The 15 Best Pool Toys of 2021

Splash the day away with these awesome pool toys

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While a lot of adults would be perfectly happy to simply lounge on a pool float and soak up some sun on a hot day, kids need a little more entertainment. Thankfully there are all kinds of pool toys on the market that will keep them occupied and having a great time. Whether they’re just getting used to the water or they’re experienced swimmers, there is a pool toy out there for them.

When buying pool toys for your kids, you'll want to ensure that they are durable enough to hold up in the water and outdoors. It's also important to keep safety at the top of your priority list and the age of your kids to ensure they are old enough to safely have fun.

Here are some of the best ones on the market.

Our Top Picks
When this ball hits the water, it completely flattens out to help it propel up to the sky like magic.
They come in a set of three, each with a brightly colored ball with streamers coming up from it making them easy to grab.
It’s safe for little ones as young as 12 months old and has 2 separate inflation valves, one for the unicorn and one for the ball
Designed to float in both saltwater or chlorinated water, it won’t sink even if it’s punctured.
It turns, spins, or boomerangs back based on how its adjustable wings are configured and can glide up to 60 feet underwater.
Modeled after Malibu Barbie’s jet, this one-person raft is designed with a playful, brightly-colored print.
Race to see which swimmer can scoop up all of their fishes with the shark net first.
Unlike most dolls, these mermaids have plastic hair that won’t get debris in it or become a tangly mess.
They have adjustable air chambers in them so that you can change how much the rings float/sink and feature cute little animals.
The durable and brightly colored toys are packed full of endless fun and can keep a group of kids entertained.

Waboba Splash Water Bouncing Ball

Waboba Splash Water Bouncing Ball

A classic pool toy, this ball bounces across the water for some seriously fun games of catch in the pool. When it hits the water, it flattens out to help it propel into the sky. Available in a variety of colors, you can grab either a single or double pack. Ideal for kids 10 and up

Intex Underwater Diving Pool Balls

Intex Underwater Diving Pool Balls

For kids as young as 6 years old who can safely swim underwater, these diving balls always make for a good time. They come in a set of three, each with a brightly colored ball with streamers coming up from it so that they sink quickly and are easy to grab onto.

Pottery Barn Kids Unicorn Beach Ball

Unicorn Beach Ball

If nothing else, this beach ball is just flat-out adorable with its sparkly sequins and unicorn. It’s safe for little ones as young as 12 months old and has two separate inflation valves, one for the unicorn and a separate one for the ball itself, both of which can be filled with air manually or with a pump. The ball has a 20-inch diameter, can be cleaned with just a damp towel and comes with a repair kit.

Frontgate World’s Finest Pool Noodle

World's Finest Pool Noodle

One pool toy that will never go out of style is the noodle. This one is available in several color opinions and is made from durable vinyl and foam. It has a 7.5-inch diameter and measures 46 inches long, is designed to float in both saltwater or chlorinated water, and it won’t sink even if it’s punctured. 

As great as this toy is at providing some floating support, Emily Samuel, Program Director of Safe Kids Worldwide, says, “It is important for families to keep in mind that swimming aids and toys, such as pool noodles and inflatable water wings, do not help prevent drowning” and should not be used as a replacement for a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket for your child.

Aqua LEISURE Aqua Stingray Underwater Glider

Aqua Stingray Underwater Glider

This stingray toy is perfect for a game of chase, or for just keeping your kids entertained. It can glide up to 60 feet underwater, where it will turn, spin, and even boomerang back based on how its adjustable wings are configured. It measures 8 inches long and 10.75 inches wide and is best for kids five years old and up.

FUNBOY x Barbie Malibu Private Jet

FUNBOY x Malibu Barbie Luxury Private Jet Summer Pool Float

Kids 14 years old and up will have a blast floating along on this raft that measures 95 x 90 x 26 inches. Designed for one person, the brightly colored float is modeled after the iconic Malibu Barbie jet. Equipped with two handles and a cup holder, your teens and tweens can sip on a juice pouch while they float around all afternoon.

What Experts Say

“It is important for families to keep in mind that swimming aids and toys, such as pool noodles and inflatable water wings, do not help prevent drowning.” —Emily Samuel, Program Director, Safe Kids Worldwide

Melissa & Doug Spark Shark Fish Hunt

Melissa & Doug Spark Shark Fish Hunt

This game comes with eight pieces, including two sharks and six fish (three orange, three yellow). Each of the fish quickly sinks to the bottom of the pool and then it’s a race to see which swimmer can scoop up all of theirs with the shark net first. Kids who are able to safely swim underwater and who are at least 6 years old can safely play this fun game.

