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The Best Pool Toys of Summer 2024 for Toddlers, Kids, and Adults

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Updated December 28, 2023

As kids finish up the school year (and grown-ups look towards their own summer plans), it’s the perfect time to spend some time splashing about and cooling off. Whether you’re simply going for a swim or relaxing in the shallow end, why not elevate the experience with some pool toys? Whether you’re shopping for small children still adjusting to the water, or for a group of friends who like to get competitive in the pool, there are options for everyone. We’ve compiled this guide of the best pool toys for every age and every personality. So grab your swimsuit, beach towel and flip flops, then read on to learn how we made our selections—and find out what’s your must-buy for the summer season.

Our top pool toy picks

The “best” is subjective when it comes to pool toys because they come in so many forms and everyone finds fun in different ways. That said, there are a few key criteria for any top-performing toy. Durable products that are safe and easy to use are always popular, especially if they’re also a good value. Ideally, the toy offers a more elevated experience than a DIY replacement; think a stylishly designed bucket instead of a simple plastic cup.

We divided our picks into three broad age categories: toddlers, kids and adults. Within those categories, we tried to find a balance of products that would cater to all kinds of swimmers. This final line-up is our pick of the best pool toys in the market. There is truly something for everyone.

The best pool toys for toddlers

Most toddlers will likely be brand new to the water and still reliant on floaties and a watchful parent – but that doesn’t mean they can’t have fun in the pool. Our favorite pool toys for this age group focus on colorful ways for toddlers to get engaged with water play, without being too overwhelming or dangerous. There are no sharp edges or tiny toy parts that could become choking hazards, just a lot of wholesome fun.

CozyBomb Magnetic Fishing Pool Toys

CozyBomb Magnetic Fishing Pool Toys

Price: $32.92

This collection of fishing pool toys from CozyBomb is an explosion of color for little ones aged three years old and up. With 30 different toy fishes to catch in 10 different shades, this toy set will provide hours of fun as toddlers get more comfortable with shapes and hand-eye coordination. (Since the set is best used in a space where little ones can easily get to the fish, it’s best for inflatable pools—and can be used as a bath toy.) Not just a playset, the fishing activity is also a great education tool, teaching color recognition, interpersonal skills and also math. The set includes two rods, meaning that this can be a multiplayer game as well as a solo activity, as well as two nets and a mesh bag to carry it all.

CozyBomB™ Magnetic Fishing Pool Toys Game for Kids - Water Table Bathtub Kiddie Party Toy with Pole Rod Net Plastic Floating Fish Toddler Color Ocean Sea Animals Gifts Age 3 4 5 6 Year Old

CozyBomB™ Magnetic Fishing Pool Toys Game for Kids - Water Table Bathtub Kiddie Party Toy with Pole Rod Net Plastic Floating Fish Toddler Color Ocean Sea Animals Gifts Age 3 4 5 6 Year Old

Green Toys Seaplane

Green Toys Seaplane

Price: $24.95

The Green Toys Seaplane is the perfect choice for toddlers who love the skies as much as the pool. The plane’s two pontoons ensure that the toy floats on water and the propeller is able to spin, making it a safe and entertaining aircraft for both baths and pools. There are even vents in the pontoons that can be used for ‘fill and spill’ fun. Young kids aged three and up will love creating stories with their imaginations, which is great for brain development without feeling like homework. Adults can also rest assured that the seaplane is made from 100% recycled plastic and is therefore an eco-friendly choice!

Green Toys Seaplane - Yellow Wings - Baby Toys & Gifts for Ages 1 to 3 - Fat Brain Toys

Green Toys Seaplane - Yellow Wings - Baby Toys & Gifts for Ages 1 to 3 - Fat Brain Toys

ZOO Stack Pour Buckets

ZOO Stack & Pour Buckets

Price: $7.50

Sometimes it’s the simpler toys that are the most popular, which is great for both young kids and their parents’ wallets. These stack and pour buckets from ZOO are cutely designed with different animal faces and suitable for the bath or the swimming pool. Clever sprinkler features upgrade these buckets into more than just fill-and-spill play, keeping toddlers occupied for hours of poolside fun. At just $7.50, these are great value toys that even little children can carry to and from the water.

ZOO Stack Pour Buckets

ZOO Stack Pour Buckets

HopeRock Pool Float with Water Gun 2-Pack

HopeRock Pool Float with Water Gun (2-Pack)

Price: $35.99

For slightly older toddlers, this pool float set with water guns from HopeRock is a great interactive choice that still keeps kids safe and secure on the water. The constant supply water gun ensures neverending fun but is also detachable, should you want to use it just as a float. The two-pack means that young children can play happily together, with adults safe in the knowledge that they’re made from non-toxic, thickened PVC. Able to hold up to 110 pounds, the manufacturer recommends this product for those aged 3-8 years old, making it a purchase that will still offer value as your kid grows. 

