Throwing a Pool Party for Your Teen's Birthday

Teenagers playing in a swimming pool

Michelle Pedone / UpperCut Images / Getty Images

While your teen might be too old for a birthday party that involves games and party favors, a pool party might be perfect. In fact, your teen might be willing to play games and do silly things as long as there is water involved. 

It can be an inexpensive way to entertain a group of teens for hours. Of course, you'll need to take safety issues into consideration when swimming is involved, but a pool party might be the best way to celebrate your teen's next birthday. 

Finding a Pool

Of course, if you have a pool in your backyard, the venue is already taken care of. But, even if you don't have a pool, you can still host a pool party. 

Most public and hotel pools are available for party rentals. Contact several in your area to learn about pricing and rules. 

If you have a friend or family member with a backyard pool, they may be willing to let you use it for the afternoon.

Safety First!

Safety around the pool should be your highest priority. Fun in the sun and splashing around the pool is great, but you don't need anyone to get hurt. Here are some general guidelines you may want to consider to keep everyone safe: 

  • If the pool does not have lifeguards, ask a few of the invited teen's parents to help you keep an eye on the party.
  • If you know an older teen who has lifeguard training you might offer to hire that individual for the day. It shouldn't cost much but knowing you have a lifeguard on-hand can take a lot of the pressure off you. 
  • All chaperones should be ready to get in the water in case of an emergency. 
  • If it's a public pool, there should be rules clearly posted. If it's a private pool, you'll want to create rules and explain them ahead of time. Diving and doing stunts are easy ways for kids to get seriously injured and you'll want to prevent that before it starts. 
  • If there is a problem, calmly pull the teen aside and explain your rules. 
  • Keep sunscreen on-hand and encourage the teens to apply it as needed if you're hosting an outdoor pool party. 

Party Decor and Favors

One of the best parts about a pool party from the parent's view is that most of the decor and party favors are already set because the party is in a pool!

Use pool accessories and beach items to add to the natural decor:

  • Beach towels and funky sunglasses make great party favors.
  • Beach music is a must. Ask your teen what she'd like you to play during the party.
  • Drape seashells and fishnet on tables and the fences or walls surrounding the pool. 
  • Use bright colored tablecloths and hanging strings of lights.
  • Buy lots of blow-up beach balls and float them in the pool.
  • Set up beach towels around the pool for conversation or laying-out.
  • Keep the bugs away and set a mood with citronella candles. You could also have bug spray available for your guests to use.

Organized Pool Games

Teens can entertain themselves for hours in a pool, but they also love organized games. Water games are plentiful and even more fun than those on dry land. 

Choose a few water games to play during the party. Have a two or three in mind just in case the party gets a little dull or some kids seem to be left out. You may not use all of them, but you will be ready.

Remember to move running relay games away from the wet edges of the pool. Kids should not be running on the tile anyway and you do not want to encourage bad behavior. If it is an indoor pool, skip those games or adapt them so everyone stays safe.

Food and Drinks

Wet kids will be hungry kids but they are very easy to feed at a pool party. 

  • Order a few pizzas or 6-foot long sub sandwiches and set them up for kids to graze on.
  • Smoothies are fun pool party drinks and homemade lemonade is always a favorite.
  • Skip the cake and offer cupcakes instead.​
  • Keep a few hand towels available at the food table so kids can dry their wet hands before diving into the food.
2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Water safety for teens.

  2. Jones SE, Saraiya M, Miyamoto J, Berkowitz Z. Trends in sunscreen use among U.S. high school students: 1999-2009J Adolesc Health. 2012;50(3):304–307. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.04.024

By Denise Witmer
Denise Witmer is a freelance writer and mother of three children, who has authored several books and countless articles on parenting teens since 1997.