Once upon a time, pool toys for kids consisted of inflatable beach balls, rafts or tubes, and not a whole lot else (maybe pool-friendly Disney characters because 90s cartoons were everything back then). These days, there are all sorts of fun pool toys for kids (and adults, let’s be honest) that range from floating basketball hoops to diving sticks to wearable mermaid tails. We’ve come a long way from Marco Polo, baby.
No matter how old your kids are, there are pool toys available to keep them entertained, active, and improve their water skills. Little swimmers (guppies?) can get comfortable with toddler-friendly squirt toys and floating boats that can go from the bathtub to the pool and back again. Gem-filled treasure chests, scooping nets, and other dive-and-catch toys encourage bourgeoning swimmers, while options like a floating bean bag toss or inflatable water slide keep kids busy for hours. That’s the goal, right?
Whether you’re aiming to improve your little one’s confidence in the water or engage a whole gaggle of novice swimmers, you’ll find what you’re looking for ahead. Scroll on to shop the best pool toys for kids of all age levels and interests.
Pool Toys for Toddlers
Buy them for the pool, save them for the bath! A set of mini cars, squirter toy boats, and a ferry complete with a ramp (for loading the cars, obv) will keep your little water babe entertained in imaginative play. “Little people at our house love this in the shallow end of the pool,” according to one customer. Another’s son, “asks for bath time just to play with it!” Impressive.
Another pick that doubles as a bath or pool toy for kids, Green Toys’ bright seaplane has a spinning propeller, as well as a cockpit for figurines—excuse me, pilots—and it of course floats! Good for kids one year and older, this toddler toy will help develop fine motor and gross motor skills, is made of 100% recycled plastic, and it’s dishwasher safe. Check, check, and check!
Numbered guppies get gobbled up by an orca in this counting-game-meets-pool-toy. Kids two and up will love squeezing the whale’s trigger to open his mouth and catch each member of the floating feast in the pool or the bath. As one reviewer noted, “Occupied my 2+ year old grandson for an hour chasing the little fish in the pool and gathering them in the big fish.” Impressive!
For babies 9-24 months, this water float provides both entertainment and sun protection. A removable canopy offers UPF 50+, while the octopus (also removable) holds toys including a squeaker, stacking rings, rattle, and soft star. Plus, this pick folds up easily and comes in a carrying case, which means less schlepping and more splashing!
Best Pool Toys for Athletes
Indulge their hoop dreams with an inflatable pool-ready option. Thick material with reinforced seams means this pick is durable, which is pretty important when you’re dealing with rambunctious ballers. It’s easy to inflate thanks to larger valves and comes with the ball included. This hoop can accommodate a standard-size basketball, as well—you know, just in case.
What’s a summer day without a game of pool volleyball? This set from JOYIN comes with an inflatable net, volleyball, and a small basketball hoop too! You’re getting two for the price of one, mama and your kids will have a blast! One Amazon reviewer said, “this is a nice package! not only we got the volleyball set, there are weight bags included to make sure they stand properly over my pool. the balls are also included! surely brought fun and entertainment for everyone at home!”
Is there a kid around who isn’t crazy for emojis? This set comes with 12 inflatable balls (just under volleyball-sized), each with a different emoji expression. Since they’re smaller than the standard beach ball, these are great for younger kids and pool parties—when parties are a thing again, of course.
Unlike its inflatable floating counterparts, this basketball hoop sits poolside (with a water-weighted base) and is designed for in-ground pools. It comes with two inflatable water basketballs and a pump, features a sturdy backboard and rim. According to reviewers who sing its praises, this pool game is easy to set up and a win for both kids and adults!
Inflatable pool balls are nothing new, but this one sure is. Fill it with water, not air, and it will sink to the bottom of the pool and float back up again due to near-neutral buoyancy (science!). Kids can dribble, pass, or kick it underwater, giving a whole new meaning to “water sports.” No wonder a reviewer described it as,”the best pool toy that we have ever had” that “kept the kids busy all afternoon.” Sold.
