Summer is upon us, and it’s quite possibly the best time of year, especially for kids. Most of us have great memories of summers with our friends and family, and we’d bet that water was likely involved. While most community public pools are still closed due to the pandemic, that doesn’t mean you can’t have some safe backyard fun with water toys this summer.

Why Are Water Activities Good for Kids?

Why are water activities good for kids?

The studies on play are in – it’s great for kids. Heck, play is great for adults as well, and playtime at a child’s level develops a host of motor and developmental skills that are key ingredients to growing into healthy and responsible adults. As the weather heats up, getting the kids outside and into the backyard is a must and water activities make for an exciting social experience that is both fun and educational.

At a physical level, water play is excellent for developing hand-eye coordination; kids can squeeze, pour, stir and even paint with water. Another positive benefit of water activities is it introduces math and science concepts. Concepts like volume and weight are front and center, as is learning (sometimes the hard way) how gravity works. Numerous studies suggest children’s manipulations of water build their scientific inquiry and problem-solving skills.

Water activities also enhance concentration and focus. Water is such a dynamic substance that most kids can spend long periods exploring and playing. This encourages an attention to detail that is of utmost importance later in the classroom and in more formal learning environments. Pathways, a nonprofit dedicated to positive child development, has more info on the benefits of water play for kids. 

Do Water Slides Ruin Grass?

Do water slides ruin grass?

Slides and bounce houses are frequently blamed when the grass dies. “I told you we should never have purchased that stupid slide!” This phrase can be heard millions of times throughout our great country yelled by one angry spouse at another. But the facts behind the death of the grass are much more nuanced. Let’s take a look …

Lawns die when there is a lethal combination of low moisture and high heat. Summer months feature both, and a slide or some other inflatable unit set on the lawn for an extended period of time can indeed compound these issues. The key to protecting grass begins with a tarp. White or brightly colored tarps should be used, with the slide or inflatable unit set on top. All backyards have areas that receive more sun than others, so try and choose a shadier part of the yard to set up on.

Third, after you use the slide or house, be sure to water the area post-use. This is especially true if you can visually notice some drying taking place.

How Often Should You Change the Water in a Kiddie Pool?

How often should you change the water in a kiddie pool?

Changing the water in a kiddie pool is an absolute necessity, and the frequency does depend on how often it’s used.

In general, if it’s a high-use pool in a place where there isn’t an abundance of debris (leaves, branches, etc.) falling in, you can get away with changing it every ten days. But this is assuming you’re adding chlorine to kill the bacteria regularly. If you’re not doing this, the pool should be drained every 48 hours. Stagnant water without chlorine can lead to unhealthy water in just over 24 hours in some cases.

In conjunction with water changes, investing in a pool leaf rake and vacuum are wise purchases. The former gets all the leaves and branches out while the vacuum keeps the bottom of the pool clean. Now, these are only necessary if the kiddie pool is more stationary. If it’s easily movable and can be inflated and deflated, these tools are likely not necessary. 

The 10 Best Backyard Water Toys for Kids

Splash Pad Sprinkler for Kids by Apfity

Apfity splash pad sprinkler water toy for kids.

We kick off the list with a 65” playmat suitable for kids from 2 to 5 years old. We can only imagine the reaction this splash pad will generate upon showing the online picture to a toddler. It’s a giant watermelon that spits water in the air. Can this be any cooler?

This set includes a folded mat, two free hose clamps, and a standard nozzle that fits all garden hoses. The mat is made of PVC material and is phthalates and BPA-free. To install, simply connect the valve to a garden hose and lock the pipes with the hose clamps. From here, you’re good to go! Water pressure can be adjusted, and there is a lower and upper height, depending on the age of the children.

Love it? Click here to learn more.

ThrillZoo Trampoline WaterWhirl

Trampoline water whirl backyard water toy for kids.

The WaterWhirl is just how it sounds – a whirling spray of water across a trampoline surface. Kids go absolutely bonkers for this backyard water toy, and it’s perfect for birthday parties or simply hanging out on a hot summer’s day.

Constructed from high UV protected material, ThrillZoo offers a 180-day money-back guarantee. This is quite generous and likely due to the fact that few folks are not happy with this product. Installation is a snap, but you will need a generous amount of space. After all, it’s a trampoline, so carving out a nice spot in the backyard is necessary. Once it’s up and running, look out, the kids won’t want to come inside anytime soon.

To read reviews, click here.

Backyard Inflatable Kiddie Pool by Peradix

Inflatable kiddie pool backyard water toy for kids.

Of course, no backyard summertime water fun is complete without an inflatable pool. At a generous 94.96 x 59.06 x 23.62 inches, this pool is advertised as a two-person pool, but you can easily fit two adults and two small kids in, no problem at all. After fully inflated, the Kiddie Pool can handle 162 gallons of water. If you have kids under five, this is a fantastic summer option that is sure to please the little ones.

Made of a generously thick 0.4mm PVC material, this pool is tough to puncture. Kids love to poke at things, and if you’re outside in the summer, odds are sticks and other “poke-friendly” tools are laying about. But the kids can poke to their heart’s content on this pool with no issues at all.

Ready to buy? Click here.

Inflatable Bounce House with Slide and Splashing Pool by Action Air

Action Air bounce house backyard water toy for kids with slide.

