The 18 Best Pool Toys to Keep The Kiddies Entertained

Portrait-of-female-friends-lying-on-an-inflatable-toy-sunbathing-on-floating-pool

Whether you have a small above-ground pool, a sprawling in-ground lap pool, or even a kiddie pool, investing in the best pool toys can really liven things up, especially if you have kids at home.

By choosing wisely, you can keep your children fully occupied while you relax on your pool float with a cocktail and a good book.

With so many different shapes, sizes, and styles of pool toys at your disposal, we understand choosing and comparing your options can be confusing. Focus on the following elements when you’re buying pool toys, though, and you’ll have an easy time.

  • Dimensions: If you have a kiddie pool or a smaller above-ground pool, you’ll likely want to steer clear of the more substantial toys we review. These will overcrowd a smaller swimming pool. Look for the inflated dimensions rather than the package dimensions. We break this down for in the features tab of every toy we showcase today
  • Materials: Most pool toys are made from PVC. This might be strong and rugged, but it’s certainly not the most eco-friendly material. The same is true of vinyl, another material commonly used for inflatable toys. If you’re looking to minimize your eco-footprint, we have some sustainable toys on our shortlist today. Whatever material you choose, make sure it contains no contaminants like BPA, latex, or phthalates. You should also steer clear of pool toys with sharp edges if you have little ones swimming in the pool
  • Overall build quality: We draw your attention throughout our reviews today to the durability and expected lifespan of these toys. Most toys made from harder plastic will last the distance. Make sure that the valves are well constructed and reliable. This is one of the most common weak points on pool toys. If you get this wrong, you’ll find your pool toys are continuously and spontaneously deflating, the very last thing you want
  • Age of swimmers: Most pool toys come with a minimum recommended age stipulated by the manufacturer. Many of the toys on out shortlist are safe for babies and toddlers, while others are only suitable for older kids. In some cases, pool toys are not kid-friendly at all. The only thing that counts here is buying in line with your needs. For very small children, always look for pool toys with soft and rounded edges. As they start to get older, adding in a pool slide and some water guns can really ramp up the fun factor
  • Storage and maintenance: If you keep your pool toys properly stored, you’ll maximize their longevity. Immediately after every use, wash your pool toys off using some warm water. For squishy toys, make certain you squeeze all the water out for inside. You should always allow the toys to air dry once you have cleaned them. Rather than leaving your pool toys strewn in the pool all summer, you should always remove them and store them away when not in use. A storage box or a shed is ideal, anywhere dry and away from direct sunlight. Look for pool toys that are easy to clean, and for toys that don’t take up too much space when they’re stashed away
  • Ease of use: There are so many different types of pool toy that there’s really no excuse for buying one that the intended users will find awkward. From splashing around to educational toys, from swimming aids to methods of teaching swimming techniques, toys vary significantly in terms of their intended purpose. Think closely about who will be using the toys and this will inform your decision

OK, now you have that simple framework in place, you should be ideally positioned to compare all the best pool toys out there.

Rather than rushing in and potentially ending up with something inappropriate, scour the whole collection of toys below and see if any make the right fit for your new swimming pool.

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I. The 18 Best Pool Toys

1. Our #1 Pick: Intex Pool Volleyball Game

Intex-Pool-Volleyball-Game

Features

  • Style: Volleyball game
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Dimensions: 94 x 25 x 36 inches

First up and overall favorite in this curated showcase of the best pool toys comes a fun volleyball game from pool heavyweight Intex.

There are two models to choose from. This base model doesn’t come with a ball and pump, but you can pick up these in a complete set at extra cost.

Overall dimensions when inflated are 94 x 25 x 36 inches giving you plenty of space to play ball without overcrowding your pool at the same time.

Build quality is impressive, and you even get a repair patch included. The 10-gauge vinyl of the set and the 7-gauge vinyl ball (if you opt for the complete set) means you should get plenty of faithful service from this pool toy.

Pop some weights into the base if you’re using this set on the beach and you need some added stability.

