There’s no question that pool time and bath time are great fun, especially in the heat of summer. Most kids love being in the water, whether that’s learning to swim or just having a grand old time splashing about to beat the heat. Water toys also add a whole world of opportunities for interactive, whimsical fun during bath time.
We’ve reviewed an exciting range of products to help you find the best water toys for kids—so your kids are sure to have maximum fun in the sun and will happily splash around when it’s time to get clean.
First, let’s start off with what you should look for when selecting a water toy for your little one.
- Choosing a Great Water Toy for Your Child
- Top 18 Best Water Toys for Kids 2021
- 1. CozyBomB Magnetic Fishing Game Set
- 2. SplashEZ 3-In-1 Sprinkler Pool
- 3. Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas Waterpark Play Table
- 4. Intex Pool Volleyball Game
- 5. Green Toys Ferry Boat
- 6. Free Swimming Baby Inflatable Baby Swim Float
- 7. SwimWays Spring Float Activity Center
- 8. Bobor Trampoline Sprinkler
- 9. WowWee Baby Shark Bath Squirt Toy Set
- 10. SwimWays Toypedo Bandits
- 11. Green Toys Submarine
- 12. Intex Mega Flamingo Inflatable Island
- 13. Fin Fun Mermaid Tail
- 14. Water Sports Swim Thru Rings
- 15. Altasonix Water Blaster Soaker Gun
- 16. Oodles of Noodles Foam Pool Noodles
- 17. SwimWays Finding Dory Dive and Catch Game
- 18. Watermelon Ball Pool Ball
- Final Words
Choosing a Great Water Toy for Your Child
In the summer, all kids really need is a swimsuit, a pool, and nice weather to have a lovely time. Other times, kids will be happy enough to splash about during bath time—with no regard for the mess it leaves behind!
Using water toys to ramp up the action can be a great way to keep kids active and healthy. Plus, if your child doesn’t like water, having a toy can also help them eventually warm up to the idea of spending time in the water.
With the sheer number of toys available on the market, there are a few things you should look out for to ensure your money is well spent.
Firstly, your best bet is to select toys that are appropriate for your child’s age. Each of our reviews provides a recommended age range.
Toys should always meet international safety standards to prevent any accidents. All of the toys on our list are safe for in-water play. You should also make it a point to follow manufacturer guidelines and read through any safety information provided with the toy.
But what about the toy itself? To help give you some direction, we’ve divided up the toys that feature on our list into several categories.
Many water toys are geared towards older children, but there are also options available for younger kids, many of which are bath toys. Bath toys also work well for the kiddie pool, as toddlers and preschoolers may not have the same swimming ability and physical coordination as older kids.
For children in preschool or older, play accessories like play centers and waterproof toys that add to playtime are great for developing coordination and social skills. They can be played with whether alone or in small groups.
Some play accessories are even designed to help kids become more active in the water.
Sports games like ball games that have been adapted for water play are great for athletic, active kids who like a little competition. They are best for groups of children who are relatively good swimmers.
Other sports games like diving toys (in the form of weighted shapes and hoops) help children get better at swimming – kids can practice holding their breath and try racing to get the toy first.
For kids that like something a little different, one of our favorite types of water toys is novelty swimwear. Of course, you could always wear regular swimwear during water play – but it’s just not as fun as a mermaid costume.
Water toys provide plenty of options to encourage activity, keeping kids of all ages healthy and happy during the idyllic summer months. Let’s look at the water toys that we reviewed.
Top 18 Best Water Toys for Kids 2021
Type: Bath toy
We like that this fishing game set comes with two nets, two fishing rods, and a wide variety of toy fish so that several kids can participate in the fun together. The fishing game is also durable, with industrial standard quality control and ASTM and CPC safety certification.
The CozyBomb Magnetic Fishing Game set is best suited to children about 3 to 6 years old – younger children may need more instruction to use the toy as intended. This toy is able to hold up to heavy use and rough play from toddlers, as the toy parts are made from solid PVC plastic. Still, small parts are included in the set, which can be a choking hazard for very young children.
Unlike the Green Toys Ferry Boat, this fishing game can accommodate up to four excited kids during playtime, more if they don’t mind taking turns and sharing. This toy is great for any situation that involves more than one child playing together, especially families with siblings and playdates.
