The 8 best outdoor water toys for toddlers to keep your active kids cool and entertained all summer long.
Even though I thought winter might never end, summer is about to creep right up. I know summer doesn’t technically hit until mid-June but it usually feels like summer in May here. So that means ideas for outside play that also keep the kids cool are a must.
Water really makes everything more fun! We have always spent a lot of time outside but with our newest babe, outside time is no longer an option, it is a requirement. That new baby is 18 months old and he is so active. Out of his few words, his favorite to say is outside! He love it and wants to go out constantly.
And you know what? His behavior is better when we are outdoors. I’m not sure what that is. Maybe he feels like he has more freedom? Maybe he just likes fresh air. But I like the ability for the kids to play together with less fighting. Plus it is good for them to spend their summer days outside. I know I sure did.
Here are several of the best outdoor water toys for toddlers that we own or have played with before over the past few years. I think they will be a hit with the toddler and even the preschoolers and early Elementary kids in your family.
Affiliate Links are used in this post. A small commission may be paid to me at no extra cost to you and that helps to support this page. Please see my disclosures page for additional information.
Best Outdoor Water Toys for Toddlers
These toys span all different price ranges. I usually buy a couple of inexpensive items at the beginning of every season and then many of our bigger items are still around from when my 5 year old was a toddler (and by the way she still eagerly plays with all these too)!
So if you are looking for some of the best outdoor water toys for toddlers this year, check out the list!
My kids love water tables. The 18 month old loves to splash and pour into the different containers. The 5 year old will add in pretend games where she uses her imagination to create different scenarios in the table.
We have actually owned several different water tables over the years (one at our house and one at Grandma’s house). We needed a new one this year and went with the Step 2 Rain Showers table. We are only about a month in with using it but so far the kids really love it and I am typically really pleased with the quality of Step 2 products.
I will also sometimes help them with variety buy adding new or different items to the water table to make it new again. One of our favorite activities has been to make vegetable soup in the water table. Adding something new to an existing toy often revives it and makes it fun again.
My kids love going to the neighborhood splash pad but this toy brings that to your own backyard. I bought this a couple of years ago for my daughter and used it last year as well when my baby was about 9-10 months old. He could sit up unassisted so that would be my criteria for if this would be good for your child.
I love this because although it does collect a few inches of water, it isn’t like a blow up pool that can hold a couple of feet of water. Of course you always have to keep a close eye on kids around any amount of water, but I do really like the splash pad concept.
My daughter still liked playing on this at four years old so it was great to be able to pull out one toy to please both kids. You can control the amount of “splash” that comes out of the toy by simply turning your water flow up or down. I would do it low while the baby was playing and then crank it up for more fun when it was just the preschooler.
The one thing that was kind of a dud with this was the slide. I guess we could have used it with the baby but he didn’t really care. It wasn’t really tall enough to work like a real slide even when our daughter was using it at age 3. That didn’t bother me because everything else was fun and entertaining. Definitely not a deal killer for us (we loved it for 3 years) but worth mentioning.
Slide & Slip N Slide Combo
I wrote an entire post about this combo last year. You can read how fun it is by clicking here.
It simply takes one of those plastic toddler slides that you probably already have with an inexpensive slip n slide. The result is a fun way to get the kids active and keep them cool. And it is perfect for little ones that don’t really have the coordination to run and slide on the slip n slide.
I have had this boxed up in my living room for a week now. My BFF (AKA the Amazon delivery driver) dropped it off on Saturday but my teething 18 month old has prevented us from testing it out yet.
While this was a larger purchase, I am anticipating that it will last us at least several years. We bought the Little Tikes bounce house almost 3 years ago and it is still in perfect shape (and we use it often). Definitely worth the money.
Once we pull this awesome looking water slide out, I will come back and update you with my thoughts!
My kids absolutely adore this toy. We have played with it every day since they got it for hours at a time. My fairly coordinated 18 month old can even do the rock wall by himself and my 5 year old thinks it is amazing.
Insider Mom Tip: It will automatically drain most of the water in the pool when you turn the air blower off. Let it drain and then manually drain off the little bit that won’t drain automatically.
Then turn the blower back on. Let it stay inflated with no running water for a few minutes to air dry any remaining water before you deflate it to store. I even take a dry towel and mop up any droplets that I see.
Deflate it. Then I stretch it out as much as I can and elevate it so that the bottom of it can dry. I use some patio chairs and stretch it out over the top of those and allow to air dry overnight before storing. This is an abundance of caution but I don’t want it to get moldy and gross.
It sounds like a lot of work but it only takes me about 10 minutes of active work to get it cleaned up. Since I am planing to use this year after year, it is worth it to me to keep it in good shape.
Water Toys Under $20 For Toddlers
So the four toys above are some of the best outdoor water toys for toddlers and preschoolers in my opinion. But you can still find quality and entertaining toys for your kids without spending a bunch of money upfront.
Here are some of my favorite toys that won’t break the bank but still make a splash!
Playing in a sprinkler is basically a happy childhood requirement.
When I was growing up we didn’t have a cutesy kid sprinkler to play in. We just ran through the normal sprinkler while Mom was watering the grass. And that still works today! But if you want a cute little kid sprinkler, Amazon of course has all the cute sprinklers that you you could think up.
A couple of years ago this thing was flying off the shelf at Christmas time. I saw moms in some of my BST groups paying more than triple the regular retail price for one of these little sinks. While I would not do that, they are really cute.
The sink comes with lots of dishes, play cutlery and even a little bottle of pretend dish soap. You fill the sink with water and then the faucet will actually turn off and on to produce running water. My kids go bananas over this!
It could be played with inside I guess. If you are into water all over your own kitchen floor. I’m not so we like to play with it outside!
Yes, they make all kinds of adorable inflatable pools for kids now. But you know what? Your kiddo is going to have a blast splashing around in the water. Period. End of Story.
They will not care if they have a $60 Candy land inspired pool or a plain swimming pool. Add in some inflatable balls, water toys or even some plastic kitchen utensils for them to pour with and make pretend soup. They will have a blast.
Water squirters are fun to play with in the backyard or even in the inflatable swimming pool. I like the squirters vs. a traditional water gun for a couple of reasons.
One, they are cute! The second reason is that they are easier for little hands to fill themselves. I even have trouble sometimes getting the small valves on regular water guns closed and this eliminates that issue.
I hope you find a favorite from this list of the best outdoor water toys for toddlers this summer.
If you are headed to the beach this year with your little ones make sure to check out these tips and tricks for having a successful trip!
- The #1 Beach Essential for Infants (not a baby pool)
- Beach First Aid Kit for Kids
- Road Trip Activities for Kids Under $15