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Matt Gohlke / Pools

Try tips to make July Fourth pool party fun

Independence Day weekend is traditionally the biggest weekend of the year for swimming pool use. 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 July Fourth pool party will be one to be remembered.

Be sure pool water is chemically balanced

To avoid last-minute water problems, be sure that your pool water is balanced.

Consider having it professionally analyzed at a pool store sometime before your party — most pool stores are open all weekend to solve any last-minute problems that might arise.

Prepare area around pool

Give the area surrounding the pool some last-minute attention — such as mowing, trimming plants, cleaning the patio, etc.

Also, do not forget to get rid of pests such as wasps and ants. It would probably be a good idea to have wasp spray on hand for any unwelcome pests that arrive during your party.

Decorations and music

Decorations and music really help set the mood. Seasonal decorations really can add to the feel of the party and paper products such as tablecloths, plates, cups and napkins are also available in a patriotic theme.

Party stores such as Party City, PJ’s Party Supply and 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.

Patriotic music or beach music (try some Beach Boys or Jimmy Buffett) can really add to pool parties.


Although providing a pool and some food is usually enough for your guests, following are some pool games and activities that can really add to the party.

Marco Polo — It is an oldie, but a goodie.

Relay races — For a patriotic touch, use red, white and blue plastic streamers to separate swimming lanes.

Chicken fights — Most of us have participated in chicken fights, but try chicken fight tag (self-explanatory) or chicken fight races (from one end of the pool to another).

Sharks and minnows — This game is good for a large group.

Inner tube races

Water volleyball or water basketball — Equipment is available at most pool supply and sporting goods stores.

Water baseball — Typically it is played in the shallow end of the pool with bases being approximately 10 feet to 15 feet apart. Typically, a ball hit out of the far end of the pool is a home run.

Water football — This game is self-explanatory and also quite fun.

There are many other pool games that can be found by searching “swimming pool games and activities” on Google.

While enjoying your pool party, remember that 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 too late to hire a lifeguard for this weekend’s parties, so consider having parents take shifts being the pool monitor — even provide a whistle and a list of pool rules if you feel it is necessary.

Have a great and safe celebration.

MATT GOHLKE owns Gohlke Pools, which has earned national awards, certifications and recognition in the pool industry. He can be reached at 940-387-7521 or