hanging out at a pool party in summer

Summer Party Activities & Fun Themes

Originally Published Jun 03, 2024Updated Jun 06, 2024

Ultimate Summer Party Ideas: Fun Games, Activities, and Themes

School is out, vacation is in full swing … it’s summertime! ☀️ And what better way to kick off this hot season than with a festive party to celebrate the event of the year! Read on for ways to throw a summer party and other summer party ideas! From decorations to themes and games, to snacks and other fun goodies, this all-inclusive guide is here to heat up your party and keep the fun going all night long!

Summer Party Themes

Whether it is for an end of the school year bash, a fun office party to celebrate summer, your kiddo's fun birthday, or just a fun event to get together with friends, every great summer party begins with a theme. Stuck between themes? Go tropical with a luau theme and transport your guests to a Hawaiian garden paradise! Or head to the jungle with a jungle theme for some animal fun! Check out all of our great theme ideas for a fun bash!

Summer Party Decoration Ideas

Invitation Ideas

First things first, once you’ve got the date all squared away, your next step is sending out invitations for your summer party! Make sure your invitations match your theme and add in all important information like when, where, what, who to make sure your guests know exactly what to look forward to! As the host, this will check off the first step to planning the perfect day! Is it for a birthday or a party between colleagues or friends? Do guests need to bring presents or a photo for a game? Is there parking at the venue? Keep all this information in mind! 

  • 🌴 Tropical Paradise: Bring the beach vibes with a tropical-themed party. Decorate with palm leaves, coconuts, and vibrant floral arrangements. Serve fruity cocktails and delicious tropical dishes to give your guests a taste of paradise!
  • 🌺 Hawaiian Luau: Transport your guests to the Hawaiian islands with a luau party. Use tiki torches, leis, and grass skirts for decorations to really set the outdoor ambiance. Serve traditional Hawaiian food like poi, kalua pig, and pineapple-based desserts for the perfect way to end the party!
  • 🔥 Beach Bonfire: Host a cozy beach bonfire party to kick off summer. Set up a bonfire, provide blankets and beach chairs, and offer s'mores, grilled food, and refreshing beverages to along with the flickering flames.
  • 👙 Pool Party: Make a splash with a pool party! Set up inflatable pool toys, provide plenty of pool noodles and beach balls, and play fun pool games in the backyard. On the menu? Refreshing drinks and easy-to-eat finger foods in between cannonballs, or an ice cream dessert to cool off.
  • 🌮 Festive Fiesta: Spice up your summer with a vibrant fiesta-themed party. Decorate with colorful papel picado banners, piñatas, and cacti. Serve Mexican cuisine like tacos, guacamole, and margaritas for an olé way to start the summer season!
  • 🎡 Summer Carnival: Create a festive carnival atmosphere with games and activities. Set up booths with classic carnival games, offer cotton candy, popcorn, and snow cones, and decorate with colorful balloons and streamers. This makes the perfect summer party, especially if you have a backyard venue to go with it!
  • 🍖 Backyard BBQ: Keep it classic with the best backyard BBQ party. Fire up the grill, serve burgers, hot dogs, and grilled veggies, and provide outdoor games like cornhole or horseshoes while you get your grill on.
  • 🛟 Nautical Adventure: Set sail with a nautical-themed party! Decorate with anchors, ropes, and navy blue and white stripes. Serve seafood dishes, create a DIY photo booth with a boat backdrop, and hand out sailor hats as fun party favors.
  • 🦁 Into the Jungle: Feline fine with this rainforest-themed party! Add in decorations like tigers and lions (and bears, oh my!) along with your jungle-themed decor to set the mood. For the treats, try monkey-themed cupcakes or a fruit salad to add in a wild touch. This also makes a fun theme for a summer birthday event.