What Experts Say

“Parents and caregivers should choose a properly fitted, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket appropriate for their child's weight and water activity.” —Emily Samuel, Program Director, Safe Kids Worldwide

BANZAI Spring and Summer 3-Piece Magical Mermaid Dolls

Banzai Magical Mermaid Dolls

Who doesn’t love a good mermaid toy? This set is available with either three or four dolls which measure around five inches tall. Unlike most dolls, these mermaids have plastic hair that won’t get debris in it or become a tangly mess. Kids as young as five years old can play with these dolls in the pool, and if they’re able to swim underwater they can also use the dolls for diving games.

Stream Machine Water Sports Swim Thru Rings

Water Sports Swim Thru Rings

You can create an obstacle course underwater with these rings. Each pack comes with three rings that are collapsible and have a 31-inch diameter. They have adjustable air chambers in them so that you can change how much the rings float/sink and have cute little sea animals on them for a little extra fun. This set of rings is great for kids who are at least 8 years old and can safely swim underwater.

What Experts Say

“Teach children how to swim. Every child is different, so enroll children in swim lessons when they are ready. Consider their age, development, and how often they are around water.” —Emily Samuel, Program Director, Safe Kids Worldwide

Toyssa Swimming & Diving Toys Pack

Underwater Swimming Diving Pool Toy

In this pack, you get four diving rings, four water torpedoes, five diving sticks, 16 diving gems, and one bag to collect and carry the toys when they’re not being played with. The toys are safe for kids as young as 3 years old to play with above water, or underwater once they are able to do so safely. The durable and brightly colored toys are packed full of endless fun and can keep a group of kids entertained.

Green Toys Submarine

Green Toys Submarine

Whether they’re in a kiddie pool or venturing into something larger, kids as young as 6 months old will have a ball playing with this little toy submarine. There is a little spinning propeller on the back of the boat, it has a flat bottom for sturdy floating, and is designed with a handle and an opening in the front for kids to scoop and pour water to their heart’s content. You can opt to purchase this boat on its own or in a pack with either a seaplane or tugboat.

SwimWays COOP Hydro Lacrosse Game Set

SwimWays Hydro Lacrosse

Engage in a little friendly competition with this water lacrosse set. It comes with two catcher nets and a foam ball that floats for easy retrieval while playing. The catchers have a foam-padded handle for comfort and grip and the set available in three color options. The best part is that this game can be played either in the pool or in the backyard and it’s safe for kids as young as five years old.

FUNBOY Tie-dye Giant Inflatable Tube

FUNBOY Giant Inflatable Tie Dye Tube Float

With a 50-inch radius, this oversized one-person tube is the perfect place for a teen (14 years old or older) to lounge for an afternoon of sun. In addition to its brightly colored tie-dye design, the tube also features a reinforced cup holder and can be inflated or deflated in only two minutes.

COOP Hydro Football

COOP Hydro Football

You don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy tossing a football in a pool. This one measures 9.25 inches and is made from durable, waterproof materials, and features double-tuck laces to help you get a good grip. It’s great for kids as young as 5 years old and is available in three fun color options.

GoSports Splash Hoop Pro Basketball Game

GoSports Splash Hoop PRO Swimming Pool Basketball Game

This water basketball set comes with a hoop, two balls, and an air pump so it is ready to be set up right out of the box. The high-quality, sturdy backboard measures 31 x 23 inches and features a 14-inch rim that is strong enough to survive outdoor weather and heavy play. The base of the hoop is weighted with water for stability and can easily be drained/refilled at the turn of the season.

Final Verdict

The Green Toys Submarine (view at Amazon) is a great toy for toddlers and younger kids, whether they’re in a kiddie or large-sized pool. For older kids who are able to swim underwater, you can’t go wrong with the Stream Machine Swim Thru Rings (view at Walmart).

What to Look for When Buying Pool Toys

Safety

When you're looking for a pool toy for your kids, do your due diligence and ensure it hasn’t been recalled and/or there haven’t been reports of major safety issues. Additionally, Emily Samuel, Program Director of Safe Kids Worldwide, reminds parents and caregivers to invest in “a properly fitted, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket [that is] appropriate for their child's weight and water activity,” so when you’re looking at pool toys you want to be sure they do not compromise your child’s safety when they are in their life jacket. 

Durability

A lot of outside toys ironically can’t stand up to outdoor weather and quickly fall apart. When you’re looking at pool toys, consider whether or not you have a place to store them when they’re not in use, if not, make sure to invest in high-quality and/or weatherproof products. 

Age & Swim-Ability Appropriateness

Brightly colored pool toys can be very appealing to little kids, even if they aren’t quite big or skilled enough to use them yet. Consider your child’s age, size, and swim ability when you’re looking for fun toys for them. Samuel stresses the importance of teaching children how to swim to ensure safety in the pool. She says, “Every child is different, so enroll children in swim lessons when they are ready. Consider their age, development, and how often they are around water.”

Why Trust Verywell Family?

Ashley Ziegler is a full-time parenting writer and mom to a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old and she has personal experience in researching and purchasing a variety of children’s products. Key considerations she used when selecting these recommendations include expert advice, age appropriateness, and user reviews.

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