Type: Play accessory
Combining a splash pad, inbuilt sprinklers, and a wading pool in one fun package, this sprinkler pool has something for every kid. It even has a learning mat for its base so kids can learn while they play! We love that this toy is versatile enough to keep a young child’s attention while keeping them cool in the heat of summer.
The SplashEZ sprinkler pool is both reusable and great for outdoor use, with a soft and supportive rim that’s sturdy enough to keep water in without hurting little feet if it’s stepped on. All materials used in this toy are BPA-free and contain no phthalates, so parents can rest assured their child is playing safely.
This sprinkler pool provides an alternative to toys meant for older children like this mermaid tail – most kids want in on the aquatic fun, but tiny tots need a little bit of time before they have the physical ability to swim and play in the water.
In the meantime, very young children can enjoy themselves splashing about in shallow water where it’s safer, and parents can have a little peace of mind allowing kids to play with toys that are appropriate for their developmental stage.
Type: Play accessory
This Little Tikes play table is great for toddlers that are learning how to play! Loaded with features and moving parts that make for dynamic playtime, this toy comes with squirting, floating balls that can be dropped down the spiral tube center. Once the balls make it into the lazy river, they can be scooped up and dropped off by turning the attached Ferris wheel.
We like that this water table is just the right height for kids, making it accessible to younger children. This toy needs to be assembled to be played with – it has a plug that can be removed to drain the toy after every use.
Compared to the Intex Mega Flamingo Inflatable Island, the Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table is designed for younger children and provides an interactive experience without requiring the use of a swimming pool.
Type: Sports game
We like that the Intex Pool Volleyball Game is great for larger groups of children and team sports – kids will have plenty of fun playing with the inflatable volleyball and floating net. Each game set also contains anchor bags that can be filled with heavy items to prevent the net from floating away, with a repair patch included just in case.
This sports game is durable enough to withstand being bounced across rocks and plants if it escapes the pool, so kids can play all they like without worrying about damaging the toy. Intex’s NoTox Premium Grade Non-Toxic Solution is used to manufacture their products, which are then independently tested to ensure that they are clean and safe for children.
Kids who are older than preschool age will enjoy playing with the Intex Pool Volleyball Game, more so than they would with this play table. The group play element and physical challenge of playing volleyball in the pool are much more appealing to older children who have already learned how to swim.
Type: Bath toy
This ferry boat bath toy has two cars that fit into its cargo area and a ramp, with plenty of room for other toys like action figures or other bath toys. We like that it drains well, reducing the risk of mold – it’s even dishwasher safe and food safe.
The Green Toys Ferry Boat is made from sturdy recycled plastic with no BPA, lead, or phthalates. Every part of this toy is manufactured in the USA and meets international toy safety standards, reducing emissions in the manufacturing process and providing the best fun with the most safety.
One great thing about this toy is that, unlike the Watermelon pool ball, kids can play with the Green Toys Ferry Boat on its own without any need for more odds and ends.
While playing with more friends is always more fun, group play is entirely optional with this toy, and it can also be played with on its own without the need for a swimming pool or a wading pool.
Geared towards children below 6 years old, this water toy is great for parents who are working on getting their child to swim. This float is built to encourage good horizontal swimming posture instead of the regular vertical position used in most other floats.
The Free Swimming Baby Inflatable Baby Swim Float is designed to prevent flipping, with additional safety features like extra straps, bells, and dual air compartments to further ensure toy safety. All parts of this toy are inflatable, making it portable and easy to store.
Compared to these swim through pool rings that are meant for older children, this pool float is much more age-appropriate, giving parents the chance to enjoy time in the water without having to carry a young child all of the time.
We really like that this pool float makes pool time accessible to kids younger than preschool age who might not be able to swim just yet – there’s no reason why little ones should be left out of the fun!
Type: Play accessory
The SwimWays Spring Float Activity Center is designed for young children, with additional interactive toys that help babies enjoy their introduction to water. It folds easily into a convenient carry case for storage and transport, making it great for travel.
This toy is made with safety features such as dual air chambers, a patented inner spring for better water stability, and child safety valves. This float activity center also has a removable canopy as sun protection, with mesh sides that allow parents to maintain eye contact with the child inside.
