a fun way to play a game of "keep away" or to play shooting competitions such as H.O.R.S.E. A volleyball can also be a fun toy to use in the pool. No matter what games you choose to play, keep the level of competition appropriate for the age of the children in attendance. Some kids love to compete against one another, while other groups will have a better time if everyone gets a chance to be a winner. Structure your party so that the bulk of swimming and games occurs before any food or cake comes out.

Feeding a crowd: novel ideas for pool party food

Speaking of food, you're going to have a lot of hungry kids on your hands once they're tired from swimming. What will you serve? To a certain extent, you can base your answer on what your child's favourite foods are ? it is their birthday, after all. However, try to keep it simple. The less time you spend focusing on preparing food, the more you can keep an eye on safety and ensure the safe-and-fun-pool-party-foodparty moves along smoothly. Pizza is a popular choice, and it's easy enough to both make at home from scratch or to order delivery. If you have access to a grill, BBQ hot dogs or hamburgers are always a hit with kids ? especially picky eaters. To get some more healthy nutrients into the mix, consider mixing up a seasonal fruit salad that's fun, colourful, and inviting enough to eat. For beverages, individual bottles of water or juice work well. If the weather is right, you can also make lemonade or a homemade fruit punch. The options are almost endless, and you?ll find lots of ideas on the Internet, especially on sites such as Pinterest. Ask the birthday boy or girl what they want to eat, make your decision, and be sure to check with other parents about potential allergens to avoid.

Should you hire equipment or purchase floats?

Do you want to pull out all the stops? There are plenty of services and businesses based on offering rental options for children's pool parties. These can be big inflatable slides, water fountains, and much more. Should you splurge and opt to bring in a third party for your event? It depends on a few factors. First: budget. Some of these rentals can be expensive, and they may not provide as much entertainment as you expect. Balance the potential value with the price. If one or two hours isn't exorbitant, it can be a fun way to take some planning efforts out of your hands. The other side of this coin is whether you want to purchase pool toys for the party. Unfortunately, these aren't often items you can safe-and-fun-pool-party-floatsrent for a day, though some larger floats may be available. Ask yourself if you'll be able to find a use for them outside of the party. If your family loves to swim, or if you want to encourage your kids to spend more time exercising in the pool, then they can be a worthwhile investment for the future. Otherwise, you might want to ask other parents if they have equipment you can borrow.

Keeping your pool party safe for everyone

These parties can be tonnes of fun, but it's important to remember that there must always be good safety around the water. Start by laying down some ground rules for the kids when they arrive: no running, no excessive horseplay, and to leave the pool when an adult asks. Be firm but fair when enforcing rules; tell the kids everyone wants to have fun, but no one will enjoy it if a friend gets hurt. Telling them this can help to cut down on rowdy behaviour. Designate one adult to act as the lifeguard throughout the day; they should always watch the pool and be on the lookout for forbidden behaviour. Find out from other parents which children are able swimmers and which are not. Identify risks before they become serious, and create zones in the pool where certain activities can go on, and other areas that are just for relaxing. If inclement weather occurs, be sure to get everyone out of the pool and into shelter as soon as possible. With the right precautions, every pool party can be safe and enjoyable.

Ready to start making up your invitations?

When you first sit down to plan a pool party, either at your child's request or as a surprise, the enormity of the task might feel daunting. There are lots of elements to pull together for any birthday party, but adding in the pool brings a whole new layer of complexity. When you go step by step and look at things in categories as we have above, though, you'll be ready for the party in no time. Plus, with tonnes of fun and unique ideas to be found on the Internet, there's no shortage of places to find inspiration. Do you have your swimsuit ready too? This article was written for Sports Fitness, an online store where you can buy a range of swimwear and equipment from costumes to trunks, and goggles to nose clips.