An inflatable or hard plastic kiddie pool could be the key to your sanity this summer because it can entertain your kiddos for hours. On a sweaty and sticky day there is nothing better than jumping into a cold pool on an inflatable slide, then drying off and lounging poolside while casually working on a tie dye kit. If that isn’t a great summer day for a kid, then what is? Kids don’t care if it’s 100 degrees or 10, they want to swim, and as moms, we don’t always want to get in with them. (Think cold water hitting the midriff — it’s the worst!) For the best of both worlds — the ability to swim when you want or just supervise when you want — is the backyard kiddie pool. Luckily, there are options from Amazon, Walmart, and more, but they’re selling out fast!
The reason kiddie pools and inflatables are so great is because they’re simple and fun. Kiddie pools aren’t so much about learning to swim as they are for cooling off and making everyone a little less irritable. For babies, splash pads and little pools can get them used to the water in an approachable way. For bigger kids, they can feel like they’re in a real above ground pool— making for an awesome staycation. As a bonus, kiddie pools also have so many alternate uses when our LOs outgrow them (Pet pool? Hey, a bride even dyed her dress green in one!).
At this time of the year when the “oh sh*t the kids need new bathing suits” panic is starting to hit, the competition for backyard pools and inflatables is fierce. Think too hard about committing and poof it’s gone out of your cart! We’ve taken the pressure off by collecting some no-brainer options for kids of all ages (and adults too) to help beat the heat this summer. Mamas who are pregnant AF, these are as much for you as they are for the littles!
Best Pools & Inflatables for Babies & Toddlers
This inflatable pool from Intex kind of has everything your kiddo needs to have a fun-filled summer day in the sun. There’s ring toss games, a slide, a pool, a two-section pool, and sprinklers underneath the rainbow. (See, told you has everything). This inflatable play center is top rated on Amazon with nearly 9,000 reviews! “…Lemme tell you what… it’s worth every penny! ” said one reviewer. “This size is perfect for small children, the sprayer works great (turn down hose for a nice spray effect on the side, turn your hose on all the way for a spray up fountain – like effect). I used a shop vac to blow up – super easy!!” My parents who reviewed the pool mentioned it’s a great as a ball pit too!
If you’re little one is sensitive to the sun (and lets be honest, most of us are after a couple hours), this Intex pool comes with a removable sun shade! At 62 inches wide, it’s big enough for a few toddlers at once — perfect to keep them all occupied and having fun!
One happy customer said, “Absolutely love this pool! It is my favorite of all the kiddie pools we have had (and we’ve had just about every single one on the market). It easily inflates and deflates. The best feature is the drain! Which makes for easy disassembling. The detachable top provides a great shaded space and stays velcroed to the pool while in use. Highly recommend! Currently being used by ages 2-7 years.”
If this Happy Dino Inflatable Play Center isn’t the definition of summer fun, then we don’t know what is. Come one, come all (and bring a friend and beach ball while you’re at it)! Summer is fleeting—we 10/10 recommend snagging this awesome inflatable while the temps are scorching. Fun add-ons include a water slide (Weeee!), a ring toss game, and a water sprayer spout. Go ahead and count on hours of entertainment in your backyard. And the reviews are in! Says one parent, “I gave it to my 3 year old nephew for his birthday for something to do during the quarantine. He loves it! It’s perfect for one toddler, but might be a tight fit with additional children. My nephew likes to run and jump in it and he had his stroller in it the other day. So far it has held up to a busy 3 year old.”
Now that it’s summer, bring your ball pit outdoors for splash fun. What was a perfect toddler indoor ball pit (deflates for storage when not in use) with 25 play balls, now fills with water to cool ’em off. Load up the conveyer belt with balls and let the kids pull the bucket to see the drop zone in action. This shallow pool is just enough to give them the fun of water without the worry, and the ball pit is constant fun as we all know! This is a great combo, and once it’s dried off after months of outdoor use, it can come back in for fall. Sorry, but summer’s not forever.