HopeRock Pool Float with Water Gun 2-Pack

HopeRock Pool Float with Water Gun 2-Pack

The best pool toys for kids 

Once kids are a little older and more comfortable in the water, the range of pool toys gets wider. Unsurprisingly, some of our favorite choices are ones that take the most popular land games and make them suitable for water, from volleyball to basketball. But we’ve also rounded up some options that are perfect for those who prefer a more leisurely pool game or need something they can play with on their own.

Max Liquidator 6-Pack Water Blaster Set

Max Liquidator 6-Pack Water Blaster Set

Price: $37.70

Water guns are a summertime fun staple and this set of water blasters from Max Liquidator is a great addition to the market. Having six water guns in the set ensures maximum engagement and fun, while the easy trigger-free design keeps things safe for younger children. The bright colors and lightweight portability disguise the water blasters’ surprising power; these toys can shoot water as far as 30 feet! Although they may look like regular pool noodles, these water guns are a real upgrade your kids will love. Suitable for ages six and up.

Max Liquidator 6-Pack Water Blaster Set

Max Liquidator 6-Pack Water Blaster Set

Intex Pool Volleyball Game

Intex Pool Volleyball Game

Price: $27.98

The Intex Pool Volleyball Game is pretty self-explanatory but that doesn’t make it any less fun. The inflatable net comes with anchor weights at the poles so that there’s no risk of the net tipping over during competitive game play. Both the net and the ball are made of sturdy vinyl, but the manufacturer also includes a repair kit should any game get a little too feisty. At 94 inches long, this volleyball game can be played by kids aged six and up and adults alike, so it’s really a great buy for the whole family. 

Intex Pool Volleyball Game 94 X 25 X 36 for Ages 6+

Intex Pool Volleyball Game 94 X 25 X 36 for Ages 6+

Poolmaster Floating Tic Tac Toe Game

Poolmaster Floating Tic Tac Toe Game

Price: $25

Tic Tac Toe may be one of the world’s oldest games but it’s undergone a fun, watery makeover with this set from Poolmaster. The oversized inflatable set creates a more engaging experience as players have to physically throw their pieces into the 46 inch x 46 inch grid in order to score. The simple gameplay makes this a great choice for mixed age groups and it can be played on grass as easily as on land. Made from eight-gauge vinyl, this Tic Tac Toe set can help teach younger kids about hand-eye coordination while entertaining the whole family. 

Swimming Pool or Backyard Floating Tic Tac Toe Game

Swimming Pool or Backyard Floating Tic Tac Toe Game

Hoop Shark Swimming Pool Basketball Hoop Set

Hoop Shark Swimming Pool Basketball Hoop Set

Price: $34.97

Making the game water-friendly worked for volleyball and it works for basketball, too. With this Hoop Shark Swimming Pool Basketball Hoop set, kids can practice their free throws and cool off in the water at the same time. The 40” height provides a competitive set-up for kids of all ages and there’s an anchor on the bottom of the hoop for greater stability. The set also includes a basketball so players can immediately get started on their trick shots, as soon as the hoop is inflated—which takes no time at all, thanks to large bore valves. Should you lose the included ball, this set works with any standard sized basketball for maximum convenience.

Force1 14 Blue Velocity H102 Pool RC Boat Summer Watercraft Toy

Force1 14" Blue Velocity H102 Pool RC Boat Summer Watercraft Toy

Price: $44.99

Not every pool game needs to be a competitive sport. The Force1 Blue Velocity Summer Watercraft Toy is a perfect solo activity that offers the same amount of adrenaline and exhilaration as a sports match. Powered by remote control, the boat can reach speeds of 20 mph and can be driven as far as 120 miles away. Pair it with another Force1 boat and you’ve got a great race on your hands. The boat also features capsize recovery, should any mishaps occur, and easy directional controls so younger players can get in on the fun.

The best pool toys for adults

It’s not just young children who deserve to have some extra fun in the sun, which is why we’ve also rounded up our top picks for adult pool toys. Unsurprisingly, some of these are takes on classic adult games, from beer pong to cornhole, but we’ve also found a great float game set that will help unleash anyone’s inner child. Read on to find out how to make the most of your pool time this summer.

Chicken Fight Inflatable Pool Float Game Set

Chicken Fight Inflatable Pool Float Game Set

Price: $69.99

Yes, you can use pool floats to recline on and relax, but why settle for that when you can also use them to stage epic pool battles with your friends? This Chicken Fight Inflatable Pool Float Game Set includes two large inflatable ride-on chickens that can support up to 250 pounds each, making them suitable for adults and kids. At nearly five feet long, half the fun is learning how to clamber aboard, but then these chickens are the perfect base from which to wage wrestling matches. As the loser will only be falling into the water, it’s a much safer way to find out who’s the pool champion. 