While most young children would be happy to play with water toys, this floating activity center adds a little extra to playtime, providing little ones with the chance to experience being immersed in water.
It sure doesn’t hurt that the toys in the activity center are adorable, adding to the cute factor when a baby is put in for some quality time in the water with mom or dad!
Type: Play accessory
Bobor’s trampoline sprinklers are great for outdoor activities in the summer – kids playing on the trampoline get to cool off and play for longer while the sprinklers do their work in reducing the surrounding temperature.
These sprinklers install easily using zip ties that mount the hose onto the outside of the trampoline net. Once assembled correctly, kids can jump and play without worrying about accidentally grabbing onto the sprinkler hose. These sprinklers can also be used for non-play purposes, like watering gardens and keeping outdoor areas cool.
Unlike the water soakers from Altasonix, these trampoline sprinklers from Bobor automatically spray everyone within the vicinity with water – no manual pump action is required to get cool beyond turning the sprinklers off and on.
This water toy is a great addition to homes that already have a trampoline or homes that need a little extra help cooling off.
Type: Bath toy
The WowWee Baby Shark bath squirt toy set is made for young children with small hands, so they get to join in on the aquatic fun. Kids who love Pinkfong’s Baby Shark song will love that they can have, hold, and play with a toy based on the song.
The toys included are Baby Shark, Mommy Shark, Daddy Shark, and William – all parts of this bath toy set are made with BPA-free plastic. Parents can rest assured knowing that this toy is safe to be gnawed on and played with, but steps should be taken to prevent and monitor mold growth as with most bath toys that squirt water.
These water toys are portable and easily brought into the bath or the pool. We like that these squirt toys are interactive and add to bath time fun for little ones who love marine animals.
Type: Sports game
SwimWays Toypedo Bandits are great for kids that are learning how to swim. They are about 5 inches in length and torpedo-shaped, with hydrodynamic action that helps them glide underwater for a distance when thrown. The toy’s colors also don’t fade easily, holding up well in the sun and in the water.
As they are smaller in size, they work well with small hands that may not have the strength to throw the full-sized swimming torpedo toys. They come in packs of four, which makes them great for small groups of children playing together in the pool. Kids can play games trying to catch the toy before it hits the bottom of the pool, training their ability to swim better.
Like the foam pool noodles from Oodles of Noodles, the SwimWays Toypedo Bandits are meant to be used in a pool – however, while the pool noodles help kids float, this toy is best played with while swimming underwater.
Type: Bath toy
The Green Toys Submarine is a great, sturdy toy for kids – it floats well on water, and when it is filled with water, it also sinks. Kids can use the handle built into the toy to hold the submarine while scooping and pouring water.
We like that this bath toy submarine is made from 100% recycled material with no BPA, PVC, phthalates, and external coatings. For ease of use, this toy submarine is dishwasher safe and easy to clean – the submarine cabin can be opened and shut, and the entire toy dries easily. The toy also meets FDA food contact standards, so kids can safely play and even chew on the toy.
Compared to the Free Swimming Baby Inflatable Baby Swim Float, both of these toys are made for young children – however, the swim float is best used in a swimming pool, while the Green Toys Submarine can be played with either on its own, in the bath, or in the pool as well.
We think this toy is great simply because it’s versatile and as child-proof as it gets – it’s definitely a toy that can follow its owner anywhere and everywhere.
Type: Play accessory
The Intex Mega Flamingo Inflatable Island is a fantastic option for pool time with many children, as its sheer size makes it great for riding, playing, and lounging on. Safety features for this toy include heavy-duty handles, two air chambers, and 14-gauge vinyl construction to keep it sturdy and able to keep up with rambunctious kids enjoying their summer.
This ride-on pool float can take up to 440 lbs and is six feet across, so adults can use it too. However, it is not very portable as it is too large to be stored while inflated and inflating and deflating it before and after every use can be a hassle.
We think this giant flamingo inflatable island is great for groups of older children – because it’s durable and large, more than one kid can play with it at the same time. For younger children who may not be able to swim very well just yet, this squirt toy set is a good alternative that lets little ones join in on the fun while they enjoy themselves in the shallow end of the pool.
Kids who like dressing up and kids who like swimming aids will enjoy this toy – the Fin Fun mermaid tail encourages role-playing and imagination while also helping kids learn how to move differently in the water.
