Parenting

24 awesome water toys your kids will play with all summer long

Keep cool and have fun with these backyard toys.

Kids playing in a giant rocket ship sprinkler Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

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Summer is really the only time of year when kids can stay outside from morning to night, burning off the pent-up steam they’ve been building up since social distancing first went into place. So let your kids' outdoor time really count.

This summer is going to be a hot one, and with social distancing guidelines still in place, we are all going to need a little bit of escape to mix things up. Whether it's running through a sprinkler, jumping in a kiddie pool, or having a water-balloon fight, it's time to get your kid off the computer and into some interactive water play. Turn up the fun with the 24 best toys for water play under the sun. All of these are available right now, for instant gratification.

1. Go Bananas Monkey Swimming Pool

Go Bananas
Credit: Pool Master

The perfect size for the smallest pool lovers.

Best for ages: 12 to 36 months
This cute inflatable play pool is designed with the littlest water babies in mind. The jungle-themed canopy offers a little bit of extra sun protection, allowing your little one to splash all day long. As if the jungle theme wasn't cute enough, it also features a matching inflatable monkey buddy to keep your kiddo company.

Get the Go Bananas Monkey Swimming Pool at Amazon for $37.60

2. Tropical Palm Kiddie Pool

Tropical Palm Pool
Credit: Funboy

This chic inflatable pool has plenty of room for all of their friends.

Best for ages: 12 months to adult
As they get older, kids are going to need a bit more space. Not all of us have the room for an expansive swimming pool, but a 66-inch diameter makes this pool the perfect size: small enough to squeeze into your back yard but big enough to fit all your kids in at once. Lots of blow-up pools only have two rungs of inflatable layers. This three-layer pool lets you fill it up just a little bit deeper for bigger kids and doubles as a perfect place for you to recline during hot nights after the kids have gone to bed.

Get the Tropical Palm kiddie pool at FunBoy.com for $59

3. SplashEZ 3-in-1 Sprinkler for Kids, Splash Pad, and Wading Pool

3-in-1 Sprinkler
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

This toy is a sprinkler, a splash pad, and a kiddie pool all in one.

Best for ages: 18 months to 6 years
A sprinkler, a splash pad, and a kiddie pool all in one! If you have a small space and want to make a big impact this summer, a mini splash pad is a must-have. A super-versatile summer option, it’ll appeal to little ones who want to splash, and slightly bigger kids who want a sprinkler to run and jump through. We also like that even after the sprinklers are turned off, this toy holds about an inch or two of water, so there's still a place to play without leaving the sprinkler to run all day.

Get the SplashEZ 3-in-1 Sprinkler for Kids at Amazon for $26.99

4. Fun N’ Fruity play center

Fun N Fruity
Credit: Intex

A water toy with a tropical theme adds a colorful pop to your backyard.

Best for ages: 2 and up
There are so many water play centers out there to choose from, but we like this one because of the sturdy construction. There’s sensory-play options with the ball centers for little ones, and a water slide for the more adventurous preschoolers. It’s also a cute design that continues to look fun and festive even when the kiddos are drying off and the parents need a place to sip their piña coladas.

Get the Intex Fun N’ Fruity play center at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $59.99

5. Step2 Car Wash Coupe

Car Wash Coupe
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

A car they can wash all by themselves.

Best for ages: 2 to 6
Half water table and half pretend car wash, there is so much imaginative play and fun to be had as kids splash, pour, and spritz their day away. This car wash play center lets your kiddo clean a car of their own with numerous interactive water play areas. Kids can fill up the gas tank, spritz-clean the windshield, and create cascading waterfalls from the hood.

Get the Step2 Car Wash Coupe at Kohl's for $139.99

6. Step2 Water Park Arcade

Water Park Arcade
Credit: Step2

Kids will love using their water blaster to aim at the various targets on the Water Park Arcade.

Best for ages: 3 to 7
A fun way for kids to get a little competitive during water play, the Step2 Water Park puts a bit of excitement into hand-eye coordination and gives kids fun practice at building hand strength and honing their aim. With the included, kiddie-sized water blaster, kids can aim at a bunch of different targets including a spinning paddle, pinwheel, and several knock-down flaps, making this a winning combo of water fun and exciting entertainment.

Get the Step2 Water Park Arcade for at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $49.99

7. Funboy Inflatable Kids Rocket Ship Sprinkler

Funboy Rocket
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

The ultimate backyard sprinkler.

Best for ages: 2 and up
This nearly 8-foot-tall sprinkler is sure to make your summer a blast. This rocket ship-inspired sprinkler shoots water in four directions, making this a 360-degree soaker. Kids can run through or under the streams of this big boy (perfect if you have bigger kids who love to get soaked, and smaller kids who just want to run around without getting sprayed in the face). Funboy will also be donating 20% of all profits of the sale of this out-of-this-world summer toy to Feeding America during COVID-19.