The only negative feedback we could unearth for this set concerns the weakness of the netting. Take care with this to avoid any disappointing breakages.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Repair kit included
  • Add weights to base
  • Rugged 10-gauge vinyl
  • Netting is weak

2. SwimWays Toypedo Bandits Pool Toys

SwimWays-Toypedo-Bandits-Pool-Diving-Toys

Features

  • Style: Underwater diving toys
  • Weight: 1.44oz
  • Dimensions: 5 x 1.38 x 1.38 inches

SwimWays has a deep bench of highly effective pool toys, and these inflatable torpedoes show why the brand dominates this market segment.

There are 4 multicolored toys that glide underwater to bring a smile to your kids’ faces. These torpedoes come emblazoned with points values so you can gamify playtime with the little ones.

The suggested age range for these pool toys is 5 years and up, so think twice before unleashing toddlers with these torpedoes.

Once the torpedoes are underwater, they are capable of gliding for up to 20 feet, delivering an impressive trick at your next pool party.

In spite of some scattered complaints about the extremely small dimensions of these torpedoes, the bulk of user testimony is overwhelmingly positive.

Although they’re not dishwasher-safe, it’s very easy to keep these toys clean – refer to our FAQSs down below for precise cleaning guidelines for all your pool toys.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Torpedoes can glide underwater
  • Multicolored packs of 4
  • Toys have point values
  • Extremely small

3. GoFloats Inflatable Pool Drink Holders

GoFloats-Inflatable-Pool-and-Hot-Tub-Drink-Holders

Features

  • Style: Inflatable drink holders
  • Weight: 0.2 pounds
  • Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 8 inches

Next up in our quest for the best pool toys come these inflatable drink holders from GoFloats. If you often float around in the pool and you prefer your beverage within arm’s reach rather than by the side of the pool, why not invest in these inflatable gems?

These floats come in a huge selection of designs, including these bright pink flamingos.

You get a trio of floats in each pack, so there’s something for all the family.

Most user reviews of these inflatable drink holders are positive, but we found a number of gripes about the awkwardness of placing larger tumblers and glasses inside. If you exclusively drink bigger beverages, you may want to reconsider. If, on the other hand, you’d like to ensure your kids always have some water, juice, or soda at hand while they’re playing in the pool, you’ll be blown away with this awesome flamingos.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Wide range of colorways
  • Pack of 3 for added value
  • Highly buoyant design
  • Not great for larger beverages

4. Watermelon Ball

Watermelon-Ball-The-Ultimate-Swimming-Pool-Game

Features

  • Style: Watermelon ball
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Dimensions: 9 x 9 x 9 inches

If your kids can’t get enough of playing ball, this cute watermelon allows them to continue indulging when they’re splashing around in the swimming pool.

Made from a hardwearing PVC, you should get plenty of use from these inflatables without puncturing, perishing, or discoloration.

The almost neutral buoyancy of the balls means they are capable of floating for up to 10 feet underwater. Your little ones will have endless fun as they throw and chase the ball in the pool, or bounce, pass, and dribble if they’re playing on firm ground rather than water.

Unlike most inflatable pool toys, you fill these balls with water rather than air. An adapter is included for you to attach to your garden hose and you’ll be up and running in seconds flat. You’ll need to follow the instructions closely so the ball floats and performs as intended. Get this wrong and you’ll end up with an unpredictable livewire in the pool.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Pass, dribble, and bounce ball
  • Striking watermelon design
  • Easy to fill
  • Not suitable for under-3s

5. SwimWays Inflatable Pool Toy

SwimWays-Inflatable-Baby-Spring-Octopus-Pool-Float-Activity-Center-with-Canopy

Features

  • Style: Play center with canopy
  • Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Dimensions: 13 x 13 x 3 inches

Next up is another entry from the ever-reliable SwimWays in the form of this play center with a twist.

If you have little ones playing in the pool, you’ll know it’s a continuous battle to ensure they stay protected from the sun. SwimWays take the hard work out of this for you with this canopied play center.

The canopy serves to keep the sun’s fierce rays away from your toddlers as they splash in the pool. The canopy is easily removable for any occasions when it’s not required.

