It is finally summer, so it’s time to swap zip-up jackets for bathing suits and goggles. But before you hit the pool or beach this summer with kids, you’ll need a few outdoor water toys to elevate the fun at home. And don’t worry, if you don’t have a pool or beach nearby, I’ve included a portable outside pool that is easy to set up and store when not in use. Goodby plastic inflatables that are impossible to store. This outdoor water toy list takes outdoor activities for kids to another level of fun.
RELATED: Summer at home with kids is anything but boring! I mapped out your summer so you don’t have to.
What are good toys used for water play?
Good water toys for kids last longer than one use. We’ve all been here. Nothing is worse than purchasing the blow-up water slide and plugging in the hose, only to have a hole 17 minutes later.
After nine years of summer at home with kids, we’ve tested many water toys that did not live up to their hype. We’ve also tried water toys that are exciting to find again the following year. This outdoor water toy list includes some of our favorites.
Whether you have a backyard, side patio, or bring these items to a friend’s pool, these water toys will surely be a hit. Take a close look at this list and pick one that feels like the best fit for your family’s lifestyle. If you prefer non-water toys, check out my outdoor toy list.
IMPORTANT: Water play must always be supervised and watched closely. Please take the time to read this important article from the American Academy of Pediatrics about preventing drowning.
Water toy essentials
Let’s jump right into this water toy list with some essentials. Bright, colorful bathing suits are safest for children. Look for suits that contrast the color of the pool or water. Many bathing suits we find adorable on the racks instantly blend into the water once a child jumps in. Read about the safest swimsuit colors in this post written by USA Today.
Here are two bathing suit brands we love, in colors that are more visible once a child is in the water.
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We have a few swim trunks and love how they last and look. Choose from a variety of bright colors.
RuffleButts One Piece
When I posted this brand a few weeks ago, so many of you told me what great quality these bathing suits are. Here is a bright orange one to help contrast against the water.
Hands down, these are the best goggles for kids. They tighten in the back and are the only pair we have tried that does not leek. Five-star review from us!
These towels are not an affiliate link but have greatly helped us over the years. Each boy knows which towel to grab on the way out the door.
Outdoor Water Toys
These outdoor water toys are some of our favorite ways to play once the weather warms up. Get ready to have some fun!
Say goodbye to the plastic pools we owned as kids. This portable pool folds up and is easy to store!
Toddler Splash Pad
A splash pad is how we spent many summer days in the early years. Comes in a variety of sizes.
An outdoor Uno game that can get wet? This has my kid’s name written all over it! Take outside, bring to the pool, or pack for the beach.
Step 2 Water Table
IMO every home needs a water table. It is a simple pleasure that keeps many kids playing as you spend time with them on the sidelines.
Sensory Water Table
If you prefer a water table without all the extras, this one is for you! Use all year long with storage below.
Reusable Water Balloons
These have been a big hit with my boys and their friends. Small magnets inside each water balloon, so they are advised for kids 8-12.
Treasure Toy Box
Use this treasure chest in a sensory water bin to scoop the sea or bring it to the pool to practice diving for treasure.
Step2 Car Wash
How cute is this? This was not around when my boys were younger, but my boys would have enjoyed this!
Wave Runner Soft Foam Skipping Ball
These skipping balls work and are so much fun to toss around in the water.
Kid’s Snorkel Set
My boys are often found snorkeling around the pool. These sets are fun to use at the pool or take to the beach.
Underwater Diving Torpedos
If you don’t have these yet, add them to your cart. They are fun to toss and, even more, fun to dive for. This is a set of 8.
Disney Finding Dory Catch Toy
Could this be any sweeter? Use this net and set of floating toys in the bath or pool.
Foldable Bucket with Shovel
These foldable buckets are a complete game changer when it comes to packing for the beach or storing for backyard water play.
Kid Mesh Bag
Tired of carrying all the water toys? How about stuffing your pockets with seashells at the beach? These mesh bags are the perfect size for kids to carry what they need and find.
I saved this mega pool toy for last! Our friends have these; they are so fun to hop on when they bring them to the pool. A must-try if you want something new and exciting this pool season.
Why is water play beneficial to children?
Water play benefits children by inspiring endless learning through play and intrinsic motivation. If you have a child, you most likely know how water invites children in to stay a while.
Water activities for kids are a great way to keep cool and help children stay active on a hot summer day. But who am I kidding? Children love water play even when it is cool out. Water play encourages thinking, problem-solving, and movement.
So, if you are home with kids this summer, water play is the sensory bin without walls that I prefer over rice under my couch and bean sprouts growing in between my decking. (true story)
Look for water toys that are within your price point, have good durability ratings, and look like a good fit for your family and lifestyle.
Toddlers and preschoolers need little help finding the tools to kick off play outside. But once they do – MAGIC. Add food coloring to water bins, add mud and get messy, add old pots and pans to the water play, balance on pieces of wood, bike ride, bring an indoor toy outside, bring boxes outside to make a fort, bring racetracks outside – add water, collect leaves. Here are 50 outdoor activities for kids!
Water games with kids are easier than you may think! Often, items from your kitchen, such as measuring cups, large spoons, and a muffin tin to freeze water, will do the trick. Keep water activities for kids simple, and take a look around your house to see what you can toss in to buy yourself a few extra sips of coffee as your child plays.