Get the Inflatable Kids Rocket Ship Sprinkler at Funboy for $69.99

8. Wet & Wild Light Show Sprinkler

Light show sprinkler
Credit: Wet & Wild

Take running through the sprinkler to the next level with the Light Show Sprinkler.

Best for ages: 3 and up
The time-honored tradition of kids running through a lawn sprinkler just got a major upgrade. Once the water is turned on, there is no escaping the wily mini-hoses that spring up like crazed tentacles, tossing streams of water in every chaotic direction. We also like that this one lights up. Sure, sprinkler-running is typically a sunny-day sport, but this allows you to take the fun into sunset.

Get the Wet & Wild light show sprinkler at Target for $15

9. Zuru Bunch O Balloons

Bunch O Balloons
Credit: Zuru

Filling water balloons is easy—and fast—thanks to Bunch O Balloons.

Best for ages: 5 and up
Nothing beats a good water balloon fight, but filling and tying water balloons is a tedious task. Zuru Bunch O Balloons is the ultimate in water-balloon-making technology that you never knew you needed. In less than 60 seconds, you can fill and tie 100 water balloons. Simply connect to a tap or a hose and instantaneously fill and make hundreds of water balloons with no hand-tying. This is a serious tool for unleashing summer fun.

Get the Zuru Bunch O Balloons 24-pack at Target for $24.99

10. Splash Bombs Treasure Hunter Dive Set

Treasure Hunter Dive Set
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

Who can resist a chest full of sunken treasure?

Best for ages: 6 and up
Argh, mateys! This is a treasure chest to dive for. Filled with sparkly gold coins and shimmering jewels, this sure beats hum-drum dive rings. Adding to the imaginative play element is a mysterious chained-and-locked chest to keep all of the water treasures in after your little pirate has retrieved them from the watery depths.

Get the Splash Bombs Treasure Hunter 30-piece dive set at Target for $10

11. Playmobil Pirate Ship with underwater motor

Pirate ship
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

An underwater motor keeps this Pirate Ship sailing along.

Best for ages: 4 and up
This limited edition pirate ship was made with pool-play in mind. Its underwater motor propels the three pirates and the boat they use to pillage and plunder across the seven seas (or your inflatable pool). Kids can set sail for fun when they play with this toy.

Get the Playmobil Pirate Ship with underwater motor for $26.24

12. Barbie Dreamtopia Sparkle Lights Mermaid

Barbie Dreamtopia Mermaid
Credit: Barbie

A light-up mermaid tail makes this water toy especially magical.

Best for ages: 3 and up
What little girl hasn't dreamed of being a mermaid, at least for a little while? Barbie has always been about letting girls' imaginations soar; with this mermaid Barbie their imaginations can even swim. Her mermaid tail is water-activated to light up in a rainbow-colored light show. Push the sides of her peplum skirt for a wow moment as her tail mimics swimming.

Get the Barbie Dreamtopia Sparkle Lights Mermaid at Target for $16.10

13. Matchbox Marine Rescue Shark Ship

Marine Rescue Ship
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

A shark that chomps Matchbox cars will provide hours of water fun.

Best for ages: 3 and up
This floating matchbox boat goes from sea (or pool) to land (or back yard) for adventures and rescues wherever your child’s imagination takes them. Not only does this ship float but the helicopter and water cannon are submersible, squeezable squirt guns. The shark has some seriously cool chomping action and the mini inflatable boat floats, with enough room to hold a Matchbox car when it makes its escape to the most dangerous and action-filled reaches of the kiddie pool.

Get the Matchbox Marine Rescue Shark Ship at Target for $39.99

14. Super Sharkpedo

Sharkpedo
Credit: Prime Time Toys

This fast-moving shark can swim up to 40 feet underwater.

Best for ages: 6 and up
It’s a torpedo! It’s a shark! It’s a SHARKPEDO! More fun than a sharknado, this shark-shaped torpedo toy cuts through water with amazing precision and speed—think darts, but under water and with a shark. Its hydrodynamic design can make it go a distance of up to 40 feet, making it a perfect pool dive toy.

Get the Super Sharkpedo at Target for $10.99

15. Mr. Ray’s Dive and Catch game

Dive and Catch
Credit: SwimWays

Kids can use the net to collect the weighted pool toys with this fun set.

Best for ages: 5 and up
Stay in your school and don’t leave the anemone. With this toy, Nemo's ocean science teacher, Mr. Ray, is certain not to let any of his students get lost by swimming too far away. Kiddos will love scooping up any little fish that swim astray to bring them back to their school.

