Memorial Day weekend is coming up and is traditionally considered the beginning of swim season. If you are the pool owner, hopefully by now your plans are in place for this weekend – the yard is mowed, the food is planned, the guests are invited, and the pool is ready! Following are some last minute tips to assure that your Memorial Day weekend will be an enjoyable one.
Be sure that your pool is ready
To avoid last minute water problems such as cloudy water or a green pool, be sure that your pool water is balanced – have it professionally analyzed at Gohlke Pools before your party. This preventative maintenance will help prevent eye and skin irritation that sometimes accompanies a weekend of swimming in a pool of unbalanced water. Eye and skin irritation are usually due to insufficient sanitizer levels or incorrect pH levels.
Prepare the area surrounding your pool
In addition to preparing the pool, the area surrounding the pool will also probably need some attention – such as mowing, trimming plants, cleaning the patio, etc. Consider using container plants in the pool area to help dress it up. Also, do not forget to get rid of pests such as wasps & ants. It would probably be a good idea to have wasp spray on hand for any unwelcome pests that arrive during your party.
Decorations & music
Decorations and music really help set the mood. Seasonal decorations really can add to the feel of the party. Paper products, such as tablecloths, plates, cups, and napkins are also available in a pool party theme. Party stores such as Party City, PJ’s Party Supply, or Hobby Lobby are an excellent source for these festive decorations. For evening parties, try stringing Christmas lights along the fence and in the trees and shrubbery or use tiki torches. Beach music (try some Beach Boys or Jimmy Buffet) really adds to pool parties and is available at music stores.
Pool safety should always be a concern. Many drownings and accidents occur during parties as children are often ignored while parents socialize. It might be a good idea to either hire a lifeguard or have parents take shifts being the pool monitor (even provide a whistle and a list of pool rules if you feel it is necessary). If you are serving alcohol, be especially careful. Make sure that your pool’s depth is known by the swimmers and what areas are safe for diving. In addition, do not forget to keep plenty of water available as spending time in the sun can lead to dehydration.
To make your pool party extra cool, plan some activities geared to your guests. If there will be kids at your party, buy some inner tubes and foam noodles they can splash around with. For bigger kids and grownups, fill your pool with beach balls and floating rafts (spring for the fancy lounges with cup holders built into the armrests).
If your guests are game for games, play classics like Marco Polo and water tag. For more organized pool fun, divide teams into two groups for pool volleyball, pool basketball or water polo. If your crowd is more creative than competitive, divide into groups to choreograph synchronized swimming routines – the funnier, the better. Or try “pool riding,” a splashy twist on bull riding.
Keep dining simple by putting out large platters of assorted finger foods you don’t need to restock. Start with snacks like tortilla chips and salsa, pita chips and hummus, and potato chips with onion dip.
Then serve chilled gazpacho in plastic martini glasses along with assorted salads (pasta, bean and/or veggie) dressed with vinaigrettes rather than mayonnaise-based sauces for food safety.
Cut assorted sandwiches into bite-size pieces. Pan bagnat made with olive oil-packed tuna is a sophisticated choice that can handle the summer heat. Or try Vietnamese fresh spring rolls filled with crisp veggies and herbs. Finish with assorted popsicles and ice cream cake.
Sun protection & eye/skin irritation
As you and your guests enjoy the pool party, you should be aware of the possibility of sun protection and eye/skin irritation.
Applying sunscreen thoroughly and liberally is the key. Many times we overlook the fact that we need a waterproof sunscreen for use in pools. Men with thinning hair should be extremely careful and apply sunscreen liberally to the top of the head or wear a hat. To prevent eye/skin irritation – be sure that the pool water is chemically balanced. Once the damage is done, eye drops will usually provide relief for irritated eyes. To treat irritated skin, take a cool shower and then apply a moisturizing lotion.
Pool games & activities
Although providing a pool and some food is usually enough to provide for your visiting guests, activities such as pool games and activities can really add to the party. Following are some pool games and activities to add excitement to your party:
- Relay races
- Dive games
- Chicken fights
- Inner tube races
- Water volleyball, basketball, baseball, or football
- Scuba relay – Gather two sets of scuba gear (flippers, snorkel, and mask) and form two teams.
At the word “go!”, the first player on each team puts on her team’s gear, jumps into the pool, swims to the other side and back, gets out of the water, and removes the gear. Then the next player does the same. The first team to finish wins. This game can also be done with t-shirts, shorts, and socks.
- Sharks and minnows – This game is good for a large group.
One person is the shark and starts in the middle of the pool. All other players are minnows and start out of the water on one side of the deck. The shark yells out “minnow!” and the minnows must jump in and try to swim to the other side of the pool without being tagged by the shark. The minnows that get tagged become sharks and the game is replayed until only one minnow remains. That person starts the new game as the shark.
In addition to these pool games and activities, there are many more that can be found online by Google searching swimming pool games and activities.