Cool Pool Toys
The two classic backyard games get a fun, floating twist! Both kids and adults will love this pool version which includes an inflatable cornhole board, 5ft tall infatable cactus, 10 rings for tossing, and four waterproof floating bean bags. It’s more challenging then the original as the target moves, so if you’ve got kiddos who get easily frustrated, make sure to ties it down for extra stability!
What’s cooler than a remote control car? One that can drive in the water, too, of course. This amphibious vehicle can also do stunts like spins and flips—on both land and sea! Be aware: Grown-ups may want a turn at this toy, as well. “I bought this for my son (3yo) to use at the pool,” wrote one reviewer, “but this toy was so fun in no time his brother (16yo) father (54yo) and grandfather (75yo) were all taking turns…In order to reduce fighting over the toy I am buying a second one today.” OK, then.
Turn your backyard into a mini amusement park with the addition of an inflatable water slide—just attach a garden hose for sprayers to keep the slide wet. It features climbing handles, steps, and is a pretty decent size (nearly 11′ x 7′ x 4′), so keep that in mind. It’s also big on entertainment value, as one reviewer put it, “We purchased this slide for our 8 year old’s birthday party. Half the price of a bounce house rental and we get to keep it.” Fair point!
Lightweight, safe water guns that don’t look like, well, guns? We’re here for it. This pack of water blasters features cute characters and squirts up to 30 feet away. Plus, these “pistols” know no age limit so they’ll entertain kids from toddlers to teen—and adults! As one reviewer wrote, “We bought them for a backyard birthday party, all the kids loved them ranging from 18mo to 15years old. They were used all summer with no issues…”
Bring the fun of an arcade into the pool! (Bet you didn’t think that could ever happen). This 2-station arcade game from Swimline is as fun as it gets. The premise is to be the first one to get all of the balls out of the tube using the provided water guns. Simple enough but will give your hours of fun!
What’s more exciting than hunting for treasure? A pirate’s chest filled with water toys is an ideal way to keep kids eight and up entertained and imaginative, and help them practice swimming at the same time. Booty includes faux jewels, coins, bones, sharks, and even seahorses (you never know what hides amongst the loot)—plus, the little mateys can play with it out of the pool, too, as one reviewer pointed out.
A sophisticated, hydrodynamic take on diving toys, these torpedoes each come with a different number value for scoring points—and they can glide up to 20 feet underwater. They’re easy to grip, recommended for kids five and up, and keep little swimmers busy (the dream!). So said one happy parent, “if you’re at a place where they are watched by a lifeguard or your spouse or whoever, these little torpedos will provide hours of diving and hunting activity without the annoyance of ‘Marco… Marco… Marco…’” *Adds to cart.*
Including one “hungry hippo” net and four weighted diving toys, er, hippo snacks to catch with it, this set is ideal underwater entertainment for littles age three and up. They’re bright and easy to grip, help develop coordination skills, and according to happy reviewers, they’re also quite durable.
Each character from this Finding Dory set floats at a different depth, offering an extra fun challenge for your little swimmer and helping develop underwater skills! Kids 5 and up can scoop Dory, Nemo, Pearl, Sheldon and Kathy with the Mr. Ray net (just like in the movie!) which will for sure delight tiny fans.
As a game or to hone underwater swimming skills, these rings deliver on aquatic entertainment wonderfully, according to one reviewer who “Used them to teach grandson how to swim below the surface of the pool. Also used them as targets for jumping through.” Adjustable air chambers mean you can change the underwater depth according to your kiddos abilities.
A floating hamster wheel for your little animals? Why not? Colorful and durable, this fun find is a hit with all ages (recommended for three and up), according to one reviewer who raved, “Great quality! Used all summer by twin 10 year olds and also some adults & still as good as new!” It’s easy to inflate (and deflate), so round and round they’ll go.
Make your little’s mermaid dreams come true with a tail they can actually swim in! The fin is made from durable, flexible polypropylene covered in neoprene, and it’s easy to remove even while in the pool. This tail, meant for experienced swimmers, is available in a child’s size 6 through adult extra large so if you’re thinking of getting one for yourself, you’re definitely not alone (raises hand).