How to Throw a Summer Pool Party That The Kids (and the Moms) Will Love

This blog is written in partnership with Big Lots.  All opinions are my own.

What is the fun of having a pool if you don’t spend the summer hosting pool parties for family and friends?  Around my house summertime means swim party time and we all know I take my hosting duties seriously.  Very seriously.  I was super pumped to check out the new and improved Big Lots in South Austin.  I knew they would have everything I needed from flamingo shaped pool floats for the kids to cases of LaCroix for the moms.  When you can get everything you need in one place that means fewer errands to run and more time in the pool having fun!

Pool party with family.  Mom in caftan kid on swan float.

How to Throw a Summer Pool Party That The Kids (and the Moms) Will Love

Fuzzy beach towels, pool noodles, sunscreen, frozen pizza, Gatorade, popsicles and patio decor – when I say Big Lots has everything you need I mean EVERYTHING. I filled my cart to the brim with supplies and walked out ready to party.  I’ve got a pool side patio to refresh and mocktail bar to set up for guests, I don’t have time to run all over town  gathering the things I need.  

Teal outdoor table with plant and plates.

Setting the Scene for the Perfect Pool Side Party

I take my home decor seriously and my outdoor living areas are no exception.  Colorful patio accents like black and white throw pillows and teal side tables meld perfect with my home’s vintage vibe.  Several of my patio plants got stylish new planters to call home.  Solar lights to line my yard, lanterns and string lights to keep things going after dark and citronella candles to keep the bugs away.  Whether I’m entertaining or not I’m ready to take a staycation on my patio.

Kid in a pool with goggles on

Must Have Items for a Kids Pool Party

Keeping the kids happy in the pool is paramount.  As the host I like to leave nothing to chance and always keep extra pool toys, towels and googles on hand for guests.

  • Pool Floats – Ride on floats in the shapes of giant swans are the epitome of swim parties and summer.  You can never have too many floats when it comes to a pool full of tweens.
  • Goggles – Swim goggles are like socks in the dryer around the pool.  Every year I buy multiple packages for my own kids as well as guests and visiting family.  
  • Diving Toys – Big Lots has tons of diving toys and pool games.  Rings, motorized fish and even gem stones that sink to the bottom of the pool.

Outdoor basket full of googles and swim floats.

  • Pool Noodles – Pool noodles are cheap and always a fun item to have on hand for parties.  More than once did I see my pool noodles get ridden around the pool like a water pony.
  • Puddle  Jumpers – Pool safety is serious business.  Floaty vests like puddle jumpers are no substitute for keeping swimming kids within arms reach, but they do help new swimmers get the hang of the water.  My own kids are well beyond needing these types of vests, but we often have younger guests stopping by to swim.

Ladies outside at a mocktail water bar beside the pool.

Pool Party Fun For Moms Too

Ever heard the saying if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?  There is something to be said for that.  Keep moms content at the swim party with a few staples and a fun water bar with easy mocktail recipes.

  • Sunscreen – This mom does not play when it comes to sunscreen.  I walked out of Big Lot with enough spray, lotion and stick sunscreen to last me a life time, or at least until the end of this summer.
  • Bug Spray and Citronella Candles – Let’s face it, adults do not tend to actually enjoy the pool as much as the kids.  Most pool parties find at least half of the adults lounging next to the water or on the patio.  Mosquitos can make life in the summer miserable so be prepared.
  • Cleaning Supplies – Easy clean up makes this hostess very happy.  I was happy to find Lysol cleaning spray, wood polish and Scotch Guard to protect my patio furniture from the summer sun.

Mocktail made with la croix water and watermelon.

  • Blue Tooth Speaker – No party is complete without music.  I found several different water resistant blue tooth speakers at Big Lots perfect for a pool side party.
  • Sparkling Water –  The number one thing on all my party shopping lists is sparkling water.  I could have a separate cart just for all the cases of LaCroix I walked out of Big Lots with.  I usually drink it straight, but I wanted to spice things up for my friends at the swim party.  That’s why I set up a water bar complete with fun mixers to make mocktails.

Woman drinking a mocktail on a patio wearing a caftan.

Setting Up The Water Bar and Mocktail Station

It’s summer in Texas, we need to stay hydrated.  Why not stay hydrated with cotton candy, popsicles and sugar rimmed glasses?

  • Mixers – Elderberry tonic, sparkling blood orange, rose and coconut water – these are just a few of the flavors of mixers I found.  The bottles alone were beautiful and looked great styled on the bar.
  • Add-Ins – Big Lots has a frozen section full of treasures like paletas.  These Mexican style popsicles are perfect addition to any popsicle cocktail (or mocktail).
  • Glasses – Disposable glasses make for easy clean up, but melamine is the perfect upgrade for making that poolside mocktail seem a bit more fancy. 

Mocktail being made with La Croix and grapefruit

  • Keep It Cold – Plastic buckets with ice are always sprinkled around in more than one location at my pool parties.  That way there is always a cold sparkling water within reach.
  • Drink It Straight – No need to mix some of these drinks.  Bottles of ginger ale from Brooklyn, bright red sparkling prickly pear and sarsaparilla were all perfect set a top my vintage mid-century bar.

Jennifer Perkins pouring mocktails at an outdoor pool party with a water bar.

Pool Party Snack Ideas

Moms and kids alike need to eat and Big Lots has you covered there too.  Organic snacks, blue corn chips, dried fruit, popcorn, applesauce in pouches and even frozen pizza.  Whether you want to serve a full meal of just snacks at the swim party there is a big selection.

Outdoor sofa with teal and black throw pillows on a patio.

All Good Pool Parties Must Come to an End

Even the best pool party has to eventually come to an end.  Load up on things like soft beach towels at Big Lots for your guests to dry off with.  If you have an outdoor pool shower to rinse off with Big Lots has a huge selection of shampoos and conditioners.

Clean up will really be a breeze for hosts with things like Clorox Bleach Wipes and disposable plates.

Drinking a colorful summer mocktail outside on a patio.

Big Lots Rewards

I’m already thinking about my next pool party and since I’m a Big Lots rewards member my next shindig will come with some serious discounts.  For every 3 purchases you get $5 off.  For every $200 you spend on patio furniture you get $10 off.  There are VIP shopping days, birthday surprises and coupons.

Patio table with plants, lanterns and a popsicle cocktail.

Summer is not over yet, especially not here in Texas, I’ve got a few pool parties yet to host.  Then I’m on to planning something HUGE for Halloween.  I can’t wait to see what kinds of spooky decorations Big Lots carries!

6 Responses to “How to Throw a Summer Pool Party That The Kids (and the Moms) Will Love”

  1. Mother of 3

    Oh yes, we live on a lake and it seems like I can never have too many goggles, life jackets, floats, or sunscreen.


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