Best Splash Pads for Toddlers
Raise your hand if you have kids that constantly complain about it being too hot. Same, mama, SAME. With this splash-pad-turned-kiddie-pool in your possession, you’ll never have to hear the words “Mom, I’m bored” again. If you have girlies, then they’ll especially appreciate the all-pink-err’thang princess theme. Crowns and wands are included to encourage imaginative play. One Amazon customer weighs in, “This is a must-have for summertime with kids! Product arrived quickly and just as pictured. My kids said that they could play in it all day long and they definitely do! There is plenty of room for all 3 of my kids (7,5&3) The water sprays just above the 5&3 yo heads and collects water to act as a pool! They also have room to add our plastic slide! Worth every penny and keeps the kids cool and entertained! They feel like princesses and love the design too!”
Once baby has learned to run, watch out! Toddlers love to run and jump in puddles – and on furniture, and stairs, and anywhere else they shouldn’t be! SplashEZ has created the perfect blend of baby pool and splash pad for our active and excitable toddlers. Realistically, they don’t have the coordination to be working on their breaststroke out in the backyard. Instead they want to cool off and act a fool in the water in a way mom won’t let them during bathtime.
Insert the splash pad – Yes mamas you need this! Let them run, jump, tire themselves out with minimal yard mess as the pad attaches to a garden hose and sprays a continuous stream of water for LOs to navigate through. The water pools up to a shallow level for when they’re tired out and just want to sit in their swim diaper (at 5’ there’s room for even mom to sit). Our favorite bonus of an already awesome summer time toy? The ABCs design on the pad making this both educational and fun!
Best Pools for Preschoolers
This small but mighty pool is just what the kiddos need to help them stay cool in the backyard. Play your cards right and you might be able to stick your feet in for some much-needed relief after mowing the yard. Setup is easy, and you’ll be able to monitor the level of cleanliness (Pro tip: Just don’t let the dog jump in.) Whether nearby pools are still closed due to COVID-19 regulations or you don’t quite feel safe taking your kids for a community swim, this small kiddie pool will fit the bill just fine. Raves one mama, “This an awesome toddler pool! My three girls love it. They are ages 7,5, and 3. It was very easy to set up and draining the pool is easy as well just by stepping on a side and letting the water out.”
Mamas, get ready to make a splash (literally) with this playful inflatable Kiddie Pool from Intex. Constructed from durable vinyl, the walls of the pool are formed by three colorful rings. It’s just the right size for your little swimmers (ages 3 and up) to escape the sweltering heat. Pro tip: Keep a box of Bomb Pops in your freezer stocked at all times for a helluva good time. Shares one Amazon customer, “I got this for my four-year-old since it’s getting hot and she loves swimming. The second she laid her little eyes in it, it was game over! She loves everything about it and excitedly tells everyone about her rainbow pool. I personally love the fact that it also has an inflatable bottom so her sensitive skin is protected from the rough ground it’s on and it’s big enough for both her and I to play in it which apparently is everyday since we got it.”
Ask any preschooler— if this pool fits in your backyard, buddy’s gotta have it! It’s like a personal playpen of water fun ready in just 10 minutes. The four foot square is only one foot deep, but has the look and feel of a real above ground pool. The heavy duty metal frame is durable to last multiple summers and through multiple kids but is also padded to keep the pool ouch free. Sized right for preschoolers ages 3 and up, this 90 gallon capacity pool (complete with a floor drain) has over 500 five star reviews on Amazon.
One ingenious reviewer had these protips to share, “It was easy to assemble after some thought, as the instructions were a little less than clear. I have it set up on a concrete porch with a foam play mat under it. It’s the perfect amount of cushion. As someone else mentioned, the drain is in the BOTTOM and corner of the pool. I prop something under that corner to help things along, and just flip the pool and empty it when the water level gets low enough.”
