Are you looking to make a splash this summer? With the anticipation of warmer months to come, you may be on the market for some new pool toys for your kids.
Swimming is fun until you’ve cannonballed until you can’t cannonball anymore and you need more stimulation. This is where the pool toys come in, and I’m not only talking about pool floats (though they are pretty cool).
If you’re having difficulty finding some good-quality toys for your pool this summer, read on to find out what should influence your decision. We’ll also review some of the best pool toys for kids to give you a good idea of what’s out there.
There’s no question that swimming is one of the most popular summer activities among children. Nothing feels better than being able to cool off in the water and have fun while you do it. But as fun as swimming is, safety should always be the number one priority.
There are several precautions you can take to ensure your kids stay safe in the pool (1):
- Never leave a child unattended.
- Always swim with a buddy.
- Use lifejackets on beginner swimmers.
- Set family rules about water safety.
- Don’t consume alcohol when supervising swimmers.
When shopping for pool toys, be aware of any safety information provided and follow any guidelines established by the company. Using too many pool toys at once can pose a threat if a child starts to panic and can’t clearly see their way around the objects.
Different Types of Pool Toys
Most of the time when we think of pool toys, we think of the generic pool “noodle,” or a themed floatie. While those are great pool toys, there are also others to consider, especially for kids who are more active in the water.
1. Sports Games
For athletic families, there are sports games, like volleyball and basketball that are specially adapted for water play. These make a great addition to your pool toy arsenal, especially if you like to host pool parties for a group of children.
These types of pool toys are made to last and are great for a wide range of ages, making them the perfect addition for families of multiples.
2. Diving Toys
If your kids enjoy being under the water and are competent swimmers, diving toys are another option to keep in mind. These usually come in the form of rings, batons or other weighted shapes. Once they sink, your kids can dive to the bottom and retrieve the sunken toys.
3. Pool Floats
A classic option, pool floats have evolved immensely over the last few years. What used to be generic blow-up circles has evolved into giant floats in the shape of flamingos and other animals. They even come in the shape of your favorite foods.
These are great for when you need a quick break from all of that swimming and diving. They come in designs for virtually any age so you should easily be able to find one for both your 1-year-old and your 11-year-old.
While these toys are meant to keep kids afloat, keep in mind that any child who isn’t a confident swimmer should still wear a proper safety vest. Children should also be supervised at all times during swim time (2).
4. Pool Toys for Toddlers
There are plenty of pool toys that are great for older kids but when it comes to toys for toddlers and preschoolers, it can get a little trickier. In this case, bath toys are just as good for a pool as they would be in the bathtub.
Some companies also make pool games designed specifically for younger kids. There are more options for your toddler than you’d think.
When you’re shopping, keep in mind the size of your pool and the number of parts a particular toy comes with. This will help save a headache when the product arrives and it isn’t what you thought.
As with any other toy, making sure you’re buying age-appropriate toys with good reviews from other parents will help you find the safest toys for your kids.
The Best Kids Pool Toys of 2020
With all of the above information, let’s get to it. Of all the pool toys for kids on the market, we’ve narrowed it down to the best of the best
1. Bulzi Bucket
This game can be used in pools and on land, making it versatile and providing maximum fun. It’s very similar to cornhole. You toss the balls at your bucket and get a certain amount of points, depending on which bucket it lands in.
It’s easy to break down for storage and comes with a convenient carrying case to hold everything in. This game is great for groups, but would be the most fun for children ages 6 and up.
2. Heytech 17-Pack Dive Toys
If you’re looking for a standard set of diving toys, this set is a great option. It comes with 17 pieces, including torpedoes, dive rings, and batons.
The toys are made of soft, flexible material, recommended for children ages 4 and above. For those that aren’t confident swimmers, this set also includes foam guns for use in the pool or on land.
3. Watermelon Ball
This is a unique pool toy in that it combines aspects of football, basketball, and rugby for water play. The ball has the ability to be dribbled under the water like a basketball and players score points by taking it to their side of the pool.