Designed to hold a single baby, the activity center gives your little one the following:

  • Teether
  • Rattle
  • Stacking rings
  • Soft-touch star
  • Squeaker

We found a few complaints from users who report pieces of this play center detaching. It goes unsaid you should closely supervise little ones in the swimming pool anyway, so keep your eyes peeled for any loose parts.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Fun octopus styling
  • Provides shade from sun
  • Removable canopy
  • Some issues with pieces detaching

6. Intex Inflatable Water Float

Intex-River-Run-I-Sport-Lounge,-Inflatable-Water-Float

Features

  • Style: Inflatable lounger
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 12 x 4.13 x 14 inches

Another entry from the highly reputable Intex next. As you would fully expect from a brand with such a heavy presence in this vertical, design and build quality are commendable. What else do you get for your money, then?

Rather than a playful toy, this inflatable float is designed to help you relax when you’re lounging in the pool. You can, of course, get more active and playful if you want, but you’ll also get a great extra piece of pool furniture.

There is a grab rope running all the way around this inflatable. This makes it much easier for your little ones to climb up onto the float when they’re bobbing around in the pool.

The 53-inch diameter to the circular float gives children and adults plenty of room for maneuver.

The bottom of the float is made from a cooling mesh, perfect for hotter climates.

A pair of handles and a pair of cup holders complete an intelligently-designed and highly effective pool float from one of the biggest players in the industry: what’s not to love?

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Impeccable brand heritage
  • Cooling mesh bottom
  • Durable build quality
  • Prone to developing leaks

7. WowWee Pinkfong Baby Shark

WowWee-Pinkfong-Baby-Shark-Bath-Squirt-Toy---4-Pack

Features

  • Style: Squirt toys
  • Weight: 3.7oz
  • Dimensions: 7 x 3.75 x 6 inches

As we push on through our selection of the best pool toys out there, here comes a baby inflatable shark from the WowWee Store.

Well, it’s not just a single shark you’ll be bringing home, but a pack of 4 lovable squirt toys.

Perfectly shaped for tiny hands to grasp and play around with while they’re splashing around in the swimming pool, you won’t have any niggling safety concerns either. These toys are free of BPA and other toxins that could harm tiny hands and mouths.

A few disgruntled consumer report mold growing quite quickly inside these toys, so we would recommend staying on top of cleaning. See our frequently asked questions below for detailed guidance on blitzing your pool toys the easy way and keeping them spotless and hygienic.

Recommended for kids aged 2 and upward, why not bring some feisty sharks into your pool and liven up playtime for your little ones?

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • 4 shark toys
  • Squirting and splashing fun
  • BPA-free
  • Some reported mold issues

8. Kangaroo Store Emoji Inflatable Balls

Emoji-Universe:-12

Features

  • Style: Inflatable balls
  • Weight: 0.75 pounds
  • Dimensions: 11 x 5 x 3 inches

If your kids send messages that seem almost entirely composed of emojis, they’ll love this pack of inflatables for your home swimming pool.

Each set comes with a dozen 12-inch emojis that will float and bob around in your pool. From a laughing/crying face to love heart eyes, all the classic emojis are in place here.

The designs are all clearly displayed in the product listing, and you’ll get a pair of each of these 6 different emojis.

As an added kicker, these balls will provide plenty of fun for adults, too, especially in a festival environment.

Easy to inflate and just as easy to deflate when playtime is over, this fun-filled set will give your kids hours of fun this summer. They’re priced very keenly as well, so act quickly and grab yourself a real bargain.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • 12 balls per pack
  • Fun-packed visuals
  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Design polarizes opinion

9. Robo Alive Junior Baby Shark

Robo-Alive-Junior-Baby-Shark-Battery-Powered-Sing-and-Swim-Bath-Toy-by-ZURU

Features

  • Style: Battery-powered water toy
  • Weight: 8oz
  • Dimensions: 4.7 x 7.9 x 7 inches

Sharks are a predictable and common theme for inflatable pool toys, and this battery-powered model gives your kids something more engaging still.

