Best Pool Toys
Summer is right around the corner and with summertime often comes infinite hour spent at the pool or beach. Though swimming is already a fun activity, why not up the ante a bit and invest in some great, high-quality pool toys to make time spent at the pool even more fun? The possibilities are endless when it comes to pool toys and we decided to collect a list of the ten best options currently on the market. These toys aren’t all just for children, though, there are some options you’ll see below that are marketed specifically towards adults. Why should kids get to have all the fun? Let’s take a close look at which toys we deemed the ten best and why.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 3.2 hrs of research
Helps teach children how to swim underwater
Fun to watch the torpedoes glide through the water
A big hit with children
- SwimWays Toypedo Bandits
- Melissa & Doug Louie Lobster
- Watermelon Ball
- Fin Fun Mermaid Tail
- GoPong Pool Lounge Beer Pong
- Intex Deluxe Underwater Swimming Toys
- SwimWays Finding Dory Game
- COOP Hydro Lacrosse
- Intex Pool Volleyball Game
- Fayoo 23 Piece Toy Pack
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. SwimWays Toypedo Bandits
Helps teach children how to swim underwater
Fun to watch the torpedoes glide through the water
A big hit with children
They will glide away if you don’t keep an eye on them
Do you have little ones that love to dive and play hide and seek in the pool? These torpedoes would be a great addition to your pool toy collection, then! They are made of fun and bright colors that will make catching the torpedoes in the pool a fun game.Read more
This bundle comes with four brightly colored torpedo-shaped toys.
Each of the torpedoes has a numerical value placed upon it. This makes it easy during games to be able to give yourself and your playmates a score based on how many torpedoes you find in the pool.
These little toys are tiny and will pack away easily in a swim or beach bag. Because they’re so small, however, they might be easy to lose if you choose to take them with you to the lake. We wouldn’t recommend using them in the ocean.
SwimWays suggests that this toy be used by children ages five and up.
This is the most affordable product on our list. Given its colorful and fun packaging, we think it’ll be a hit with the little ones in your family and definitely worth the small investment.
2. Melissa & Doug Louie Lobster
Fishy sinkers don’t have holes so they won’t get moldy
Claws open and close easily
Can be used outside of the pool
Because fish sink, it might be frustrating for younger children or those who can’t put their face under water yet
This is like the claw game but without the frustration of losing all of your money trying to grab a stuffed animal that is only worth pennies. This adorable lobster pool toy from Melissa & Doug will help with your children’s hand-eye coordination and provide hours of enjoyment at the pool, in the bath and even in your living room.Read more
This toy arrives with a lobster-shaped grabber toy and three fishy sinkers.
The aim of the game is to use the lobster to squeeze and grab the fish-shaped objects as they float to the bottom of the pool. The package arrives with other game ideas as well.
While the lobster itself is quite big, we believe this toy can easily fit inside most beach bags and will be a hit at the pool.
This adorable lobster game is great for children ages three and up, though children younger than that might like to play it on land. It’s easy to operate the lobster's claws with just one hand, helping with your child’s hand-eye coordination.
This is an affordable game that is sure to be a hit with the little ones in your life. We definitely believe it is worth the small investment.
3. Watermelon Ball
Works for water workouts
Great for the whole family
Some people said their package arrived without instructions
Now here’s a toy that kids and adults of all ages can get a lot of use out of. This versatile toy from Watermelon Ball is a great investment for any family who spends time at the pool. It can be passed from person-to-person in the water as far as 10-feet and used as a basketball underwater.Read more
The Watermelon Ball is the only accessory necessary for countless hours of fun and games in the pool.
Fill the ball with water and let the fun begin! You can dribble, kick or bounce this ball underwater just like you would a basketball on the court.
This ball looks and feels like a real watermelon and it’s as portable as one, too.
The company suggests that, with parental guidance, children as young as eight can enjoy the Watermelon Ball. They also suggest that it should not be used as a floatation device.
Though this ball is priced quite a bit higher than other options on our list, we do believe it is more than worth the investment. This is especially true when you consider how many people of all ages will be able to get enjoyment out of this toy.
4. Fin Fun Mermaid Tail
Reinforced cover on the end of the tail ensures durability
Great customer service
Requires a large investment
Here we have another product that works for a multitude of age ranges. This mermaid tail from Fin Fun is available in thirty different bright, beautiful color options. The tip of the tail is reinforced to ensure the longevity of the product so your investment will last a long time.Read more
This mermaid tail arrived with Fin Fun’s patented monofin. This is made out of a durable neoprene material that will fit securely around the wearer’s ankles. A great feature of this particular monofin is that it has a quick-release feature. Other mermaid tails on the market require you to strap your feet into the monofin. This product from Fin Fun will allow the product to stay securely on your feet but gives wearers the option to remove it quickly in (or out of) the water if necessary.