Summer Party Decoration Ideas

Invitation Ideas

First things first, once you’ve got the date all squared away, your next step is sending out invitations for your summer party! Make sure your invitations match your theme and add in all important information like when, where, what, who to make sure your guests know exactly what to look forward to! As the host, this will check off the first step to planning the perfect day! Is it for a birthday or a party between colleagues or friends? Do guests need to bring presents or a photo for a game? Is there parking at the venue? Keep all this information in mind! 

And with the Picta website, we’ve got hundreds of designs for every type of party! And the best part? They are ready the same-day and fully customizable.

Create Your Own Decorations

Take your favorite photo when you were on vacation in the Seychelles and transform it into a photo poster to create one-of-a-kind party decorations everyone is sure to love! Your son is a huge fan of white leopards and your local party store didn’t have any of this (very niche) type of party decorations? Not a problem, print your own!

Party Favors

This one is for the highly-motivated! Have a photo booth or a photo op at your summer party? Once the photos have been taken, upload them to the Picta website and transform them into the perfect party favor! The best part? They are ready in 1 hour, that’s less time than it takes for all those little munchkins to show you their fun synchonized swimming routine they’ve been practicing all afternoon!

Party Games & Activities

Get ready to turn your summer parties into epic events with these exciting games and activities! We've rounded up some fantastic ideas that will keep your guests entertained and create unforgettable memories. Let's dive right in! We've got food ideas to great games, decor and more ... and for every theme! 

🌴 Tropical Paradise

  • Limbo: Get those hips swaying and challenge your friends to a thrilling limbo competition. How low can you go without touching the ground? Don’t forget the music for this backyard game that will keep everyone laughing and saying "How low can you go?"!
  • Tropical Trivia: Test your guests' knowledge of all things tropical with a lively trivia game. From famous beaches to exotic fruits, let the tropical-themed questions transport everyone to paradise. The winner gets a taste of victory, a and a fun, festive prize!
  • Hula Hoop Contest: Let loose and embrace the spirit of the islands with a hula hoop contest. Show off your hip-shaking skills and see who can keep the hoop spinning the longest. It's all about having fun in true tropical style! You may need some extra space for this one! 

🌺 Hawaiian Luau

  • Hula Dancing: Get your grass skirts and leis ready for a hula dancing extravaganza! Learn the graceful moves of this traditional Hawaiian dance and create a mesmerizing group performance. It's sure to add the perfect, authentic touch to your luau. Plus, it's sure to be a hit on social media! 
  • Tiki Toss: Test your aim and precision with a thrilling game of tiki toss. Take turns tossing rings onto tiki torches or other targets to score points. Will you master the art of the toss and claim victory? Just make sure the torches aren’t lit just yet!
  • Coconut Bowling: Roll up your sleeves and embrace the Hawaiian spirit with a lively game of coconut bowling. Set up pineapples as pins and use real coconuts as bowling balls. Let the good times roll!

🔥 Beach Bonfire

  • Beach Volleyball: Feel the sand between your toes and gather your friends for an exhilarating game of beach volleyball. Dive, spike, and set your way to victory under the warm summer sun!
  • Beach Scavenger Hunt: Embark on an exciting beach adventure with a scavenger hunt. Create a list of beach-themed items like seashells and driftwood for your guests to find. Who will be the first to complete the treasure hunt and claim the prize?
  • Glow-in-the-Dark Frisbee: Take your beach bonfire to the next level with a glow-in-the-dark frisbee game. Watch as the illuminated discs soar through the night sky for the best way to end the beach day. It's easy to create, simply get some glow in the dark paint and frisbees and you're good to go.

👙 Pool Party

  • Marco Polo: Dive into the pool and get ready for a classic game of Marco Polo. It's a splashin' good time for this summer theme for friends of all ages.
  • Pool Noodle Race: Grab your trusty pool noodle and compete in a thrilling race across the water. Glide, float, and paddle your way to victory. Who will be crowned the pool noodle champion?
  • Water Balloon Toss: Beat the heat and have a blast with a water balloon toss. Stand back-to-back with a partner and toss the balloon gently, testing your coordination and catching skills. Stay dry or get soaked—it's all part of the fun!