ACTION AIR is a winner in the kid’s toys segment. Their products are always super fun, and this Bounce House is no different. Like the trampoline we reviewed earlier, you will need to carve out some significant space in the backyard for this number. But once installed, plan on eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner outside with the kiddies because they’re not coming back in!

Super thick and durable, this inflated house reaches up to 7 feet in height and can easily accommodate up to 5 kids at a time. The maximum weight is 300 pounds, so do be sure to keep multiple teenagers away. The advertised set-up time is under two minutes, which is pretty astounding after getting a look at this house. But the best part is the pool on the bottom that the kids slide into. Nothing says summer like this house!

To learn more, click here.

7-in-1 Inflatable Bounce House by Costzon

Inflatable bounce house for kids with water pool and slide.

Manufactured from oxford cloth material (840D and 420D), this bounce house is about as heavy duty as they get. Featuring two smooth slides, a couple of climbing walls, a basketball rim, a splash pool, and a lounger, there isn’t much you can’t find to have fun with here. There are bouncer stakes on each corner that ensure the house’s firmness and stability, which really helps when the kids begin to fly around.

This house is entirely suitable for kids anywhere from 3 to 10 years of age, and the total weight capacity is in the 350-pound range. One thing that multiple reviewers online commented favorably was the easy-to-carry functionality. Once you see this house thoroughly inflated, it’s hard to believe that it’s so easy to carry in a deflated state. But it is, which makes this much more than simply a backyard toy. 

Love it? Click here to buy now.

Backyard Inflatable Water Play Activity Center by Hesung

Inflatable water play center for kids.

The beauty of having little kids is you can create your own “Disneyland” in your backyard. They know it’s not Disneyland, but it’s super cool, nonetheless! This is what this water play center has put together here; there are a host of different features, and the slide is by far the winner.

Kids love slides, and this slide for the young ones is a huge plus. There’s also a safe play area on the bottom, a host of complimentary toys, and all in an inflatable pool that can be assembled and taken down in minutes. A perfect summer afternoon isn’t complete without this inflatable water toy!

To see pricing, click here.

Shark Water Slip and Slide with Boogie Boards and 2 Racing Lanes by Fixget

Slip and slide backyard water toy for kids.

The classic slip and slide! If you were born before 1980, you remember when these first burst on the scene. The concept wasn’t overly complicated – a long piece of tarp and water results in a slide that can be otherworldly, depending on the angle of course. Folks would set these slides up on massive hills, and the kids would go flying. Likely not the safest route to take, but you get the picture.

This one has picked up where the first slip and slides left off, and features a double lane slide measuring 16 feet x 5 feet. The slide is made of 0.25mm PVC and features anchors to nail into the grass. The package also includes two bodyboards as well! 

To read reviews, click here.

Giant Super Water Blaster Squirt Guns 2 Pack by Temi

Super blaster water squirt guns for kids by Temi.

Kids will be kids, and there’s nothing more satisfying than loading up a water gun and squirting the heck out of your brother, sister, best friend, or even grandma!

With up to 50 feet of squirting capacity and the space to hold 660CC of water, these guns come in a two-pack for double the fun. Each gun features five nozzles, and they’re made of ABS eco-friendly plastic. Loading them up is easy – simply install the gun by clicking together two pieces, then draw water by placing it in a pool or shallow water and pull back on the handle. You’re now set to give grandma a run for her money! 

Like it? Click here to buy now.

Non-Slip Splash Pad Sprinkler Toy for Kids by Tomser

Backyard sprinkler water toy for kids by Tomser.

Featuring a non-slip surface and manufactured from military-grade material, this sprinkler toy is a big hit with kids of all ages. It measures 70” in diameter, which makes it easy to add in a handful of kids, depending, of course, on their size. The military-grade material prevents bursting or rupturing, and there are even some great photos online of dogs frolicking in this sprinkler. It doesn’t get any better than that!

The sprinkler includes a sprinkler pad plus a small sticker. The tubing adapter fits all standard hoses, and set-up is quick and easy. Do be sure not to leave this product on the grass for too long as some flooding can occur.

To see pricing, click here.

Backyard Inflatable Elephant Sprinkler Water Toy for Kids by Jingou

Elephant sprinkler toy for kids backyard water toy.

We saved the best for last. Picture a fun-loving inflatable elephant spraying water out of its trunk and doing so with a smile. Well, that picture comes to life with this truly unique water toy the whole family will love!

Easy to use, this elephant blows up to reach 5.25 feet tall. Once inflated, you simply connect a garden house and let the fun begin! Manufactured of non-toxic PVC material, the elephant comes with stakes to make sure it doesn’t run off, and the high degree of airtightness ensures no leaking or tearing will occur. We’ve even seen photos online of adults enjoying this one-of-a-kind summer water toy. Great times for all!

Love it? Click here to buy now.

To Sum It Up

This was a lot of fun! We don’t know about you, but we’ve got our bathing suits on and have already picked a spot in the backyard for some water toy fun!

Backyard water toys can be safe on the grass, but be sure to use a bright-colored tarp and select a shady spot. We also touched on why water activities are good for children’s development, fine-tuning their motor skills and introducing math and science concepts at an early age. And before reviewing ten amazing toys, we discussed how often to replace kiddie pool water.

While this summer might be different from previous ones, that doesn’t mean your backyard can’t be the center of attention. Make this a memorable, water-filled summer extravaganza for the family! 

Check out Super Fun Backyard Playsets for Kids next!