It’s made of durable material to help withstand intense play which makes it great if you’re looking for something that will actually last. This pool toy is recommended for children aged 8 and over, and also comes in a “junior” option for younger children.
4. Swimways Finding Nemo Catch Game
If you’ve got a little Disney lover on your hands, this “Finding Nemo” catch game is a great pool toy to have in your arsenal.
This game comes with a net in the shape of Mr. Ray and five other “Finding Nemo” characters for your child to find and catch. Some of the characters float while others sink, so this pool toy is good for children learning how to dive and swim. Recommended for ages 5 and above.
5. Intex Pool Volleyball
If you’re planning on hosting pool parties this summer, this blow-up volleyball game could provide a great deal of fun for the crowd. The net is grommeted so if you’d like to anchor it down to keep it more stable, you have that option.
It also comes with a repair kit and a box that you can store it in when not in use. This pool toy is recommended for ages 6 and above.
6. Boley Sinking Gems Dive Toy
These sinking gems could be a great addition to your pool toy collection. This set comes with 12 gems in several bright colors. They are completely non-toxic and child-friendly.
They are recommended for children ages 3 and above. While most 3-year-olds won’t be diving to the bottom of a pool, they can use them in a bathtub, on land, and later on in the pool when they’re ready for a challenge.
7. Spark Shark Fish Hunt
If your children love to race each other, this is a great way to put a new spin on the classic swimming relay. It comes with two handheld shark nets and six sinking fish for you to catch.
This is generally a two-player game, but it comes with ideas to play with up to seven players. Recommended for ages 6 and above.
8. COOP Hydro Spring Hoops
Let your children channel their inner Lebron or Curry with this floating hoop and ball. The game floats on the water as you and your kids try to score points by throwing the fabric-covered ball through the net.
This set is easy to set up and take down and includes a storage bag for easy cleanup. Suitable for children ages 5 and up.
9. Intex Inflat-a-Bull Novelty
On the larger side of things, this rodeo toy is sure to bring a lot of hoots and hollers when the family gathers around. With one individual sitting on the bull and others pulling it from side to side, the goal is to stay on top, much like in the rodeo.
For children aged 9 and above, we like the unique spin this option takes and we have a feeling the adults will want to join in, too.
10. Intex Wave Rider Ride-On
This one is made to look like a jet ski and is the perfect size for older toddlers and preschoolers. It has a wide base to make it more stable in the water and provides good balance for your child.
This pool float is recommended for children aged 3 and above. While the base is wide, your child should still have close supervision riding it, especially if they aren’t a confident swimmer yet. The durable handle up top should provide some support as well.
11. Sunny Patch Kickboards
If your child is a new swimmer, these kickboards are a great investment. They’re buoyant and provide your child with balance and stability as they learn to move their arms and legs in the water.
Not only will this toy make them a more confident swimmer, but it will also encourage the use of their gross motor skills. This particular set comes with two kickboards, a dolphin and a shark. Suitable for ages 4 and up.
12. Inflatable Unicorn Pool Float
Unicorns are all the rage right now and this giant unicorn is recommended for children from 3 years old. It also comes in a larger size for bigger pools and older kids.
While this is a bigger float, it’s easy to inflate and deflate thanks to its rapid-valve system. No passing out from blowing too hard, too fast.
13. Intex Great White Shark Ride-On
This inflatable shark ride-on toy is designed with heavy-duty grab handles for your child to hold onto, keeping them afloat, we hope.
This pool toy measures 68 inches long and 42 inches at its widest, and comes with a repair patch to use in the case of small punctures. It’s suitable for children age 3 and up.
14. COOP Hydro Lacrosse
This is a great toy for families with a wide age range because its design makes it easy to use for everyone. The set comes with two sticks and a ball, and the colors may vary. Scoop, catch and throw your way through the summer.
