Summer is almost here and it’s right about now that mamas remember just how long the days are and how easily our sweet babies become very bored. And cranky. So outdoor toys that keep kids happy and having fun this summer are here for the win.

Buuuut, it’s also about to get really hot outside. So, a game of Jenga on the back patio will quickly go awry for all involved because they’re going to be too sticky to have any fun. (That said, if Jenga is your thing, we’re obsessed with this oversized set!)

Enter: Water toys.

Whether you have a baby or big kid, water toys are the key to everyone’s happiness this summer. They’re going to keep your crew cool, busy and entertained for hours on end—with nary a “Mom, I’m booooored!” to be heard.

We scoured the market for water toys both trendy and tried-and-true, and swear by their durability and fun-factor. (And while we did include one of our favorite baby pools, we’ve got a much longer list of inflatable pools you can check out as well.)

The best part? You don’t have to leave your backyard! Oh, and you’re about to have the most fun house on the block. Welcome to your most fun summer ever.

Our favorite water toys for kids

Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table



Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table 

Here’s a fact: Babies love water tables. Not as daunting as an entire pool, a water table allows babies and toddlers to belly up, splash around and engage with all the bells and whistles these tables typically offer. But, water tables tend not to last very long. In seven years, I’ve probably gone through half a dozen because those “bells and whistles” (cranking handles, spinning wheels and more) tend to break after a few months of constant use. But not so with the Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table !

Why we love it: I’ve been using this puppy for three straight summers because it’s sturdy enough to support a non-walking baby’s lean, and because its many accessories are still in place. The waterfall feature entertains kids big and small and the oblong shape allows for multiple babes to play side by side.


Step2 Car Wash Splash Center Water Table



Car Wash Splash Center Water Table

And now for something completely different (and 100% brilliant)! The Step2 Car Wash Splash Center Water Table offers an endlessly engaging alternative to traditional water tables in the form of an action-packed car. With front and back basins, a water maze and a driver’s seat, the individual play spaces make it easier to collaborate and share space without too much bickering (in theory).

Why we love it: With tons of accessories like a spray bottle and rag, pretend gas can and moveable water maze pieces, they can brush up on their car washing skills while reaping the STEM benefits of water play. Best of all, they won’t have to scratch your ride in the process. 😉

Intex Sunset Glow Baby Pool



Sunset Glow Baby Pool

Unlike big kids, babies don’t need much when it comes to a pool during the summer. Slides and water canons and climbing walls would be lost on them (not to mention unsafe). They’re going to be thrilled just to be inside a tiny pool made just for their size! My favorite is this super simple, super cheap rainbow version from Intex .

Why we love it: With nearly 20k 5-star ratings and thousands of reviews on Amazon, the pool is a favorite among parents with babies for one resounding reason: It’s soft! My baby used this every day last summer and what did she do over and over and over ? Climb in, climb out, repeat. With a standard kiddo pool made of hard plastic, she would have been covered in scrapes, but thanks to Intex’s inflatable siding, her constant moving was gentle on her little body. The flooring is also inflatable, providing extra padding for when baby goes boom! Also, the price can’t be beat. At $10, it might be the cheapest fun money can buy! (There’s also a slightly larger version if you need room for two.)

Little Tikes Splash Beach Water Table Splash Pad

Little Tikes


Splash Beach Water Table Splash Pad

Ever wished a baby pool and water table could have a baby? Turns out they have! We were instantly sold on this gem from Little Tikes which blends the best of both worlds. Since it sits right on the ground, it’s a great option for little ones who aren’t quite steady on their feet. Add in the super fun accessories like the slide, lighthouse, cups and characters and there’s a wealth of ways for preschoolers to entertain themselves as well!

Why we love it: Unlike your standard water table, this clever design folds up when playtime is over. It’s super easy to store and even transport to grandma and grandpa’s!