Get the Mr. Ray’s Dive and Catch game at Amazon for $14.99

16. Play Day Dive 'N Grab Scrambler Fish Set

Scrambler Fish set
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

This set of dive toys has different weights for more challenging pool fun.

Best for ages: 5 and up
For slightly more advanced swimmers, we really like this fish and net set. All of the aquatic creatures are of different weights and have different buoyancies, so they skim and sink through the water at different speeds, making for a more challenging chase and scoop.

Get the Play Day Dive 'N Grab 12-piece Scrambler Fish Set at Walmart for $14.99

17. Fin Fun Shark Fin

Fin Fun Shark
Credit: Fin Fun

They'll get a kick out of pretending to be a shark.

Best for ages: 4 and up
Your pool may only be two feet deep, but that doesn’t mean those waters aren’t treacherous. Kids can dive deep into their imagination with this buoyant foam fin. As a bonus this has just a tiny bit of flotation—definitely not enough to keep a kid above water, but enough to give a little bit of confidence to new swimmers.

Get the Fin Fun Shark Fin for Swimming at Amazon for $24.99

18. Bunch O Balloons Water Slide Wipeout

Waterslide Wipeout
Credit: Bunch O Balloons

What could be more fun that sliding into a bunch of water balloons?

Best for ages: 4 and up
This toy lets kids combine the thrill of a water slide with splashing into a pile of water balloons. Typical water balloon fights have nothing on the chaotic excitement of this toy.

Get the Bunch O Balloons Water Slide Wipeout at Target for $19.99

19. X-Shot Fast-Fill

XShot Fast Fill
Credit: XShot

A water gun that fills up in just one second means the fun never stops.

Best for ages: 5 and up
Water guns are a summer staple, but one of their biggest drawbacks is getting pummeled by your opponents when you stop to refill. The X-Shot Fast-Fill cuts refill time down to 60 seconds, making for an almost instantaneous return to the battleground. The back of the gun flips open, allowing kids to submerge, refill, and get back into water play faster than any other water gun we tried. We also love the action on this one—just enough tension to shoot water at amazing force, but not so much that it's hard on kids.

Get the X-Shot Fast-Fill at Amazon for $9.99

20. & 21. NERF Super Soaker "Fortnite" Pump SG Water Blaster and Adventure Force Triton Water Blaster

Water guns
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

Get ready for an epic water gun battle.

Best for ages: 5 and up
This soaker lets kids bring their "Fortnite" battles into real life with pump-action water blasting distances up to 30 feet. Easy to fill and fire, there’s a ton of power in this super lightweight soaker. Some soakers hold so much water that kids can barely carry them around, but this one strikes a perfect balance of lightweight with enough water storage to compete. If you have a screen-junkie for a kid, bringing their "Fortnite" battle to the backyard might be just the thing to get them outside.

The Adventure Force Triton has a really cool steady-action feature for the most forceable and focused stream of water in your kid's blasting adventures. This powerful beast of a soaker claims to reach distances of up to 38 feet. We didn't see it go quite that far, but it did reach well over 30 feet when tested. This one holds a bit more water than the competition, which makes it just a little bit heavier, so this soaker is best for slightly bigger kids.

22. Tidal Storm Aqua Strike Pump-Action Water Blaster 3-pack

Tidal Storm
Credit: Prime Time Toys

These lightweight water guns are ideal for younger kids.

Best for ages: 4 and up
There is a surprising amount of power in these lightweight pump-action water blasters. These are super lightweight and a great entry point for little water warriors. For this price point, the whole family can get in on the water-soaking fun.

Get the Tidal Storm Aqua Strike Pump-Action Water Blaster 3-pack at Target for $14.99

23. BANZAI Grand Slam N Splash

Grand Slam N Splash
Credit: Banzai

Sporty kids will love this tee-ball sprinkler.

Best for ages: 3 and up
Batter up—but don’t get too wet while you’re at it. In this version of tee-ball, a surge of water is the tee. Kids swing at the ball with an inflatable bat as it hovers on a steady stream of water. For a game that is fun, wet, and limits the inevitable summer shiner from rogue bats and balls, this is a fun way to cool off and mix things up.

Get the BANZAI Grand Slam N Splash at Amazon for $15.99

24. Goliath Hydro Zoom Ball

Hydro Zoom
Credit: Goliath

You never know who's going to get splashed with the Hydro Zoom ball.

Best for ages: 8 and up
It’s all fun and games until a water balloon explodes at you. Think of this as a water-soaked version of hot potato. Two players put a water balloon in the Hydro Zoom, sending it back-and-forth until BOOM, it bursts on the unlucky player. This game is wet, wild, and loads of fun.

Get the Goliath Hydro Zoom Ball at Amazon for $16.48

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