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The Best Water Toys for the Outdoors

Water balloon slingshots for the win.

We love water toys. As winter recedes, skies turn a brighter blue, and the days get warmer and longer, few activities with kids are more fun than running around in the backyard. Whether hitting a ball, building a fort, or getting sprayed by a ginormous dinosaur sprinkler, there’s just nothing better than an afternoon of exhausting outdoor play, especially if water toys are involved — ideally ones that can be tossed back and forth or launched gleefully at your kids. Projectile play helps kids to hone their hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness and also gives them a crash course in gravity and other principles of physics. To help you enjoy the fun, here are some of the best water-based toys for some wet fun in the sun.

The Best Water Toys for the Backyard and Great Outdoors

This magical aquatic unicorn connects to a garden hose and shoots water 12 feet high and 16 feet wide, which is plenty for little kids trying to get wet.

Think of this as a miniature water park for your little kids. There's a sweet little slide, and the water flows to palm tree sprayer and the waterfall adjusts with control valve. Kids can throw the balls (which are included) into the dinosaur's gaping maws.

In theory, kids can learn about shapes and numbers while jumping around in this 60 inch splash pad. In reality? They're going to be too busy having a damn great time. You attach it to a hose, adjust the water pressure, and let the good times roll.

Great for younger kids, this sweet sprinkler shoots water out of the characters' spouts when you attach it to a hose.

This sleek water gun lets you go full undercover, and holds 40 ounces of liquid.

This inflatable kids pool is perfect for kids 2 and up — the rainbow lives up to its name, once attached to a garden hose, and sprays a cooling mist into the colorful pool.

Summer is funner when you’ve got a friend to play with, and the Goliath hydro zoom ball is designed for besties to have a blast. We think of this as a wetter version of hot potato. Stash a water balloon inside, have two kids grab the respective handles, and their own arm movements send the payload back and forth. It’s all fun and games until time runs out and someone gets a balloon’s worth of water down his or her front.

This inflatable water blaster looks cool and works in and out of the pool. Great for kids 5 and up, this hybrid spaceship blaster shoots water up to 15 feet holds 1.5 ounces of water for shots taken outside the pool. In the pool, just keep shooting.

Toddlers and preschoolers create their very own water park, on your lawn. They use the large bucket to scoop up water from the pond and pour into the top waterfall tray, and watch water splash around the pool. Plus, they rearrange the pieces to create new waterfalls.

Sure, these blasters have cute critter heads. But don't be fooled. They're 14 inches long, lightweight enough for younger kids to wield, and blast out a nice, icy stream of water.

Batter up! The home plate shoots up water, which then balances the plastic baseball. Kids step up to the plate, and swing at the ball. The bat and two balls are also inflatable.

As with all great water toys, the concept here is simple: shoot streams of ice-cold water at your backyard frenemies. Four pump-action foam-noodle — with monkey, hippo, dog, and ducky heads for handles — can blast water up to 30 feet.

The concept of turning on a sprinkler in the yard and running through it has been practiced by overheated youths for generations. The Tidal Storm spinning sprinkler maxes out this discipline, sending water in all directions: Connect the unit to any standard garden hose and the Hydro Swirl shoots a column of water from its center while six neon tubes wave outside with secondary streams. It’s chaos. The kids will love it.

It's a baseball bat that's also a water gun. How does it work, you may wonder? You just place the top of the bat into the pool and pull back on the handle to fill it. Then you put the ball on top of the bat and push the handle up, releasing a stream of water. And the foam-covered ball flies out.

This utterly, insanely amazing backyard aquatic paradise lets your little kids (or you) pay water polo, soccer, volleyball , or basketball. In the water. It's 96 inches long, 66 inches wide, and 32 inches tall. Because of its size, it's best for kids 4 and up.

Attach this sprinkler to a garden hose, adjust your water pressure, and lo and behold, you now have a rainbow sprinkler. It's 100 inches long, 31 inches wide, and 63 inches high, so there's plenty of room for the littles to race through the spray. And stay very cool.

We honestly cannot think of anything more fun than hurling water balloons at one another, except for doing it faster and farther. This water-balloon slingshot sends your cargo soaring 100 feet. You've been warned. The balloons are biodegradable and recyclable.

Launching things into low orbit is as much a part of summer as the sound of cicadas. All you need is the Aquapod launcher, a bicycle pump, and a 2-liter bottle from the recycling bin. Find a safe area, and get to pumping while you explain to your son or daughter how forcing more air into the bottle builds pressure. Once the water inside is released via a 15-foot pull cord, the bottle rockets up to 100 feet in the air, and then floats gently back down to the ground. It’s a ton of fun and also offers valuable lessons in physics. As you might expect, this requires close adult supervision for any child under 14, so it’s import to explain the potential risks to kids and keep it out of reach when you’re not around.

A kiddie pool that doubles as a mini water park with circular fountain and sweetly decorated with marine plants and friendly sea creatures.

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