With the batteries you need bundled, you’re good to get going right out the box.

This line with a baby, mummy, and daddy shark at your disposal. This dinky model is the baby of the pack.

Playing a looped segment of the Baby Shark theme tune, you’ll give your toddlers some extra stimulation as they earn their water wings and frolic in the pool at home.

If you’re concerned about the batteries running out too quickly, this toy will automatically power down after 4 minutes of inactivity, so you can shelve those concerns.

As soon as you drop the shark into your pool water, the water-activated sensors bring it to life and will delight any children in the pool.

Aside from the relatively small chunk of the theme tune that’s looped, this is a great all-rounder and one of the best pool toys you’ll find for young and inquisitive kids.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Toy plays tune
  • Water-activated carbon sensors
  • Auto shut-off after 4 minutes
  • Loops small portion of theme tune

10. Intex Flamingo Party Island

Intex-Flamingo-Party-Island,-Inflatable-Island,-166in-X-147in-x-73in

Features

  • Style: Inflatable floating island
  • Weight: 45 pounds
  • Dimensions: 166 x 147 x 73 inches

Intex hits another home run with this floating party island to grace any home swimming pool.

Styled as a giant pink flamingo, the colorway is fairly muted so it won’t look too garish in your pool.

There’s a stable and detachable landing platform to help swimmers up onto the ride-on toy.

Onboard, you get a cooler and some drink holders, so you can ensure the whole family stays hydrated.

The landing area is made from a cooling mesh, so you won’t end up sticking to hot plastic on a warm summer’s day.

Made from hardwearing 20-gauge vinyl, you won’t need to treat this toy with kid gloves, and you won’t need to concern yourself with rips or tears. As long as you don’t subject this flamingo to any harsh treatment, you should get years of happy pool time fun from Intex.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Mesh lounging area
  • Detachable boarding platform
  • Rugged 20-gauge vinyl
  • Prone to splitting at the seams

11. SwimWays Finding Dory Dive and Catch Game

SwimWays-Finding-Dory-Mr.-Ray's-Dive-and-Catch-Game

Features

  • Style: Dive and catch game
  • Weight: 7.8oz
  • Dimensions: 6 x 5 x 1 inches

SwimWays enters the fray once again with another strong contender for the best pool toy at your disposal.

This is a dive-and-catch game themed on Finding Dory. If you have any Disney-loving kids – and who doesn’t? – they’ll lap up the chance to see the characters brought to life and into the home swimming pool.

Each set comes with a Mr Ray net. Your kids can use this to scoop up the five movie characters you toss into the pool water. Each set contains:

  • Nemo
  • Dory
  • Sheldon
  • Pearl
  • Kathy

Suggested for use with kids aged 5 and upward, enjoy a Disney-themed pool party, or simply add some everyday fun into your new home swimming pool.

Aside from a cluster of complaints about weak quality control, most user reviews of this pool toy are favorable, so why not give it a try?

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Finding Dory theme to delight kids
  • Ideal for swim training
  • Catching net bundled
  • Some quality control issues reported

12. Swimline Giant Shootball

Swimline-90285-Giant-Shootball-Floating-Pool-Basketball-Game

Features

  • Style: Pool basketball game
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 36 x 45 x 36 inches

Do you have active kids always looking for something to do, even if they’re playing in the swimming pool? If so, this giant Shootball from Swimline might be worth considering.

The large orange inflatable comes with multiple scoring ports so you can get your kids playing basketball when they’re waterborne for an added challenge.

Made from a durable and UV-resistant vinyl, this toy should give you plenty of fun in the pool without fading or otherwise letting you down. In the event of any minor damage, take advantage of the repair kit included to patch things up.

Easy to wipe down and keep clean, this is one of the most engaging inflatable pool toys you’ll find, and it’s pretty keenly priced, too.

