This is a guest post by Kaitlin Gardner of AnApplePerDay.com. As always the only benefits I receive from guest posts is time saved and great tips!
My son wanted to have a party at our family pool for his birthday. I was excited to hear that, because it would be a lot easier than trying to rent a space somewhere and get everything set up. But I’ve been known to “overplan” things at times (she says with a wry grin), so I had to remember – this party was for my son – and plan accordingly.
Entertainment. I started by asking him what entertainment he wanted to have at the party. “Mom, we just want to play.” From his perspective, it was just that simple. He wanted to invite all his buddies over to play in the pool. Sometimes you can just yell out “shark in the water,” and the kids take it from there and have a fun pool game. As long as the kids were having fun, I needed to remember to just let that be and not over-orchestrate. Just in case they needed a new idea, I found great pool games at these sites:
We also set up a croquet set in the back yard, and had some Frisbees available, to have something for the kids to do after the meal, while they had to sit out of the pool.
Invitations and guest list. My son knew who he wanted to invite, so making up a guest list was pretty straightforward. I call parents to confirm addresses for sending out invitations, and used that moment to diplomatically confirm that their child could swim. Then I let the parents know they were welcome to stay for the party. One Mom who had a pool party tried giving the invitations to her son to pass out at school, and some got lost, so that’s why I used the regular mail. Plus, a child getting a real invitation in the mail is a thrill – it is for my kids anyway.
What about food? To make sure I did what my son wanted, I asked him to check with his friends and see what they’d want for a meal. I knew the answer would come back either burgers or pizza, and I was right – they chose pizza. I called in a pre-order at a great pizza place which would deliver, and you should have heard the yells when the pizza guy showed up. I had some tables set up with place settings, and provided plates, drinks, and napkins (which they didn’t seem to use much), and the kids were delighted with dinner.
Speaking of safety. If we rented a roller rink for a party, there would not be the same need for safety that being in a pool will bring up. Yes, the kids might roll into the wall, but there would not be the possibility that a child could drown. We had to think about safety in a very serious way. My husband and I were going to be doing a lot – playing host to parents, keeping an eye on all the kids, getting drinks and snacks, so our focus would be scattered. We didn’t want to just assume the parents who were there would watch the kids – safety was too important to leave to chance. Enter Lenny – he’s the teenager who lives down the street. He’s a lifeguard all summer at the pool where the kids all swim. The kids idolize him, and mind him very nicely. We hired him for a couple of hours, and now we had a safety solution that didn’t mean I’d have to try to corral a bunch of rambunctious kids.
My son came to me after everyone left and said “my friends all had a blast!” I just smiled, knowing I had given him a great birthday party.
Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her best friend and lives in Pennsylvania. In her spare time, she loves to go hiking, biking and enjoy nature. She just started her first book about living an eco-friendly, healthy, natural lifestyle.
Photo credit: #184356690 – gettyimages.com