Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pool Judge Sticks

I'm a mermaid. Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved the water. I started swim lessons when I was an infant, continued on with Red Cross swim lessons through my childhood years, and even swam for various swim teams throughout my life. Last summer, my mom got a pool, and it has been the source of so much joy for our family. We swim whenever we can, and have made lots of priceless memories while having fun in the sun.

Another thing about my family - we're competitive. Always have been, always will be. So, if we're spending time together - chances are that we will be competing in some way. Whether it's swim races, who can hold their breath the longest, relays, or seeing how many diving rings we can get from the bottom of the pool - we're constantly checking our skills against one another. One of our favorite activities is diving board competitions.

I decided to make these a bit more official by creating some "judge sticks" - similar to what is used in the Olympics for judging (gymnastics, for instance). These are so easy to make, plus almost FREE. You know I love cheap and free.

I started with some paint stirring sticks. You can get these from any hardware store or department store for free. Mine are from both Lowes and Walmart. I wanted to make three sets (for three judges), so I needed 15 total stirring sticks. Then, using a drill, I created a small hole in the end of each stick, like so...

Paint Stirring Sticks - FREE

Next, choose some colors. I thought that a nice turquoise and yellow would look great for the pool (water and sun!) - plus, this is my favorite color and my sister's favorite color combined.

Then, just spray paint the sticks. I decided to do three blue and two yellow sticks for each bunch. Ask me how hot it was when I decided to paint these outside. Over 100 degrees. Terrible. Someone remind me to not do this again. I was sweating like a beast. 

  As you can see, you will need a few coats in order to cover the original writing on the sticks. These took three coats each on the writing side, but only two on the plain side.


Now comes the fun part. First, take some pretty ribbon and tie your sticks together by threading the ribbon through the holes in the end.

Then, apply your score numbers. I simply used mailbox numbers. You can buy these at any hardware or department store for around $2 or less. I also like the idea of using these mailbox stickers because they are durable and meant to be outdoors. Since these would be used by the pool, I thought these would work better than traditional stickers.

As a final touch, I sprayed the sticks with some glitter spray. Everything is better with glitter.

You can even see the marks I accidentally made on my basement floor. Oops! Oh well. Like I said, everything is better with glitter anyhow.

So this year, our Independence Day party featured a Yankee Doodle Diving Contest. Competitors had three categories to follow:

1. ROUND ONE - Represent a Famous American
2. ROUND TWO - Represent a U.S. State
3. ROUND THREE - Demonstrate an Olympic Skill

It was an intense competition, with many creative, skillful dives. Here's a snapshot of some of the day's most memorable jumps...

...the judges had some tough decisions to make. We used a 1-5 scale, with 5 being an outstandingly amazing dive, and 1 being a sad attempt. 

Meet our judges...

  This particular judge was very harsh and had an eye for perfection. He also used his mustache to intimidate the competitors...

Overall, it was a beautiful day and a fun way to celebrate 
(plus enjoy some healthy competition)! 
I know we'll be using these judging sticks a lot in the future, too.

Take Time for Lemonade,


  1. Hooray! We had so much fun! Boo Mr. Moustache man....but i did hear him mention he drilled the We will forgive him this time.

  2. This had to be be one of the BEST ideas you ever had!!! We had so much fun!!! I think the judge from Czechoslovakia really knew her stuff!!!....oh wait that was me!!!! Can't wait for our next Pool Olympics event!!!

  3. What a great time! I'm crazy about this fun idea. Love the guy with the Uncle Sam hat.

    Warmly, Michelle

  4. Sounds like SO much fun! We spend a LOT of time in our pool - both my daughters are mermaids too :) I love this idea and might just have to snaffle it for our summer!!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success