Intex, a globally renowned company, has made kiddie pools like this Crystal Blue Inflatable Pool a little more exciting than us mamas remember them being. Intex started designing pools in 1997 and has not stopped innovating backyard fun since then. According to their website, “Our objective is to deliver the highest quality products at an affordable price, all designed for comfort, safety and fun. For over 10 years, we’ve worked with our supplier to reduce the amount of fossil fuels used.”
Our preschoolers don’t care what material their pools are made out of or how durable they are, but we do. There’s a reason this is Amazon’s number one best seller, and that’s because dogs, husbands, and brides (yes you read that right) have all used this kiddie pool to suit their needs. We’ve seen and heard stories of everything from backyard play to dad’s taking a lawn mowing time out in this classic. If it can meet a bride’s expectations, surely it can work for our demanding preschoolers!
Best Pools for Bigger Kids
Seek respite from the heat by taking advantage of your kiddo’s backyard pool. We specifically like this inflatable option from AOKIWO for its spacious size. There’s enough room to fit up to two adults and three kids. It’s made from durable PVC materials that are 50% thicker than similar pools on the market. (Bonus: You won’t be able to resist the cute fishy pattern adorning the pool.) During the off-season, it can even be used as an epic ball pit.
Amazon customers can’t stop raving. One parent shares, “This is exactly what we needed for my 5-year-old. The pool is big enough to fit several people comfortably. The quality of the material is great. It arrived a week faster than anticipated. These are crazy times with the Covid-19 restrictions we currently have in place, but having this pool is a good distraction from it all. I highly recommend this product. I have zero complaints. It’s big, it’s well made, It’s practical, and it’s pretty.”
This inflatable pool from PoolCandy is perfect for two big kids/adults or a few little ones. The Butterfly theme is something they’re sure to love — but you’ve got other options too! From rainbows and watermelons to glitter and fruit.
Ah, the classic inflatable pool. No frills, no prints or patterns — just fun for the entire family. This inflatable pool from Sable is big enough for the entire family (yes parents, teens, and little kids too!) It’s also top-rated on Amazon with 4,500+ reviews. “This is one of the best inflatable pools I’ve ever had. Made out of super durable materials, so I have no worries of it lasting a long time! I would definitely recommend!” said one reviewer. Another raved about the space saying, “We have 2 teenagers & a 10-year-old & all 3 of them fit comfortably in the pool w/room to move around. We don’t have much space in our backyard, so this pool was an ideal choice. Draining & deflating the pool was also very easy. After we drained, dried, & deflated the pool, we just folded it up & put it away until the next time our kids decide to use it again. I have a feeling this will be used extensively over the summer though, especially w/the AZ heat.”
Other Fun Options For Kids
I have a feeling you’re missing water parks as much as the kids this time around, Mama. While we may not be able to get there yet, this epic inflatable water slide and pool from Costzon should feel the void this summer. Oh, and there’s a climbing wall too! One Amazon reviewer said, “I recently had a birthday party with 10 kiddos, ranging from 6-8. All 10 played on the slide, and I was very impressed with how sturdy and durable the slide was. They played on that for a good 4 hours straight.”
Want to keep the kids busy (err, distracted) for hours? Go big or go home with this epic Jump and Splash Adventure Bounce House that will make them never want to leave the backyard. Just add water for full enjoyment—your kids will be jumping and splashing until they’re silly. Additional features include an inflatable basketball hoop and a small climbing wall. One customer raves, “BEST… PURCHASE… EVER!!! Bought this 9 months ago for my 3 kids (3, 5, 8). We use it every weekend and needless to say our house is a hit with all the neighbourhood kids! Suitable for all seasons… water during the summer… and fits into a garage in the winter.” Another mama adds, “We bought this for our 5 year old to play in during the summer because he loves 2 things – bouncy castles and water. He LOVES this thing. We haven’t had any problems with it yet at all. Blower works great, it’s standing up perfectly to his use.”
Looking for more ways to entertain the littles? Check out all of our mom-approved kids gear for more summer fun.