🌮 Festive Fiesta

  • Piñata: No fiesta is complete without a colorful piñata. Swing blindfolded and channel your inner strength to crack it open and release the candy inside - sugar rush guaranteed! You can also use the candy as part of an ice cream sundae dessert after, sure to please all ages! 
  • Salsa Showdown: Unleash your culinary creativity with a salsa-making competition. Provide an array of fresh ingredients and let your guests whip up their signature salsas. The judges' taste buds will be dancing with delight!
  • Mexican Hat Dance: Shake, shimmy, and stomp your way through a lively Mexican Hat Dance. Follow the energetic rhythm and embrace the vibrant cultural traditions. It's a fiesta on the dance floor for this fun theme!

🎡 Summer Carnival

  • Ring Toss: Set up a ring toss game where guests throw rings onto bottles or other targets to win prizes. This fun outdoor idea will keep everyone entertained. You can also do it in the pool for a water-themed game.
  • Duck Pond Game: Fill a small pool with water and place rubber ducks with numbers on the bottom. Guests pick a duck and win a prize based on the number on the duck, it’s sure to be a quack of a time!
  • Face Painting: Hire a face painter or set up a DIY face painting station where guests can get their faces painted with fun carnival theme designs to get in the mood! Create some magic, and great photo memories! 

🍖 Backyard BBQ

  • Cornhole: Set up a cornhole game and have guests take turns tossing bean bags into the holes to score points. Back up for even more of a challenge!
  • BBQ Cook-Off: Host a BBQ cook-off where guests can showcase their grilling skills. Provide different meats and ingredients for them to create their signature dishes. A panel of judges can determine the winner, and enjoy the culinary creations!
  • Water Balloon Dodgeball: Divide guests into teams and have a friendly water balloon dodgeball game in the backyard, try not to get splashed!

🛟 Nautical Adventure

  • Boat Race: Organize a boat race using remote-controlled boats in a large inflatable pool or a nearby pond, no crashing allowed!
  • Knot-Tying Contest: Teach guests various nautical knots and have them compete to see who can tie the knots the fastest or most accurately. These knots are sure to give you a nauti time.
  • Treasure Hunt: Create a treasure hunt with nautical-themed clues and have guests search for hidden treasures around the party area to become the pirate champs of this event!

🦁 Into the Jungle

  • Jungle Scavenger Hunt: Kick off your summer party with a thrilling scavenger hunt! Create a list of jungle-related items (think: plastic animals, faux plants, and hidden treasures) and scatter them around your party area. Provide each guest with a map and clues to lead them to their hidden goodies.
  • Safari Animal Charades: Put a jungle spin on charades by creating a deck of cards featuring different safari animals. Players take turns picking a card and acting out the animal without making any sounds while the rest guess.
  • Outdoor Obstacle Course: Transform your outdoor space or backyard into a jungle gym where guests can crawl under faux vines, leap across "crocodile-infested" streams (a blue tarp with cardboard cutouts), and navigate through an array of wildlife-themed barriers.

Summer Party Ideas Wrap-up

We hope these ideas help make your summer party a super fun time! Whether you are the host, or are just looking for some event themes or fun, classic ways to keep your guests entertained in an outdoor or backyard bash, we hope you found some ideas! From daytime activities to night themed parties, these ideas will sure to keep everyone saying "What a great summer party"! 

And don't forget to print all your photo memories with Picta! 


Leah from Picta

Written by Leah from Picta

View all posts

Leah is a self-proclaimed iced coffee enthusiast, "word artist", and brunch connoisseur. 
By day, she makes a living by creating all this content you know and hopefully love for Picta on the blog, in your inbox, or on social media. 
By night, she enjoys cooking up something new in the kitchen, hopping on her road bike, and painting watercolors with a glass of rosé (or two or three)!

You may also like