Chicken Fight Inflatable Pool Float Game Set - Includes 2 Giant Battle Ride-Ons - Flip Your Friends to Win! - Summer Fun for Kids and Adults

Chicken Fight Inflatable Pool Float Game Set - Includes 2 Giant Battle Ride-Ons - Flip Your Friends to Win! - Summer Fun for Kids and Adults

GoPong Pool Lounge 6-Foot Inflatable Beer Pong Pool Float Table Game

GoPong Pool Lounge 6-Foot Inflatable Beer Pong Pool Float Table Game

Price: $38.80

One of the most iconic adult games, beer pong, has been remade for pool play with this inflatable 6-foot-long floating table game by GoPong. With built-in 10-cup triangles for traditional game-play, there’s no risk of spilling precious drinks into the water. There are also four cup holders along each side of the float for spectators or post-match drinks. Three pong balls are included with the package and the float can also be used as a traditional one-person float outside of games. Easy to inflate, this inflatable beer pong float means you never need to choose between the pool and the classic drinking game. 

Inflatable Pool Toys Bean Bag Toss Games Floating Cornhole Set

Inflatable Pool Toys Bean Bag Toss Games Floating Cornhole Set

Price: $25.99

Another favorite of beer gardens everywhere is now available in a waterproof version with the Inflatable Pool Toys Floating Cornhole Set. Each set includes two cornhole boards and six inflatable bean bags, so you have everything you need to play a competitive game. Filling the bags with water ensures a solid weight for more accurate tosses. Bedecked in an American flag print, this would be an especially great activity for the Fourth of July weekend, but we’re sure you’ll be playing all season long.

GoFloats Inflatable Pool Drink Holders

GoFloats Inflatable Pool Drink Holders

Price: $9.90 

Sometimes, you just want to sit back and relax in a swimming pool, unbothered by complicated games or wrestling matches. For those days, we’ve got the perfect pool accessory: GoFloats Inflatable Pool Drink Holders. Available in fun designs like flamingos, unicorns, and palm trees, these little floats comfortably hold a range of different cup sizes so you can bring your beverage into the pool. Deep pockets and high sides reduce the chance of tipping over, so you can rest easy that your drink will be for you and you alone. Once you’re done with the pool, you can also bring these floating holders into the hot tub with you.

GoFloats Inflatable Pool Drink Holders

GoFloats Inflatable Pool Drink Holders

What to consider when buying the best pool toys

When making your pool toy selections, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it’s critical to take into account the age and swimming ability of those who will be playing with the pool toy as safety is key. Sharp edges or choking hazards should be avoided for all little ones, while toys that promote learning opportunities can be a great way to add education to poolside fun. Then there’s the size and portability of these toys; small kids are often excited to be able to carry their own games, so parents may want to focus on lighter, easy-to-transport toys like the ZOO stack-and-pour buckets.

For older children and adults, it’s important to consider durability and affordability to maximize value—you don’t want to have to replace your pool toys every year. High-quality vinyl is more likely to withstand the elements (and boisterous play), so look out for floats in that material. And of course, go for what sparks fun to you! Everyone wants something different from the pool experience, so we’ve been sure to provide a range of options. If in doubt, consider assembling a mix of game styles, from sports to water guns to floats.

How we select the best pool toys

It’s never been easier to find a pool toy, but sometimes too much choice is a bad thing. To help narrow down the options to only the best-in-class, we scoured the web for the most well-reviewed and well-respected products in the market. We took into consideration several factors, including price, durability, game play and originality, to make sure that these toys would be worth adding to your pool supply. We listened to expert recommendations and balanced these with customer reviews so that we could be confident in our final list of toys.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What are the most durable pool toys?

You may assume that a durable inflatable is an oxymoron, but this isn’t necessarily true. Look for high-quality materials, such as high-gauge vinyl, to ensure that these toys will withstand being batted around a pool. Weighted anchors can also help keep toys in their place and reduce the chance of them being knocked around and damaged. For anything motorized, look for high-capacity batteries and water-cooled engines to reduce the chance of dying or overheating. If in doubt, go for simple designs that have fewer components to break or wear away, such as the Max Liquidator Water Blasters. 

What are the most popular pool toys?

Different pool toys appeal to different people but there are some consistencies in what makes for a popular pool toy. Classic American sports are always a favorite when brought into the swimming pool, so you can’t go wrong with inflatable volleyball, inflatable basketball, or water lacrosse. Similarly, water guns are a summertime staple, whether they’re attached to a float or portable. For little kids, brightly colored sets with multiple pieces are a sure-fire way to keep them occupied. If in doubt, go for a waterproof variation of a classic game, from Tic Tac Toe to cornhole.

What pool toys are suitable for group play or parties?

Any toy that has multiple players is going to be a good choice for a group, but the best ones are those that are uncomplicated and familiar to a mass audience. You don’t want to waste time explaining the rules, so opt for classic games like inflatable volleyball or Tic Tac Toe. If your group is particularly sporty, then lean into that with toys like an inflatable basketball hoop, while more relaxed groups may prefer corn hole or simple floats. Competitive folks may enjoy battling it out on a pair of inflatable ride-ons, or waging war with water guns. The key is to know your audience and cater to their taste. If in doubt, offer a range!

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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