The only real issues we encountered when exploring user feedback concerning this basketball game related to the fairly weak build quality.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Multiplayer game
  • Play several basketball games
  • Visually striking
  • Weak build quality

13. Intex Inflatable Watermelon

Intex-Watermelon,-Inflatable-Island,-72

Features

  • Style: Inflatable island
  • Weight: 7 pounds
  • Dimensions: 72 x 72 x 9 inches

If you’re exploring swimming pools and pool accessories, you’ll soon discover that Intex is among the heaviest hitters in the industry.

This watermelon ball is ideal for adding an element of whimsical fun to your pool environment.

A multipurpose pool inflatable, the primary purpose of this watermelon is to give you the space to lay back and let your cares fade away as you lounge in the pool without needing to paddle yourself afloat.

As with most of the best inflatable pool toys, you’ll benefit from a repair patch with this model.

Measuring 72 inches across, the watermelon will accommodate kids and adults, although the manufacturer recommends this for use by adults only. This is the one toy on our shortlist you’ll need to keep for yourself!

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Generous 72-inch diameter
  • Repair patch
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • For adults only

14. Stream Machine Swim-Thru Rings

Water-Sports-81055-7-Swim-Thru-Rings-Assorted-Pack

Features

  • Style: Swim-thru rings
  • Weight: 0.75 pounds
  • Dimensions: 1.75 x 115 x 11.5 inches

Next up comes a pool toy that can also be used in a competitive aquatics setting.

Stream Machine serves up some neat swim-thru rings that are ideal for teaching your kids how to become more mobile when swimming underwater. The home swimming pool is the ideal environment for teaching them these skills in a soft and safe environment.

Unfold the rings and inflate them in seconds flat, avoiding any tedious waiting around and saving you from your kids niggling away.

The rings collapse and deflate easily after use as well.

The rings measure 31 inches in diameter and each is equipped with adjustable air chambers for maximum flexibility.

Recommended for kids aged 8 and upward, these rings might not be the most robust, but they’ll provide young swimmers with endless fun. They work well with adults, too!

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Adjustable air chambers
  • Collapsible rings
  • Great for fun or aquatic competitions
  • Reasonably flimsy

15. Fin Fun Mermaid Tail

Fin-Fun-Authentic-Wear-Resistant-Mermaid-Tail-for-Swimming

Features

  • Style: Mermaid monotail
  • Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Dimensions: 21.6 x 21.6 x 4.8 inches

As we edge closer to the end of our collection of the best pool toys, we have something slightly different next.

This commanding mermaid tail comes in a broad palette of colors and gives your little ones the chance to play make-believe.

Made from a rugged fabric that is resistant to the sun’s rays as well as the chemicals in your pool, you don’t need to worry about the mermaid’s lifespan.

A few users have complained about the difficulty of removing your feet from the tail. Be sure you supervise young swimmers when they’re sporting the tail.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Available in multiple colorways
  • Strongly reinforced tail
  • Cute and playful design
  • Quite awkward to get your feet out

16. Green Toys Submarine

Green-Toys-Submarine-BPA,-Phthalate-Free-Blue-Watercraft

Features

  • Style: Inflatable watercraft
  • Weight: 6.5oz
  • Dimensions: 10.5 x 5.5 x 4 inches

If you fancy introducing a nautical theme to your pool while giving the kids something to play around on at the same time, this inflatable watercraft from Green Toys is well worth popping on your shortlist.

You’ll have no nagging safety concerns using this inflatable as it’s free of BPA, phthalates, and all known toxins. The toy is made from recycled plastic milk containers, so you’re getting a kid-safe and completely sustainable approach to in-pool entertainment.

The inflatable has a flat bottom for added stability while the rear propeller spins as your kids play in the pool.

The toy is super-simple to clean, and you can even pop it in the dishwasher for hands-free maintenance.

Most user reviews of this inflatable are positive. We found some complaints about consumers unable to get a refund, though, and we also found some gripes about the quality of customer service. This minor niggles set aside, you’re getting an outstanding pool toy that doesn’t cost the earth.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Kid-friendly
  • No BPA or phthalates
  • Easy to clean and dishwasher-safe
  • Non-refundable product

17. SwimWays Star Wars Inflatable Pool Toy

SwimWays-Star-Wars-BB-8-Inflatable-Pool-Toy-

Features

  • Style: Inflatable pool toy
  • Weight: 0.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: 28 x 28 x 36 inches

If you have Star Wars lovers in the family, this neat inflatable pool toy is sure to delight.

