From pool party games to tropical décor, parents are sharing a list of awesome kid pool party ideas that really make a splash! Consider a few of our favorite backyard sprinklers and water toys flair for the party, too. Here are some fun and easy ways to throw this summer's best pool party for kids!

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    Sponge Balls

    Alexandra F.:  We made these reusable sponge balls as an activity at my son’s pool party, and then sent the kids home with them as a party favor, along with a sand bucket and shovel. It was awesome! We precut a bunch of different colored sponges into strips, then had the kids assemble them at the party. We used them for years afterward as a more eco-friendly alternative to water balloons.

    Scavenger Dive

    Shila:  It's good to have a few prepared games on your list of kid pool party ideas, just in case the group needs an organized activity to bring everyone together. One of the easiest pool party games for kids is having a scavenger hunt dive!

    While kids have their eyes shut, throw in a bunch of pool-safe, sinkable items (e.g., diving rings) for players to jump-in, seek and retrieve. They can either collect as many as they can, or recover specific items the referee calls out by name.

    Tip: if you throw in a clear and filled plastic water bottle, it will sink and remain moderately camouflaged. It can be a fun challenge item for kids to hunt!

    Inflatable Volleyball Net

    Shila:  Easy and welcoming pool accessories are terrific items to have for a kids pool party. An inflatable volleyball net that floats in the pool will encourage multiple kids to play together at once. Use a beach ball or an actual volleyball, depending on player ability.

    Water Balloon Toss Minute-To-Win-It Game

    Shila:  I've seen a "minute to win it game" with water balloons played at a picnic before and it would work well at a pool party for kids, too!

    Each team of 3 or more stands in a straight line about 6-10 feet apart. There are two buckets at each end, one of which contains dozens of pre-filled water balloons, and the other bucket starts off empty.

    Start the timer for kids to gently hand toss each water balloon down the line in order to ultimately transfer as many water balloons from bucket A to bucket B. Watch a few balloons burst along the way but it's fun! Plus, everyone is wearing swimsuits anyway, so getting wet is no problem!

    Check out more minute to win it games for kids to play at parties!

    LED Glowing Beach Balls

    Shila:  These LED light up beach balls are so much fun to have in the pool. They make an eye-popping impression as pool party décor, too. This is especially true in the evening when the sun goes down but the party keeps going!

    I also had a few of these balls placed in a snowy backyard as décor for a winter party and our guests had a great time bumping them around and playing catch. These all-season balls are light weight and water resistant.

    Diving for Poker Chips Game

    Shila:  This is a fun pool party game! If your kids are of under-water diving ability, throw in a variety of different colored poker chips and let them sink to the bottom. Divide your group into teams and have the kids jump in the pool at once to collect as many chips as they can.

    Different color chips have differing values, so the team with the highest points win! This is one of my favorite pool party games because it gets everyone involved - and because there are so many chips to retrieve, everyone is likely find at least one and can contribute to "ante."

    Decorative Beach Balls

    Shila:  I recently discovered that beach balls have made significant design advancements compared to the classic rainbow pattern we've all come to know! From glitter to metallic to glowing LED lights, sequin, confetti, and more, designer beach balls can be used as epic party décor in addition to using them for games and recreation.

    Pool Inflatables

    Shila:  From giant swans to donuts, having a few of these floatie inflatables on deck can add so much fun to a pool party for kids!

    When fully dried, they fold away easy and can be reused another day! Pack them on a family vacation and/or include them on your beach day list.

    Giant Inflatable Floating Mat

    Shila:  My kids love this pool mat; it floats gently atop the water surface and multiple people can lay on it at once. We first discovered this raft at an indoor swim class where we saw kids and teachers having so much fun "surfing" and jumping off the "boat." The class was celebrating their last swim team session. This would be so fun to have available for a kids pool party, too!

    Pay attention to the mat's weight limit, but I think it's moderately sturdy for at least a few young kids to comfortably lounge on. Check out more interesting pool accessories we recommend!

    Mini Umbrella Straws

    Shila:  Complete your pool party décor with mini umbrella picks! They are so cute, and always make such an impression on kids - and adults, too! Stick them in drinks, fruit, atop the birthday cake, or more.

    Nowadays, you can also find mini umbrellas affixed to regular straws. Some parents with smaller children prefer this version to avoid the pokey toothpick edges.

    These pool party decorating ideas can especially pair well with a tropical or Hawaiian luau party theme. Check out more birthday party themes for kids!

    Foam Pool Noodles

    Shila:  Pool noodles are quite versatile! They can be used as relaxing water floaties or for an exciting game of water joust! When the party is over, they can even be sent home with guests as pool party favors. Best of all, a bulk package of noodles can be purchased at a rather inexpensive price.

    Temporary Tattoos

    Shila:  Temporary tattoo applications only require water and skin - both of which are found at pool parties!

    Have a table set up for press-on temporary tattoos, particularly using designs that showcase the party theme. Kids can stamp these tattoos on themselves or apply them on each other during swim breaks.

    If this a birthday pool party, consider tattoos that highlight the child of honor, too. You can find tattoos with age numbers or letters that can spell out "happy birthday."

    Cannonball or Belly Flop Contest

    Shila:  If you are hosting a kid pool party with a group who knows how to make a big splash, then consider a fun-filled cannonball or belly flop contest. You can even have judges score the best jumps, and offer prizes or unique party favors to the contestants. Just be sure the water is deep enough to safely jump in, of course!

    Inflatable Palm Tree Cooler

    Shila:  Leave your heavy ice cooler at home and stick to this decorative and inflatable ice bucket that can comfortably house dozens of drink cans, water bottles, and/or popsicles. This decorative palm tree is 60" high and can fit the theme of any tropical or Hawaiian pool party. It clearly marks the spot for kids to grab a "cool one" on their own time.

    Create a Lazy River

    Shila:  If you are hosting a pool party where the kids are all tall enough to touch the pool floor, then consider attempting a fun lazy river experience with supervision! While in the water, run around the pool's perimeter as fast as you can for several intense laps in the same direction. It's very helpful for some stronger adults to contribute, too! The force of this man-made "stirring effect" will create a fun whirlpool-like, lazy river current.

    Note: depending on the size of the pool, and the amount of kids, results will vary. It also works best in a somewhat circular pool.

Primary photo:   Toni Cuenca from Pexels

Upparent collects community-submitted recommendations and reviews, and any ideas that are shared reflect the opinions of individual contributors.