This mermaid tail has a reinforced tail tip to prevent damage to the fabric, and a patented monofin that is easy to remove in the water, comfortable and safe. While most monofins have a strap used to keep feet in the monofin, the Fin Fun Mermaid Tail’s monofin functions like a sock that fits snugly and securely around feet without affecting swimming ability.
Compared to the magnetic fishing game set from CozyBomb, we think the Fin Fun Mermaid Tail is better suited to older kids who are strong swimmers. Learning how to swim with the tail on poses a fun physical challenge for kids who have always dreamed about being a mermaid.
Type: Sports game
Geared for older kids, Water Sports Swim Thru Rings are collapsible and inflatable, with adjustable air chambers that allow kids to set the depth they want for the rings. Kids working on their swimming abilities can use these rings to add fun to pool time by playing aquatic games and holding swimming competitions.
This toy is made with a bendable metal center, with easy-to-use tabs for inflating and deflating – we like that they are heavy enough to float and stay in place like they’re supposed to while also being light enough to follow along when a person stands up while wearing the ring.
Unlike this sprinkler pool, the Water Sports Swim Thru Rings are meant to be used in a pool deep enough to swim freely in. While the SplashEZ 3-in-1 sprinkler pool is great fun for younger kids who can’t swim yet, older kids will enjoy challenging themselves with these swim rings.
Type: Bath toy
The Leo & Tomi Water Blaster Soaker Gun set is made of foam and plastic, one of the lightest, safest, and most user-friendly water pistols available on the market. These soaker guns float in the pool and they are easy to operate, even for supervised toddlers – all you have to do is pull the handle, aim, and squirt!
Compared to this trampoline sprinkler, this water soaker toy is much more portable as a way to keep cool. For homes that don’t have a trampoline, this toy is great for kids to have fun and chase each other around, guaranteeing hours of fun.
The Leo & Tomi Water Blaster Soaker Gun is approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, so parents can rest assured that kids using this toy are well taken care of.
Type: Play accessory
Oodles of Noodles foam pool noodles are made from safe, non-toxic polyethylene foam that is both dense and high quality, allowing for better buoyancy and stiffness so kids can play happily and safely without worrying about causing damage to the pool noodles.
These pool noodles are great for kids who are learning how to swim because they can be used as a substitute for a kickboard – pool noodles are also great for low-impact exercise. Kids can use this toy to play games and tow each other around. Because it is relatively light and soft, kids can also use pool noodles to play fight with each other.
For kids who prefer diving underwater instead of floating around, check out these dive toys from SwimWays. The pool noodles help beginner swimmers get their bearings in the water, while the SwimWays Toypedo Bandits help intermediate to advanced swimmers get better at diving underwater.
For younger kids, this pool toy set is great for building hand-eye coordination and for learning how to swim. The characters can be tossed into the pool and then retrieved with the net that comes with – each character floats at different depths to keep things interesting.
As with all pool toys, children should always be supervised when playing in the water, especially young children who like to put things in their mouth or put their fingers in funny places.
We love this toy for little ones who have developed some ability to catch and release toys – being able to swim after the toys is a bonus. For tinier tots who aren’t able to swim well yet, the Green Toys Submarine is a great alternative as it can both float on the surface and sink underwater.
Type: Sports game
The Watermelon Ball is different from other inflatable pool toys – this toy is filled with water instead of air. Due to its neutral buoyancy in the water, it can be passed and bounced underwater, which makes it great for underwater and dive games. When correctly inflated and in play, the ball sinks and then slowly rises to the surface in water.
This ball has thick, durable rubber walls – it holds up well to summer weather conditions, although pool chlorine can bleach it if it is left in the pool. We recommend playing with it gently at first, as a ball full of water is heavy enough to cause injuries if thrown too hard.
Like the SwimWays Finding Dory Dive and Catch Game, this pool ball is great for underwater playtime in groups. However, the dive and catch game is better for bath time with younger children, while the Watermelon Ball suits older kids better.
Toys bring enrichment and entertainment to both children and adults, with pool toys adding extra encouragement to move about while cooling off in the summer. With our list of product recommendations, it will be easy to find the pool toy that best suits your child.
Still searching for that perfect water toy for your little one? Check out more water toy ideas here.