Feel like lounging by the pool and drawing some attention to yourself? Slip into your beautiful mermaid tail from Fin Fun and you’ll be the talk of the pool! Or do you fancy an afternoon of swimming like a majestic mythical creature? Strap yourself into your mermaid tail and swim the day away.
The mermaid fin is as portable as a beach towel.
The mermaid tail is available in sizes from child’s size 6 to adult size extra large.
This product is not cheap, at least not when we compare it to the other pool toys on our list. That said, if you think this mermaid fin is something you will get a lot of use out of, it’ll be more than worth the investment for you.
5. GoPong Pool Lounge Beer Pong
Provides hours of entertainment
8 cupholders included
Won’t float away so long as you tether it
Can be used as lounger on the flip side
Seems to be some quality control issues with the tables deflating
This product from GoPong is strictly for the adults, that is if you choose to use it as it was designed to be used. With this product adults can pair their favorite drinking game – Beer Pong – with a popular summer past time – hanging in the pool – together! With eight cup holders situated throughout the table, this game is perfect for those big summer pool parties you’ll be attending.Read more
This game arrives with a 6’ floating table equipped with cup holders on the sides. Also included in the package is the most important component of beer pong (aside from the beer, of course) – six pong balls. To ensure that this product doesn’t float away on you mid-game, it also arrives with four tethering grommets.
This product only has one main use and that’s as an epic floating beer pong party game. We are sure creative folks could figure out a way to make this set-up into something that can be used by children, but this product is adult-centric through and through.
So long as you can squeeze the pong set-up back into the box it arrived in, you’ll find it to be quite portable. Of course, you will want to dry out the inflatable as much as possible before packing it away to prevent mold build-up.
Are you of legal drinking age in your country, state or province of residence? Yes? Then this game is for you!
This product will provide a lot of value for the right person or group of people. Though it is a bit more costly than our children-centric toys, we think that if you’re the person in charge of bringing the party this summer, you will find the still relatively low price point to be more than worthwhile.
6. Intex Deluxe Underwater Swimming Toys
Durable plastic construction
Mesh bag ensures organization
Bright colors make it easy to see toys underwater
Some people felt that the toys included in this bundle were too small
Do you have a little water bug in your midst, a child who just loves spending time in the water? This product from Intex will be sure to keep them busy with countless games and hours of fun this summer.Read more
This bundle comes with a number of different accessories, including a beach ball, dive balls, diving sticks, and fish rings.
The game possibilities are endless with this bundle of toys. The toys will all sink to the bottom of the pool so your children who love diving are sure to love swimming down to retrieve them.
We absolutely loved that Intex provides consumers with a handy mesh storage bag with this product. This makes it easy to pack up all the accessories when its time to leave the beach or pool and helps to ensure everything stays organized when not in use.
Intex suggests that this product works best for children who are six and up.
Though this is one of the pricier toys on our list that’s aimed towards children, we believe it’s worth the investment. This is especially true once you consider how many toys you’re getting and how infinite the game possibilities are with this product.
7. SwimWays Finding Dory Game
Fun, recognizable characters
Can be used in the bath tub or the pool
Easy for little ones to grip the net
Some consumers thought the paint on the figures left something to be desired
Here we have another product from SwimWays, who is no doubt a leader in the world of swim toys for children. This game is perfect for the Finding Nemo lover in your life!Read more
The Finding Dory game has six pieces. It arrives with a Mr. Ray, Nemo’s teacher, net as well as tiny Finding Nemo figurines.
Some of the Finding Nemo characters will float in water, while others will sink to the bottom of the pool. The name of the game is to use the Mr. Ray net to catch Nemo and all of his friends.
This toy is small enough that it will fit nicely into your beach or swim bag.
SwimWays suggests that this product is great for children who are ages five and up.
This is an affordable product with fun, recognizable characters and is worth the small investment required to own it. This is a great toy to invest in to help your little ones with their swim training and it’s even fun to use during bath time, too.
8. COOP Hydro Lacrosse
Fits nicely in a suitcase
Affordable price tag
Hours of entertainment
Some current users suggest the ball is too hard for use by smaller children
Do you have any lacrosse lovers in your family? If so, this set from COOP is bound to be a hit. It includes all you need to play a game of lacrosse in the pool.Read more
This product arrives with two lacrosse sticks and one softball, all you need to play a great game of inflatable lacrosse.
This toy is perfect for lacrosse lovers in your family. You’ll be catching, scooping, throwing and cradling the lacrosse balls in the pool in no time with an easy set-up process.
Though the style of the lacrosse sticks may make this toy slightly less easy to tote around, we still think it’ll be an easier enough product to stick in your beach bag for the pool.
COOP, the manufacturer of this product, suggest that users be ages five and up in order to use this toy.