Styled as a life-size version of the character BB-8, you’ll give your kids hours of fun while adding a fun dimension to your above-ground pool.

The toy is water-weighted so it can stand upright in the water rather than plummeting to the bottom of the pool.

Overall build quality seems pretty robust, although the seams are not especially well strengthened. We found some complaints in this area from disgruntled consumers, and we also encountered some reported leaks.

As an added bonus, the toy would also work well for cosplay events, giving you a versatile piece of kit at a reasonable price point.

The only significant drawback is that you need to take pot luck with the colorings so keep your fingers crossed you get what you want!

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Ideal for Star Wars lovers
  • Long-lasting PVC build
  • Water-weighted toy
  • Some leaks reported

18. SwimWays Educational Water Toys

SwimWays-Gobble-Gobble-Guppies-Educational-Water-Toy

Features

  • Style: Floating toys
  • Weight: 0.5oz
  • Dimensions: 7.5 x 3 x 4.25 inches

Last but most certainly not least in our roundup of the best pool toys comes a classic educational toy from SwimWays.

As you’ll see from their entries on today’s shortlist, this brand is a specialist in the pool toy space, so you can be assured of a quality not present in all toys in this vertical.

The large toy is an oversized shark, and you also get 4 small colored fish thrown in. The small guppies are numbered from 1 through 4, so you can help your toddlers hone their counting skills.

The small fish float on the surface of the water, and the design is intended to make things easy for small and developing hands.

These toys make a great addition to your swimming pool, but they also work well in the bath, giving you a multipurpose way to add some education to bath time or pool time.

The water toys are designed for kids aged 2 and up.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Educational pre-school toys
  • Shark and guppy design
  • Play float and catch
  • Not suitable for under-2s

II. FAQs

1) Why should I bother buying pool toys?

Pool toys have many uses. The best models will help your kids learn to swim. Other pool toys help children to sharpen their motor skills, hone their catching skills, and teach them how to clamber on and down onto different surfaces. Beyond this, many pool toys are also educational and capable of stimulating your children’s mind as well as their bodies. As an added bonus, using pool toys can help your children to boost their social skills if they are playing with friends or siblings.

2) How do I inflate pool toys?

There are 3 main options for inflating pool toys. Use your mouth, use an air pump, or use a hairdryer. Given the small dimensions of most pool toys, you’ll usually find it’s easy enough to inflate them blowing by mouth. Larger pool toys can sometimes be inflated with air pumps, either manual or electric.

3) How do I deflate pool toys?

Pinch the valve and let the air out. Using a binder clip instead of your fingers will expedite this process.

4) How should I clean my pool toys?

Keeping your pool tools clean is vital for hygiene and safety both. Mold and mildew can easily start growing if you neglect your toys. Poo chlorine will kill many harmful microorganisms, but you’ll sometimes need to clean your toys more thoroughly. You have 3 main options here: bleach, baking soda, or white vinegar. Vinegar is the mildest option, followed by baking soda, and then bleach as a last resort.

5) What the best way to store pool toys?

You should store pool toys in their original packaging if possible. If you no longer have this box, use some storage boxes or bags that will keep your toys dry. Mesh bags work well for storing smaller parts. Always clean and dry your pool toys before packing them away, and always keep them away from direct sunlight.


III. Conclusion

If you pitched up here today at Wild River Country unsure about whether to buy pool toys and uncertain about the best pool toys for your needs, you should now be in a much stronger position.

Whether you want to give your kids a dose of entertainment, education, or both, we tried to include something for everyone today.

If you need some assistance with your buying decision, bear the simple points from our buying guide in mind and you’ll have no snags choosing the right pool toy the easy way. Bookmark our blog before you head off today, and be certain to pop back soon. We have a busy content calendar for the coming months, so don’t miss out!

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