Keeping small kids busy can be quite the task. Especially when you’re spending the day in the pool outside. Here are some of my favourite pool toys for toddlers that will not only help occupy them, but help them be happier in the water too.
Pool Toys for Toddlers
Most of the time, toddler pool toys aren’t that much different from toddler bath toys. In my experience toddlers tend to treat their bathtub warm kiddie pool exactly the same as taking a bath inside.
Except they sure love the novelty of playing outside.
Some of these pool toys for toddlers are great for playing in a small toddler sized pool, others are perfect for the bigger family pool. Hopefully they’ll help you and your toddler have a blast in the water all summer long!
Why do Toddlers Need Pool Toys?
First of all, if you have kids of different ages then the older ones are probably going to have toys of their own. Giving your toddler a few things to play with will help keep them from feeling left out.
Even if your toddler is the only child, though, toys can help them have more fun in the water. Especially if the pool isn’t as warm as they’re used to. Toys can help reluctant toddlers get introduced to an adult sized pool easier and make the whole experience more fun.
Pool toys can also help keep toddlers occupied in the pool so you can spend more time outside together. There’s nothing worse than going in when you’re not ready because of a fussy toddler!
What Ages Are These Pool Toys For Toddlers For?
The toys on this list were picked for true toddler aged kids – that is, from about age one to three. That being said, though, all kids develop at their own pace. Some babies will be able to play with these toys and others might still be fun for preschoolers and older kids.
You’ll have to take your own child’s interests, coordination, and age into consideration when choosing what the best pool toys are for your family.
Floating Wind-up Pool Toys
My kids go crazy for these things. You just wind them up and let them loose! Toddlers will love seeing these sea creatures swim all around the pool. Depending on your set up, they’ll also delight in chasing them down and catching them.
- Set of 3 for extra fun
- Easy to wind up
- Water doesn’t drain well so make sure they’re dry
- You’ll have to wind it for young toddlers
- Would be better if they swam for longer
Growsland Water Gun for Kids
You just can’t beat water guns when it comes to outdoor summer fun. These simple shooters are a great way to get toddlers in on the action, especially when they’re wanting to play with the older kids.
To fill them up you dip the hose end into the pool and stretch the handle. Then push it forward to shoot!
- Size is good for toddlers to hold
- Cute designs
- Shoots up to 30 feet
- Not super durable
- Toddlers might need help
- Your kids might shoot you
Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Spark Shark Fish Hunt Pool Game
This set is so cute for toddlers! The inside of the shark is a net and you use it to catch the little plastic fish by eating them. Small kids will enjoy playing this one on their own, but it also doubles as a fun game they can play with other kids or parents.
- Multi functional: a toy and game in one!
- Encourages kids to go underwater
- Supports imaginative play
- Fish sink rapidly (better for a shallow pool)
- Smaller kids might have a hard time manipulating the fish into the shark
- If you have multiple kids you’ll have to get more than one set
Big Summer Inflatable Fire Boat Pool Float for Kids with Built-in Squirt Gun
While pretty much any pool float is going to be fun for toddlers, this one has something a little extra. A squirt gun! The gun is pump action so your kid will need to be able to be somewhat coordinated to make it fire, but otherwise it’s super easy to use.
It’s also a great way to involve smaller kids in games or swimming when you have a deeper pool in the backyard. Just make sure you’re always within arm’s reach of young kids in the pool.
- Great for pre-swimminers to get comfortable with the pool
- Fun way to get toddlers involved in pool play
- Helps keep your pre-swimmer upright in the pool while you swim together
- Leg holes rip easily
- Gun can be hard for younger kids to use
- Water intake hose can get twisted and needs to be straightened sometimes during play
FUN LITTLE TOYS Baby Bath Toys
Most bath toys are fun in the pool, especially if your toddler is playing in a small “kiddie” pool. This little set is too cute not to include. It floats, can be taken apart and built however your toddler likes, and includes multiple ways to play.
The little boats and front of the ship spray, plus the bigger boat can also be wound up to sail around the pool.
- Lots of pieces so kids will stay occupied for longer
- Multiple ways to play (wind up, squirting, crane, water wheel, assembly)
- Squirting boats are fun for multiple kids to play together in the pool
- Boats flip upside down when filled with water
- Wind up boat doesn’t go for a long time
- Rubber ducky is too small for young toddlers (possible choking hazard)
Munchkin Fishin’ Bath Toy
Who doesn’t love fishing? Toddlers will have a blast with this little fishing toy that’s perfect for a small backyard pool. The fish and rod are magnetic so even younger toddlers will be able to successfully catch a fish (with a little bit of practice).
- Fun toy for younger kids, especially toddlers
- Sturdy and durable
- Sea creatures are easy to spot
- Short string (to prevent strangulation) means you’ll need to play in a shallow pool
- Does not reel, you just pull your catch up
- Only comes with 3 fish
HWD Bath Toy, Fishing Floating Animals Squirts Toys Games Playing Set with Fishing net
This one is similar to the shark toy in that you catch sea creatures with a net. But the key difference between the two toys is that these guys float; making it a completely different game for toddlers.
Floating creatures are great not just for keeping your toddler busy while they try and catch each one in a small pool, but they’ll also be fun tossed into a deeper pool too. At the very least you won’t be fishing them out!
- Toys float
- Fun for toddlers of all ages
- Toys and net are both durable
- You’ll have to purchase multiple sets if you have more than one kid
- Net stores the toys, but is designed to be mounted on the bathtub (not as handy when using in the pool)
- Will fade in the sun if left outside
What Are The Best Pool Toys For Toddlers?
While you can haul all your bath toys out into the yard, it’s better if you have dedicated pool toys for your toddler. That way they’ll be “new” and keep kids occupied for longer periods of time. When choosing a toy, make sure it’s age appropriate and fits with your set up.
For example, don’t pick a diving toy like the Melissa & Doug shark set if you have a deep pool and a young toddler who can’t swim. That toy would be better suited for a shallow pool or an older toddler who’s practicing going underwater.
If you’re looking for a toy that shoots water, either the Growsland Water Gun set or the Inflatable boat are both good options depending on your child’s age and skill level. I like the water gun set better because it can be used outside the pool too.
For younger toddlers, the Munchin Fishin’ Bath Toy, the FUN LITTLE TOYS boat, and the Floating Wind-up Pool Toys are all great choices. The fishing set is my winner in this group because it’s durable, promotes hand eye coordination, and super fun.
Best Pool Toy For Toddlers – Overall Winner
Last on the list is the HWD Bath Toy set. I wasn’t expecting this set to stand out, but it was surprisingly well made. The net and toys are all sturdy and don’t break easily at the hands of rambunctious kids.
The toys are big enough to be easily spotted and manipulated by young kids and the net’s opening catches them easily, but not too easily.
I love that the toys float on the surface so you don’t have to worry about diving down and fishing them out yourself. It also means that you can play with them in any size pool as long as your toddler is wearing a life jacket.
The biggest downside is that if you have more than one kid you’ll need to get multiple sets, but that also means you’ll have more critters to scoop out of the water!
All of these toys are great for toddlers. As a parent of multiple children, I know that one toy isn’t enough to keep little ones busy. My suggestion is that you get a few different pool toys for toddlers and rotate them throughout the summer to keep the fun going. Happy swimming!