Splish Splash Water Park



Splish Splash Water Park

Not all water toys require a full commitment to getting soaked. Part of the Aqua collection from the toy experts at Playmobil, the Splish Splash Water Park is just the right design for engaging water play all year round. (It’s small enough to bring inside on chilly days!) Turn the crank to make the water flow like a lazy river, then send the characters on a round and round adventure. From STEM learning to imaginary play, it’s sure to be a daily favorite!

Waterwow Reusable Water Balloons



Reusable Water Balloons

While a good old fashioned water balloon fight is one of the most fun summertime activities, it all comes to an abrupt end the second you ask your kids to pick up the mess. (Not to mention there’s a good chance those tiny colorful pieces end up in places they shouldn’t.) I’ve got three words for you. Reusable water balloons. (And another four: What took so long??) We discovered them on Tik Tok and have to say they’re totally brilliant. The soft silicone design features embedded magnets around the rim that keep water inside. Then, ready, aim, FIRE! They burst open to soak the intended target.

Why we love them: Not only are they better for the planet (and your sanity!), they’re also so much easier to fill than actual water balloons. Just dunk in a bucket and they seal themselves. No more “Mom! Will you tie this?” every 20 seconds. For that, we’d pay double.

Little Tikes 3-in-1 Triple Splash T-Ball Set

Little Tikes


3-in-1 Triple Splash T-Ball Set

If you have a sports enthusiast on your hands who loves to throw balls all over your backyard, they’ll love this Little Tikes Splash Hit T-ball Set.

Why we love it: It grows with your child. Attached it to a standard garden hose (hose attachment included) for an automatic ball launch, or more advanced players can use the foot-activated lever to use it as a pop-up tee to practice their swing.


WOW Sports Super Slide



Sports Super Slide

Nothing beats a slip and slide. We’ll never really know why a wet piece of plastic on grass is so much fun—it just is. And while there are hundreds of versions available online, the WOW Super Slide is our resounding favorite.

Why we love it: First, the bumpers. I’ve tested others and my kids were always careening off the sides of the slide before the reached the end (the lighter the kid, the higher the likelihood of this happening). Second, the WOW is made of ultra-thick PVC plastic that is far more durable than its competitors, which means it will actually last for multiple summers. Plus, it comes with handy connectors that allow you to attach multiple slides together. If that doesn’t sound like fun, we don’t know what does!

Hydro Swirl Spinning Sprinkler

Hydro Swirl


Spinning Sprinkler

As kids we loved running through the sprinkler. As parents, we now know it’s one of the greatest ways to wear kids out while watering the lawn and sitting (somewhat) peacefully in the shade. Win win! Of course any sprinkler will work, but the unpredictability of this little nugget makes it a total giggle-fest.

Why we love it: If you’ve got a family dog that always wants in on the fun, they might love this even more than your kids.

Little Tikes Rocky Mountain River Race Inflatable Slide Bouncer

Little Tikes


Rocky Mountain River Race Inflatable Slide Bouncer

If you’ve got big kids at home—pre-schoolers and above—a baby pool just isn’t going to cut it. Enter: The inflatable water slide. Like a mini waterpark in your backyard, there are myriad options on the market, but the Little Tikes Rocky Mountain River Race Inflatable Slide Bouncer is hands-down my favorite (and I’ve tested many).

Why we love it: It’s incredibly durable and it needs to be! Kids are going to be racing up and down the climbing wall, slipping down the slides, splashing in the pool basin, and Little Tikes’ ultra-thick plastic can withstand the wear and tear and doesn’t bend or lean when being used by multiple people. Chock full of diversions, the dual-slide design is a lifesaver if you have more than one kiddo (no pushing at the top of the slide!) and the shallow pool at the bottom is ideal for babies and toddlers to splash around in.

Tip: Getting these suckers dry is a conundrum, and if you store them wet, you’ll have a mold issue. Combat this by deflating and emptying out the water, then re-inflating and letting the slide dry in the sun while it’s taut.