This toy is priced similarly to many of the products on our top ten list. We think it is a great deal for folks who want to combine their love of lacrosse and their love of the pool.
9. Intex Pool Volleyball Game
Fun to use
Easy to use
If lacrosse and beer pong aren’t games you play on the regular, how about volleyball? This set from Intex comes with everything you need to take this game to the pool for infinite summer fun.Read more
The set comes with an inflatable volleyball, a floating net and all you need to anchor the net so it doesn’t float away. As a bonus, Intex also included a repair patch in case you accidentally puncture the vinyl.
Set, spike and bump your way to endless summer fun with this volleyball net from Intex! The pole bases of this product are constructed so you can add anchor weights to them if you like.
If you can fit the accessories back into the box after using them, it will be quite easy to tote this toy around with you to the pool and home again.
Intex suggests that people over the age of three will be able to enjoy this game.
Surprisingly cheap for what you get, this product from Intex is among one of the most affordable on our top ten list.
10. Fayoo 23 Piece Toy Pack
Great customer service
Great for teaching kits how to dive
Jewels aren’t the most useful toy
If you’re looking for a ton of toys to take with you to the beach or pool, look no further than this 23-piece set from Fayoo. It has everything you need to keep your little ones entertained for hours on end.Read more
Fayoo has you covered with 23 different unique pieces in this bundle. It includes diving rings, torpedoes, wands, and a storage bag.
The toys included in this kit are great to use to help teach your little ones how to dive underwater.
Thanks to the handy storage back, this entire bundle from Fayoo is incredibly easy to tote around and is one of the most portable options in our buying guide.
The recommended age for this bundle of toys is three and up.
This product is priced very well, especially because you receive 23 toys with this bundle. You can expect to receive countless hours of fun when you purchase this product.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
More accessories can often mean more time for fun.
While not all the products on our list arrive with a number of different accessories or come as bundle sets, there are a number of options that do. We wanted to be able to provide you, our readers, with an accurate picture of just what it is you will receive when you invest in these pool toys.
Is it a toy or a game? How can you play with it?
Toy or floatie? Multi-player game or one-person game? There are several different types of toys on our list that can be used in a number of different ways. Some of the toys are great for educational purposes, helping to teach your children how to swim or dive. The mermaid fin from Fin Fun is great for teaching your children how to dolphin swim (if that is even something you want them to learn). The lobster claw from Melissa & Doug provides young children with a great hand-eye coordination exercise. Some of the options on our list are purely meant for recreational use like the inflatable volleyball set from Intex or the Watermelon Ball.
Being able to carry your toys with ease is a huge concern.
As parents, we already have to lug a ton of equipment and accessories around with us when we go to the pool or beach. Swimsuits. Towels. Dry clothes. Swim shoes. Sunscreen. Sunglasses. Coolers of snacks or money for food. Lugging around a bag full of heavy toys might be the last thing you want to do. This is why we took portability into account when creating our list. Though not all the options in our buying guide are for children (beer pong, anyone?), the bulk of the items are. Even if you’re not a parent, though, lugging around extra equipment with you can be annoying and can mar an otherwise amazing day.
Make sure you choose a toy that is made for the suggested age range.
If you are in the market for a pool toy for your child, you will want to pay close attention to the manufacturer’s suggested age range for the toys. Some are designed to be used by toddlers. Others are meant to be used by older children. Some of the options on our list, like the GoPong Pool Lounge Beer Pong, is meant to be used by adults.
How much value will your new toy bring?
Though we think you’ll be impressed with the low cost of most of the items on our top ten list, we still felt that value was an important criterion to take into consideration as you begin your hunt. There are products in our buying guide that you’ll inevitably be able to get more use out of. Toys that come in packages with a lot of accessories will be able to be used in more than one way (at least if they are being used by people with creative minds!). Products with additional accessories may then provide users with more value.
Nothing would be quite as disappointing for your child if you were to receive a package of toys in the mail only to find out the toy you purchased is not age-appropriate. You wouldn’t buy your toddler a mermaid fin, or at least you shouldn’t, just as you probably wouldn’t buy your teenager the Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Louie Lobster. We recommend reading the product descriptions thoroughly as well as perusing the reviews to determine whether or not the toy you are considering is age-appropriate for your child.
While all of the toys on our list are perfect to take with you to the pool, some options might not be the best for use in moving waters as you would find in the ocean. This is simply because waves and tides can sneakily grab your toy and take them back into the depths of the ocean. If you don’t want to lose any small components to the toy you’re purchasing, we would recommend using certain products only in the pool or bathtub at home.