Suitable for children aged 5 and up, this toy can be used in the pool and on land, making it a versatile option.
15. Swimways Gobble Gobble Guppies
If you’re struggling to find good pool toys for your toddler, this fishing game may be your saving grace. It’s recommended for children from 2 years old and helps teach counting and color recognition.
Your toddler will use the trigger on the whale’s belly to open and close its mouth to gobble up the four numbered guppies. The guppies float, which makes it easier for little hands to figure out.
16. JOYIN Water Blasters
If you’re a gaming family and you like a little play combat, these water guns could be a fantastic option. This set comes with two easy-to-pump water guns that can hold up to 25 ounces of water and shoot up to 36 feet.
They’re made from durable, non-toxic plastic and come with a 90-day money-back guarantee. These water blasters are recommended for children aged 6 and over.
17. Sunnylife Cactoss
This multi-functional, blow-up ring toss game can be played both in the pool or on land. Included is a brightly-colored, inflatable cactus and three inflatable rings.
This version of ring toss comes in several different styles, although we’ve chosen the cactus for its cute design and numbered stalks. Appropriate for 3+ years.
18. Wave Runner Mega Ball
Measuring 3.5 inches in diameter, the unique HyperBounce technology means this brightly colored water-skipping ball can be skipped, bounced, and more, for hours of pool fun.
The mega ball is recommended for children ages 6 and above, but since it’s very soft and made from non-toxic materials, it could be used by younger children, with adult supervision.
19. Swimways Baby Spring Pool Float
Babies need fun pool toys too, and here you sit baby inside by inserting their legs into the provided holes so they can float leisurely. The great thing about this float is that it also comes with a canopy over the top to protect baby from the hot sun. Furthermore, an interactive play station with six toys is included.
No need to worry about storage and transportation. This pool float can be folded easily and also comes with a carrying case for convenience. It’s available in an octopus or lobster design. This float is recommended for ages 9 months to 2 years.
20. Intex Stingray Ride-On Baby Float
If the sea calls to your baby like Moana, this stingray float is a must-have for them. It comes in a light blue stingray design and has a protective sunshade as well as an inflatable handlebar. It’s also equipped with two air chambers for added safety.
The only downside to this is that the sunshade isn’t removable so you may have trouble getting baby in and out. This float is suitable for babies 1–2 years old and can safely hold up to 25 pounds.
21. SwimSchool Aquarium Baby Boat
This pool float comes with a 3-ply safety seat and measures at an optimal length for stability. The seat will keep baby comfortable as it keeps them upright while they play.
It has an adorable aquarium design and also comes with two interactive areas for babies aged 6 to 18 months. It doesn’t come with a canopy, so making sure baby is properly covered is a must.
22. Inflatable Emoji Beach Balls
Like unicorns, “emojis” are all the rage with kids these days and if your child is into them, these beach balls are an affordable pool toy to add to your collection.
This set comes with 12 emoji-themed beach balls, each with a different emoji face. These are super compact and can easily be blown up by mouth. Recommended for children ages 3 and above.
23. JOYIN Giant Inflatable Pizza Float
This pizza float is made of super-durable raft material and can hold up to 300 pounds, clearly made for more than one to hop on board!
It’s both UV- and tear-resistant and comes with directions to ensure the valve is correctly sealed to prevent air leakage. It measures 5 feet across and is appropriate for children aged 9 and above.
Let’s Dive In
Summer can be a scorcher, so it’s no surprise that swimming is the most popular pastime during those hot months. Finding the best pool toys for kids is hard, because you want to make sure you’re buying age-appropriate toys that are still fun.
The pool toys we reviewed in this article cover a variety of ages, from infancy to tweens and up, so you’re sure to find something for your kids here.
Our personal favorite is the Bulzi Bucket. We love this one because of its portability and versatility. The fact that it can be easily broken down and stored is great for taking to and from parties.
Do you own any of the pool toys we listed? Which one is your favorite? Let us know!