Other Factors to Consider
Although this seems like a big ‘duh’ factor to consider when we’re talking about toys that are designed for use in pools, you would be surprised just how many water-centric toys can become unsafe for use in water after a certain period of time. In fact, a study from the University of Illinois found that bacteria like Legionella and E. coli inside children’s bath toys that squirt water (think rubber ducks and the like). So, while pool toys are obviously made for use in the pool, we should always consider how easy it will be to clean the toy to ensure it’s going to stay safe for use. If you’re looking at purchasing squirt guns for pool time play, you may want to consider how likely it is that you’re going to be meticulous enough in cleaning the guns so that they don’t breed potentially harmful bacteria.
We were also careful to not include toys on our list with small holes in them. You might be surprised to learn that the rubber ducks we all played with as kids in the bath, were more than likely rife with mold and bacteria inside of them. Squirting toys are notorious harbourers of mold and we had to be certain that all of the toys on our list are going to be safe for use.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How do I blow up the inflatable products on your list?
There are a few different methods you can use to blow up your inflatable pool toys. There are manual air pumps, electric or battery-run pumps, vacuums that have a blower function, a hair dryer or even just your breath. The electric pumps will blow up your inflatable fast, but it might be overkill for some of the products on our list. If you have a Shop Vac that blows air, you can use it to inflate your toys. If you’re at the lake or near the ocean with no electricity nearby, you can use a manual air pump. Hand pumps are often time-consuming, depending on the size of your inflatable, but there are leg-powered options that make it a much faster process. If you are near a power source and happen to have a hair dryer with a cool setting on hand, you can use it to inflate your toys. If you have a smaller toy, you can use the power of your breath to fill it up. This is likely to be the most time-consuming (and dizzying) method of blowing up your inflatable but it works if you’re in a pinch.
q: What are the benefits of hitting the pool?
There are so many benefits to going to the swimming pool with your family. Swimming is a fantastic low-impact exercise that is great for people with joint issues, those who are beginner exercises and those who are overweight. It’s great for relieving stress and can provide a year-round source of recreation. This is especially true if you have a pool in your backyard. A heat pump can make your pool a 4-season activity that you, your children and all the neighborhood will appreciate. The pool is a great place to make memories with your children, whether you’re playing Marco Polo, teaching them how to swim, playing pool volleyball or diving for toy sharks, your children are sure to have fond memories of spending time with you at the pool.
q: How can I ensure my family and I stay safe at the pool?
First, if you are not a strong swimmer yourself, you need to take lessons. Ensuring that you feel comfortable in the water is the first necessary step to making sure your children will enter the pool without fear. Once you feel comfortable with your swimming skills, you can either choose to enroll your children into swim lessons or to teach them yourself. One of the leading causes of death in children between one year of age and four is drowning, so it is very important to make sure your children learn the ins and outs of swimming pool safety. Young swimmers should always be within arm’s reach of an adult. Children and inexperienced youth and adults should wear a PFD (personal floatation device) when playing in or around water. It is better to be safe than sorry. If you have a pool in your backyard, we recommend building a fence around it so curious little ones don’t find themselves reaching for the water and falling in. You should also always get into the habit of cleaning up after yourself once you’re doing with your pool toys. Putting them away will ensure no little ones will wander near the pool to play with their toys after pool time is over. We also recommend investing in a safety cover for your pool.
q: Can these toys only be used in a pool? Or can I take them to the lake or on our Caribbean vacation?
Definitely. These toys on our list can be used outside of the pool. Many of them can even be used in a bathtub if you’re short on bath toys for your toddler. Of course, we recommend you invest in life jackets for your entire family if you will be playing games in the ocean or at the lake this summer. When it comes to certain games on our list, like the Intex Volleyball Set, you may find it difficult to set up and play if you’re in a lot of moving water. If you’re taking a lot of accessories with you in the ocean, the risk of losing pieces of your toy is increased. This is something you might want to think about before you take all 23 pieces of the Fayoo bundle with you to use at the ocean or even in a lake.
q: Are mermaid fins safe to use?
There are safety precautions you should always follow when you use a mermaid tail in the pool. An adult should always be nearby if children are wearing the fins. We do not recommend children under the age of six use the mermaid tail for anything other than cute photo ops. Only experienced swimmers should use the tail and they should be familiar with the “mermaid” swim technique prior to use. The mermaid fins are best used in pools over oceans or places with a lot of moving water. If you do choose to take it without outside of the pool setting, you should only use it if the water is calm and clear. Sizing is important. Make sure you order the size that works best for you. The most important thing to remember is that humans don’t have gills. While it may feel cool to swim like a mermaid, humans are limited by the simple fact that we do require oxygen to live.
q: What is the benefit of playing diving games?
Diving games are a great way to introduce your children to the science of diving. This is often one of the hardest skills to teach inexperienced swimmers and it can be quite scary to go head first into the pool the first few times. When you throw toys into the pool for your little ones to dive in to retrieve, you’ll be getting them more comfortable with this process while making it fun for them to learn!